Our Social & Environmental Impact
Measuring what matters.
Sustainability has been baked into Unbelts’ mission and operations since Day One. Our big dream: to demonstrate that business can truly exist as a force for good, and that the apparel industry can evolve towards a circular, regenerative model that connects consumers and producers.
Our social sustainability mission is to (a) create people-first jobs that (b) produce economically accessible products for (c) a diverse customer base and (d) community partners.
Here's how we do it:
➔ Unbelts was born in Shanghai, China and grown in Edmonton, Canada. We know that quality jobs are not only possible, but necessary, worldwide. We also believe that brands are accountable for the ethical management of their entire supply chains, including raw materials and components.
➔ We work only with suppliers screened to be creating safe, living-wage employment, and we prioritize partnerships with businesses owned by individuals facing systemic barriers. Our long-term supplier relationships create shared benefit and the ability to flex with each others’ needs, in contrast to one-off transactions that primarily benefit us as buyers.
➔ All components are sent to our sewing teams paid above industry standard to craft made-to-last products, and our admin team operates on a schedule that is flexible to caregiving and personal health needs.
➔ To do in ‘22: finalize our list of values-aligned preferred suppliers for Unbelts’ legal, financial, and other business services, as well as for office products, snacks, and our other purchases; review internal team’s current perks and benefits to ensure maximum alignment with current needs.
➔ 5% of our annual inventory is donated to community organizations that help individuals and families dress with dignity.
➔ Regular sample and “almost perfect” sales creates access to full-quality, warrantied Unbelts at reduced pricing
➔ No-interest installment payment options on our website minimizes up-front consumer investment while allowing us to uphold our product quality and living wages
➔ To do in ‘22: hold at least two Almost Perfect/sample sales and add at least two more products to our Unbelts Loop line of under-$15 merchandise
➔ Diverse representation of ethnicity, body size, and gender identity in all Unbelts marketing materials is matched with actual accessibility to correctly-sized products
➔ Custom-sewn belts are available at no additional cost to individuals whose sizes or usability needs aren’t met by our pre-sewn belts
➔ When collaborating with artists, Unbelts prioritizes the work of individuals from marginalized communities; provides above-industry standard compensation; and works together to ensure their lived experiences are represented meaningfully
➔ To do in ‘22: initiate universal accessibility product testing; introduce a second Intrepid size; make our custom sizing capabilities clearer on- and offline
➔ A minimum of 5% of our annual inventory is donated to community initiatives
➔ We partner with community members and organizations to advocate for sustainable apparel awareness and action
➔ Every Unbelts team member received paid time off for community service
➔ We offer mentorship to early-stage purpose-driven companies and community members, including students
Our environmental sustainability mandate is to create truly useful products that help repair, not exacerbate, our planet’s environmental crisis.
Here's how we do it:
➔ Avoiding unnecessary features and excess materials in product design, including packaging
➔ Use recycled and diverted materials at every possible stage of our supply chain
➔ To do in ‘22: Introduce recycled materials for our Intrepid “secret pockets,” redesign point-of-purchase displays with recycled materials, introduce consistent, minimalist packaging across all product lines, investigate alternative sustainable materials, create a roadmap for carbon-neutral inbound and outbound shipping
➔ Extending our products’ lifetimes by offering free repairs and replacements
➔ Re-introducing our belt buyback program and re-launching our pre-loved Unbelt marketplace
➔ Sewing all imperfect (but functional) elastic into Almost Perfect belts
➔ Repurposing offcuts and imperfect elastic into Unbelts Loop upcycled products, such as cup sleeves, miniwallets, and hair ties
➔ To do in ‘22: move 100% of our cut-and-sew manufacturing to Alberta, re-launch our Belt Buyback program and pre-loved Unbelts marketplace, extend our Lifetime Warranty to all products, review product design for ease of repair and re-use
➔ We host and speak at sustainable apparel events that help community members understand how and why to consume clothing more consciously
➔ We team up with sustainable apparel advocacy groups to create unified calls-to-action for consumers and other brands
➔ All Unbelts products are designed to help our customers reduce consumption of other, more resource-intensive textile products. If we can help your current jeans fit better, you’ll save the denim used in a brand-new pair
➔ To do in ‘22: provide more education on reducing apparel consumption, identify at least three potential new products that would help our customers extend the life of their clothing, host at least two jeans swaps to encourage denim re-use before purchasing
We are one of over 3,000 businesses worldwide (including Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and more of our heroes) who are third-party audited and certified to be creating concrete social and environmental sustainability through our products and business operations. https://www.bcorporation.net/
Read Our Sustainability Report
What we nailed, what we failed, and where our priorities are going forward.