For Love and Lemons is a clothing brand that specializes in women’s clothing and lingerie that are sold at a higher than average price point. For example, dresses are priced around $250 and tops around $150. At first glance, it is clear that their sustainability goals might not be able to reach the masses with these high price points. However, these high prices may also help to curb overconsumption.
For Love and Lemons admits that they have started their sustainability journey in 2020 (which is a transparent step in their sustainability journey). While lacking in areas such as sustainable materials and how the products are made, this brand is attempting to make important sustainable strides. For example, to use up leftover fabric and trims, they use these materials to create our fit samples whenever possible. 100% of their Spring ‘21 prototype samples used leftover materials. Additionally, this company has awesome factory working conditions. Their specific updates about the steps they are currently and actively taking (without some of the larger, more unattainable goals that other brands have) lead me to believe that the brand does truly care about sustainability (making their rating higher). As the brand completes some of the sustainability steps listed on its website, its rating will definitely be higher.
Currently, For Love and Lemons is transitioning into using more sustainable materials. However, most of their current materials include polyester, nylon and cotton. When looking at the descriptions of some of their pieces, I see that they are currently mainly using polyester. Polyester is very unsustainable because of its use of fossil fuels, such as petroleum, to be manufactured. Cotton uses pesticides that harm the ecosystem to be grown and a lot of water to be manufactured. For Love and Lemons is now incorporating organic linen as a more sustainable option instead of cotton. Linen is made from flax plants and uses less water than traditional cotton to create fiber. For Love and Lemons is also opting to use viscose and rayon where they can since they are made from cellulose fibers - wood pulp to be exact. These materials are renewable materials that use fewer greenhouse gasses than polyester and cotton. For Love and Lemons does not disclose what percentage of their clothing is incorporating these more sustainable materials. However, from taking a quick look at the clothing items, only around 25 percent of their pieces include these sustainable fabrics. This makes me question how committed they are to actually using these more sustainable materials. For Love and Lemons admits that they could be more sustainable materials. However, they want to focus on moving away from polyester in the meantime, while they are figuring out how to use even more sustainable materials for their brand. Additionally, they’ve partnered with GRS-certified sustainable trim vendors to source better options for garment lining, buttons, zippers, drawcords, and all other garment detailing. In the future, For Love and Lemons needs to be more concrete about their transition to sustainability. When transitioning to more sustainable practices, using phrases such as “using viscose and rayon where we can” may be helpful in the beginning stages of transition. However, as the brand continues to work on sustainability, committing themselves to these materials would be ideal. Although For Love and Lemons has made some efforts to use more sustainable materials, the majority of their fabrics are still made of synthetic materials. I would be more confident in their transition to sustainability if they set some more rigid goals for when they will fully transition to more sustainable fabrics!
In Spring 2021, For Love and Lemons officially partnered with Cloverly which creates a simple way to offset the carbon emissions of your online order. With Cloverly, For Love and Lemons is able to purchase renewable energy offsets to make your shipment “green” based on your package’s weight and destination. Carbon offsetting involves calculating the amount of carbon emissions generated by a particular activity (such as shipping a package) and then purchasing an instrument that pays for avoiding or sequestering the same amount of carbon elsewhere in the environment. All offsets that are publicly available via the Cloverly API are registered and tracked by generally accepted and reputable organizations in the voluntary markets and verified by third parties. While For Love and Lemons is taking a step in the right direction with carbon offsetting, this decision may hide the fact that CO2 output can be reduced directly from their manufacturing process. Additionally, these climate offsets are usually not permanent solutions. Research has shown that carbon offsets did not result in real climate benefits. For example, if you plant a tree and it sequesters carbon and burns down ten years later, all of that CO2 is released back into the atmosphere. Other than the carbon offsets, there is only some other information about the environmental impacts of the manufacturing facilities. For example, factories recycle all office paper, shipping cartons, and other eligible materials and have windows to reduce energy consumption. These are all important steps in being sustainable. However, there is no information at all on how these products are being manufactured. Is For Love and Lemons trying to reduce the amount of chemicals they use for their fabrics? How much greenhouse gasses do their factories produce? This information should be readily available.
For Love and Lemons only utilizes two factories in China. Only having two factories allows For Love and Lemons to give specific details on both of the factories. It is easy for For Love and Lemons to keep an eye on these two factories to make sure that labor practices are up to par. It is also easy to report on what is happening in each to increase transparency. The owner of the factories is dedicated to providing a safe and healthy work environment. His factory is approved by the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI), an initiative established by the Federal Trade Organization (FTA) for companies who wish to improve their social compliance. The BSCI is a standardized code of conduct with 11 categories that range from workplace health and safety to compensation to environmental and safety issues. The factories provide free lunch to their workers every day, offer medical insurance, offer social security, and give out holiday bonuses. The only area where there could be a little more transparency is with the wages. For Love and Lemons does not disclose how much their workers are being paid. However, with the awesome benefits given to the factory workers, I would assume that it is at least minimum wage.