Given that Slvr Maple’s main mission is to promote sustainability, they still have to improve on the fabric composition and transparency for this sweatshirt to truly live up to what they describe themselves as: “sustainable style, reimagined.”
Slvr Maple is a resource hub that aims to reconcile shopping and sustainability. Beyond spreading awareness and education on sustainable style, Slvr Maple has also launched a collection of clothing. Although His Organic Cotton Sweatshirt is a step towards Slvr Maple’s mission–giving customers the best of both shopping and sustainability, there’s still more that needs to be done. More specificity on their production process and their commitments to “ensuring workers' rights.” More rationale on why they chose to use the fabrics they did. More tangible goals on what they want to achieve with their clothing and how they plan to do it.
His Organic Cotton Sweatshirt is made from 70% Organic Cotton and 30% Recycled Polyester. Organic cotton is much more sustainable than regular cotton in various ways–100% natural, no harmful chemicals, less water pollution by 98%, and provides protection to farmers, wildlife, and land. Recycled polyester is also a more sustainable alternative to its virgin counterpart. It reduces plastics in landfills and oceans, uses 59% less energy in production, and produces less carbon emissions. Among these benefits, recycled polyester has its drawbacks too. Since it’s made of recycled plastics, it releases microplastics back into the ocean with every wash.
Slvr Maple has rated its own sweatshirt at a 3.9/5 on the basis of water management, sustainable material, waste management, energy management, and manufacturing. I’m torn on how to interpret this number. On one hand, I like that they were honest and didn’t try to rate their products as 5/5 when they don’t deserve it; this acknowledgment is a step away from greenwashing and towards true transparency. On the other hand, I’m left wondering: why wasn’t the sweatshirt designed to earn a higher rating? Given that they’ve developed their own scale on the overall environmental and social impact of the clothing, they know what it takes for this sweatshirt to be a 5/5 and yet it’s rated a 3.9. The sustainable material section is on the yellow scale, which means that they need to reevaluate its fabric composition. They didn’t include any goals or plans of raising this number either.
The Slvr Maple Leaf Score reveals the strengths and weaknesses in producing His Organic Cotton Sweatshirt. Although it’s fairly effective in managing water and waste management, it lacks in waste management and manufacturing. Slvr Maple doesn’t provide deeper insights into the processes that led them to rate it so. They can improve on their transparency by releasing a breakdown report or statistics for customers to understand why the sweatshirt excelled and lacked in some aspects.
Beyond their own factors for the Slvr Maple Leaf Score, I also looked into the packaging and shipping of the sweatshirt. Slvr Maple’s packaging is made by RePack, which designs packaging to have a built-in return label that allows customers to return the packaging to be reused. Slvr Maple has also partnered with 3Degrees, a company that provides sustainable solutions that take action on climate change. Together, they give customers the option to ensure that receiving the sweatshirt is carbon-free through purchasing carbon credits, which means that every carbon credit avoids, reduces, or removes one metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. However, this initiative lacks execution. Customers aren’t exposed to this opportunity early on in the purchasing process and so they either overlook it or don’t really know what the credits are for, which questions its true effectiveness in lessening their carbon footprint.
Slvr Maple is proud of its Fair Trade certification, which ensures that their production and supply processes adhere to strict social, environmental, and economic standards. They also reinvest 10% of their profits into uplifting their garment workers, though they could be more specific on what “uplifting” really means. Raising wages? Improving employee benefits? Ensuring fair treatment? There’s no information either on where the factories are located, a code of conduct that protects labor rights, or really any tangible actions they’ve made to support these commitments.
However, it’s clear that sustainability drives Slvr Maple. Creating their own rating of this sweatshirt already proves that. Not a lot of clothing brands take the extra step to evaluate themselves and even broadcast an honest rating that isn’t necessarily the best. What’s more, His Organic Cotton Sweatshirt is part of a collection that is gender inclusive. The brand doesn’t use categories such as “men” or “women.” Instead, they use pronouns–she/her, he/him, and they/them–that respect and acknowledge non-binary identities.
Beyond the partnerships they’ve built to create a more sustainable supply chain, the brand has launched their “Buy One, Plant One” initiative with One Tree Planted. Every purchase plants one Silver Maple Tree. They’re also a member of 1% for the Planet’s global network to donate 1% of their profits to environmental non-profits that they believe to care for the environment.