Sustainability is a journey. Which steps are we planning to take in 2022 to make Honest Basics more sustainable?

First, let's look back on 2021: we give ourselves a 6 out of 10 for our sustainability improvement efforts. We made some larger and some smaller steps. But overall it feels like we could have done a bit more. Scroll down for our honest analysis of 2021.

Looking ahead to 2022, we will focus on the following 3 main pillars:

  1. Fine-tune our sustainability communication
  2. Bring back the love into the packages & products
  3. First small steps towards circularity

Let's have a look at each of these pillars in detail...

💬 1. Fine-tune our sustainability communication

We feel that the way we talk and discuss sustainability with you, the person that wears the basics, is a little bit stuck in 2019. Quite literally, since not so much has changed since then.

So it is time for a proper overhaul. Specifically we want to make our sustainability communication:

  • Easy to digest. You should be able to understand what's going on, even without having to read a long text such as this.
  • Dynamic. We want to tailor the sustainability information to the product and to you. So that for example you can see per order how much water you've saved.
  • Next level transparency. The Honest Prices are a first step, we want to roll out this level of transparency to everything we do.

A concrete example of what we're working on are the sustainability icons you can now find on the product pages. These little icons show quickly and easily how each product is sustainable. Which ticks the first two boxes: "easy to digest" and "dynamic". We're working hard to roll out many more initiatives like this by the end of 2022!

❤️ 2. Bring back the love into the packages & products

As some of you may remember, we started out doing all the shipping by ourselves. After about 2 years of shipping done by an external warehouse, we are now going to start doing it by ourselves again from January '22 onwards. Why? Because we feel like the love got a little bit lost along the way.

The people in the external warehouse don't care as much about our product or our mission as we do. We do care. Very much. We hope that you will notice the difference when we start doing the shipping again by ourselves. And we're excited to put the sustainability of the packages back to the highest level: that means paper tape and that means we can recycle your returns boxes. Yes!

We're also looking very critically at our supply chain: which vendors work well with us and are genuinely interested in producing in a more sustainable way? Which ones are just promising things but not actually delivering? In 2021 there was a lot of switching between factories, which always brings a lot of stress and all types of issues. Now it is time to stabilize so we can start focusing again on the products.

Less stress on our side, means that we have more time to focus on getting the products just right. Better delivery times, better fits and better quality all ultimately mean a product that you can enjoy for longer. Which makes it a more sustainable product. Also this will give us the time to really focus again on the smaller details that we can still make more sustainable about our products. Such as starting to work on circularity!

♻️ 3. First small steps towards circularity

As Honest Basics we currently operate a linear business model. To truly take our sustainability to the next level, we need to become circular. This is of course easier said than done. As far as we know, there is not yet a clear practical solution for how a circular brand should operate. There are still heaps of technical, financial and logistical challenges to overcome, before we as Honest Basics could truly call ourselves circular.

In the face of overwhelming obstacles, there is of course only one thing to do for us: start making the first very small steps towards the end goal.

So that is what we will do! Concretely we're going to be focusing on these 2 initiatives in 2022:

  • Make recycled materials a standard across all product groups. We have dabbled already a bit with recycled polyester. And we're currently searching for good recycled cotton fabrics, which are much harder to find than recycled polyester. We hope to bring recycled cotton basics online for you in the Fall of 2022.
  • Launch a take-back scheme from our new showroom in Berlin. Where you can bring back (or send back) your old basics and we will recycle them once we have collected enough.

That sums up our main goals for sustainability improvement in 2022. We're already hard at work and you should see the various improvements take shape during this year. Of course we're curious to hear what you think! And we'll report back to you in about a year.

-x- Team Honest Basics

🧐 Honest Analysis 2021

Looking back at 2021, how did we do? As already mentioned we give ourselves a 6 / 10, which would roughly translate as "sufficient", but definitely not "great".

What we did quite well:

  • Start working with Ajay, our quality manager on the ground in India. He has brought a lot of experience and stability to the production process. Resulting in a much better and more stable quality of our products. He has also been instrumental in creating the next level of transparency that we are now slowly rolling out: by visiting each production in person many times and taking the pictures you can now see of each factory.
  • Adding QR-codes to our products, which are technically working (we coded everything ourselves!) and will be added on all future products, adding supply chain transparency to our products.
  • New vegan certification live. Hey ho, let's go!
  • Better certification tracking. Not something that is perhaps directly relevant to you, the customer. But we've really stepped up our game here, even resulting in a claim we filed with the GOTS-organization to make sure we get our certifications on time.
  • First products with recycled polyester online (the knits) or coming soon (activewear). These are our first experiments with recycled fabrics. As some of you will mention, of course recycled polyester is still polyester. But we like to think it is a first small step in the right direction

Where we failed:

  • Switching to paper tape. Technically the company from which we ordered the tape made a mess. But still, we definitely failed to deliver on this point. We will start using paper tape now again finally from January '22 onwards.
  • Becoming climate neutral. We didn't have enough resources (financially and people capacity) to start this project. We've been pushing it back for almost 2 years now. It's just not possible for us to organize on short notice, so for now we're going to put this project on hold for a longer period.
  • Best care for your products. Missing completely. Again we didn't have time to organize it unfortunately. Perhaps we can catch-up in 2022, but we're not yet sure.
  • Full transparency on the website. We started and we will definitely roll this out over 2022. But as a goal for 2021 we clearly didn't do this as much as we wanted.
  • Finally, it wasn't a clear target for 2021, but we do feel like we made almost no improvements in the sustainability level of our products in 2021. Which we feel is a missed opportunity and something that we definitely want to pick up again more in '22.

So overall: there were good things and there were things on which we failed miserably. Considering all the other things that happened during 2021 we don't want to be too hard on ourselves. But we definitely hope to be able to give ourselves a better grade after '22.