Redbird Supply

overall rating:

1.5

planets

Ellie Fitchet
2/20/2022
No items found.

Redbird was founded by two university students who, although they share the student love for stash, were concerned about its impact on the environment, since the industry was notorious for producing poor quality items which do not last very long and have a huge carbon footprint. They therefore set out to make a change, providing a sustainable alternative so that future university students wouldn’t face the same dilemma they did. By purchasing from Redbird, we are told we are joining a “student revolution” as they create apparel “with an environmental conscience”. These values clearly align with Voiz DAO’s- this is a company run by Gen-Zs for Gen-Zs who want to make a change!

However, it seems that, although Redbird have some ambitious goals to become truly sustainable, they are currently still in a transition phase and have a way to go before buying from them can be a fully environmentally guilt free experience. A lot of their promise to be sustainable revolves around their tree planting scheme. Whilst this is a great reflection of their values and combats the huge environmental issue of deforestation, they should focus more on ensuring that their products are also truly sustainable by improving their materials and providing more information for consumers. Nevertheless, their goals seem very positive, and they were very happy to provide me with information when I contacted them, so I am optimistic that they are committed to making changes and in the future can properly own their identity as a sustainable brand.

What it's made of:

1.5

It can be quite difficult to analyse what Redbird products are made of, as publicly available descriptions on the website do not include a breakdown of materials used and where they come from, something which should be provided for consumers. However, recently, some of the products in their collection have been adapted so they are made of more sustainable fabrics, such as their organic cotton t-shirts, fleeces and soft-shell jackets. These fleeces and jackets are made from yarn produced using recycled PET bottles and, through the purchase of such products, 14,610 1 litre plastic bottles have been diverted from landfill in the past year. Their current goal is to have transitioned to a fully sustainable collection by 2023 by offering only items made of recycled material, which would be a huge step in becoming more environmentally friendly if achieved. However, it would be even better if their materials were not only recycled but also recyclable or biodegradable to improve product life cycles and if they did not rely on plastic bottles. Their emphasis on durability is a positive move when considering product life cycles, however, as it means that apparel lasts longer before being replaced.

How it's made:

1

Redbird Supply does not manufacture their own garments and rely on other suppliers to do so, which means that in order to ensure they are moving towards sustainability, they have to be very involved with these suppliers. Whilst they promise to make sure that their suppliers harbour the same environmental and ethical goals that Redbird seek to pursue, without a list of suppliers available to the consumer, it is very difficult to assess if this is true. Moreover, they do not provide any information on the manufacturing process which again means we do not know how much waste it produces, nor the carbon footprint, water and energy usage involved. One positive of their business model is that it relies on making products to order and therefore does not overproduce and waste in this way, although more information on manufacturing is paramount looking forward.

Who makes it:

2

Redbird is clearly a company with very positive and forward-thinking values: they promise to approach sustainability in a holistic way looking beyond their products and looking at the wider environment. Therefore, they have partnered with the 501 charity One Tree Planted to promote sustainable agroforestry and reforestation in areas of the Amazon which are rapidly diminishing due to deforestation. This non-profit plants trees and ensures that the types of trees planted are specific to their surroundings and thus right for the habitat. From this partnership, Redbird have committed to the planting of 1000 trees annually which reflects a great ethos towards the environment as a whole. 

Moreover, they pride themselves on being an ethical company and promise to audit their suppliers to ensure a safe working environment. Such measures look at the adherence to a minimum working age and legal minimum wage, along with holiday entitlement and full compliance with safe workplace regulations. Although this is great, it is not backed up by a written Code of Conduct which all suppliers promise to adhere to and, as mentioned previously, it is difficult for a consumer to measure an ethical supply chain without a list of such suppliers. Furthermore, a commitment to a living wage does not go far enough and Redbird should look at promising to pay workers throughout the supply chain a living wage, since there are huge and growing disparities between legal minimum wages and those that can be lived off. For example, the living wage in Cambodia in 2020 was three times the minimum wage.

With all of this in mind, it may seem that my “who makes it” score for Redbird is quite generous, as there is definitely a lack of transparency on their website, and they certainly have a way to go before they are truly as environmentally friendly as they claim. However, Redbird clearly want to become more sustainable and are working hard to do so: they are a relatively new company and even in the past year their sustainable range has expanded massively, not to mention they were very cooperative when I contacted them and wanted to get involved. This reflects a company ethos which I feel puts them on a great trajectory for change.