Let’s Find Out More About Those Brands We Love (And Those We Love to Hate)

Ever wondered about what lies behind our favourite brands' own claims about sustainability and social responsibility? You are not alone. This organisation is tapping into consumers' desire to know the facts, and doing a little digging for us all.

Autor*in Annalisa Dorigo, 06.21.16

Ever wondered about what lies behind our favourite brands’ own claims about sustainability and social responsibility? You are not alone. This organisation is tapping into consumers’ desire to know the facts, and doing a little digging for us all.

Companies’ own websites and communication material are sometimes peppered with claims about environmental and social responsibility concerns, and how such concerns have a direct effect on the companies’ business practices. So high would sustainability and social responsibility seem as business priorities, that one can’t help but feel confused when stories emerge about certain retailers’ supply-chain workers being employed under sweat-shop conditions, or other well loved-brands contributing to preventable deforestation also through their supply-chain choices.

Rank a Brand is a Dutch organisation which seeks precisely to debunk facts from myths when it comes to corporate social responsibility reporting. It does this by transparently assessing and ranking consumer brands operating in the sectors of: fashion, shoes and clothing, food and beverages, travel, telecommunications, energy, electronics, cosmetics, and also online, which includes brands such as Google, Amazon, You Tube, Instagram and Facebook, to name but a few.

How does it all work? Rank a Brand assesses each brand based on its climate and environmental impact, labour conditions and transparency. Several criteria are used to decide which ‘label’ each brand receives, ranging from an A-label for best performers (75-100 per cent of maximum score), to an E-label for the worst (under 15 per cent of the maximum score).

Rankings for each brand are published on the Rank a Brand website, together with detailed information about assessment criteria, which are themselves developed in consultation with experts and key stakeholders and based on verifiable public data. A team of trained and qualified international volunteer ‘rankers’ (more info about it here) carries out the assessments, and rankings are updated minimum every two years.

By scoring brands, Rank A Brand allows customers to make more sustainable purchasing decisions, and through its very user-friendly website customers can also easily compare between brands. The organisation seeks not only to empower consumers but also to apply pressure through them on brands to continuously improve on their environmental and social responsibilities, as well as on being more transparent.

The rankings on its site (which is available in English, German and Dutch of course) are easy to share on social networks, for maximum reach. And through a very clever ‘nudge’ button, users are encouraged to get in direct contact with the brand in question.

Are you thinking of buying yourself a new pair of jeans? Kings of Indigo are top performers, while Pepe Jeans, Diesel and Guess are way down the ranking. Do you like coffee? GEPA is a great choice, Lavazza not so good. Well, plenty more brands to dig into on this great website, indeed they have assessed some 700 of them! So you are likely to find more than one or two that is close to your heart.

And here’s a nice short video about it:

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