We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Amour Vert #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Amour Vert
We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Everlane #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Everlane
We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Outerknown #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Outerknown

Get Snug In These 11 Ethical & Fair Trade Sweaters


In the spirit of snuggling in, here’s another comfy article about sustainable fashion: the ethical and fair trade sweater

Who doesn’t love lounging around at home in their favorite sweater with a hot cuppa and a good (sustainable?) living book? And since so much of the world is spending more time at home, we wanted to look for the best fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the couch. 

For all the knitwear know-how on how we chose the brands in this list, be sure to unravel the whole article, all the way to the bottom (or click here to jump down). Note that while finding Fair Trade knit sweaters is our gold standard, not all these options are officially certified fair trade. That doesn’t mean they aren’t still ethical and uphold fair labor standards. It just means we had to look at their practices with a little more scrutiny.

While all brands listed here are positively e-cozy, there are some jumpers that jump to the top. Tentree has tip-top standards and affordable sweaters, including some of the best mens ethical sweaters (though they have the ladies covered, too). For a wide range of relaxed and cozy options, Outerknown is a clear winner and for ultra current styles, Everlane is the way to go.

As always, we encourage you to only buy new if you have to. Where you can, opt for thrifting first or rent. If you do buy a new sweater with recycled (or virgin) synthetics, we suggest using a Guppy Friend wash bag to prevent micro plastics washing into the ocean.  You can find one at Reformation or REI.

SUSTAINABLE AND ETHICAL SWEATER BRANDS IN THE USA / CANADA

1. TENTREE

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Tentree #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Tentree
About Tentree 

Certified B-Corp and Canadian brand Tentree creates stylish yet outdoor clothing to “motivate and encourage environmental stewardship through earth-first apparel”

This includes a huge selection of items for men and women, like graphic tees, tanks, button-ups, shorts, pants, jackets, all manner of accessories, and of course, some really affordable Fair Trade sweaters.

Tentree combines durable, outdoorsy designs with luxuriously cozy cuts and fabricsOverall, we love these styles and we love Tentree’s brand philosophy: 

“We believe in the power of small acts, so by empowering everyone and anyone with easy access to sustainable solutions, those tiny seeds of change, can grow to change the world. #ItTakesAForest”

Tentree’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

We consider almost all of Tentree’s fabrics sustainable. Their vegan sweaters are made of organic cotton (many of them 100%), recycled polyester, and REPREVE® recycled polyester. A couple of styles include very minuscule additions (like 2%) of elastane. 

You can sort items made of your favorite fabric on this page.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

To “ensure that all the people who work with Tentree are respected, valued, and feel safe”, they require all suppliers and partners to sign their code of conduct. And as per their B-Corp certification, it has some pretty high standards.

Plus, they’re not just a regular B-Corp, they’re currently ranked in the top 1% for manufacturing as compared to other B-Corps.  

You can also see where each product was made on their website, as well as their full Factory Ledger.  All factories bear one or more certifications by WRAP, BSCI, SA8000, Fair Trade, and/or Fair Wear Foundation.

Green business practices: 

Like some other brands listed here, Tentree tracks the impact of their garments, or rather the lack thereof by tallying water, CO2, and waste saved compared to industry standards. These “Eco Logs” are created pre-production with the assistance of GreenStep so they know the impact of new designs before giving it the green light.

Inclusivity: 

Tentree has three company goals. Accessibility (in both affordability and body inclusivity) is one of them.  Their products are designed “for those who identify with the outdoors, but are not defined by them”

For sizing, ethical mens sweaters come in the S-XXL range, and women’s a slightly smaller XS-XL range.

Community & charitable giving: 

Tentree is an unusual name, but after learning how they plant ten trees for every item purchased, it all makes sense! As of March 2020, they’ve planted over 41 million trees, but have a 1 billion tree goal by 2030. 

Planting trees doesn’t just counter climate change; it also aids greatly in land restoration, especially since Tentree plants them in areas of damaged biodiversity across Madagascar, Indonesia, Senegal, Nepal, Canada, Mexico, Peru, and Haiti. By choosing fast-growing multi-purpose trees, they can achieve “rapid and continued return of indigenous diversity to these lands”.

Available:  Tentree

2. OUTERKNOWN

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Outernknown #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Outernknown
About Outerknown 

In the words of our next brand, “Sustainability is the destination, Outerknown is the journey.” Founded by eleven-time World Surf League champion Kelly Slater and designer John Moore. 

Outerknown believes “we have a responsibility to make clothing that respects the world around us” which is why they’re certified by both the Fair Labor Association and Bluesign®.  Their S.E.A. (Social and Environmental Accountability)-approved garments represent the best of the best, meeting the strictest sustainable and ethical manufacturing standards.

They’re definitely one of the top ethical menswear brands on the market and their ethical mens sweaters and knitwear do not disappoint. While the design is limited to the same classic crew cut (because what else do you really need?) you can choose between many different materials. 

Womens styles are a little more varied, including Fair Trade cashmere sweaters, ponchos, turtlenecks, cardigans, boxy flare bottom sweaters, and sparse-knit sweaters to curate a more layered look.

Outerknown’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices 

Materials: 

Organic cotton is the superstar fabric of choice for Outerknown sweaters. Their line of “Waterless” sweaters are 100% Organic Cotton that’s been dyed with a closed-loop GiDelave™ diffusion process. It’s so named because it uses 98% less water and less energy than traditional dying (on top of all the water organic cotton growing saves). 

Other fabrics include upcycled cotton, COOLMAX® recycled polyester, recycled cashmere and extra-fine merino wool. All fabrics are made with minimal or no chemicals, which earns them their Bluesign® approval.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Outerknown garments are made in Peru, Mexico, and China in Fair Trade certified factories. Their suppliers are also made to agree to Fair Labor Association (FLA) standards by signing Outerknown’s Code of Conduct. You can find all their suppliers here because “sustainability starts with transparency.”  

Inclusivity: 

Outerknown offers fully inclusive mens sizing ranging from S-XXL in tops. Their womens sizing is, unfortunately, a little more limited, from XS-L.

Available: Outerknown

3. EVERLANE

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Everlane #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Everlane
About Everlane  

Everlane is a San Francisco based fashion brand co-founded in 2010 by Jesse Farmer and Michael Preysman (who was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for the feat). 

And no wonder. Between their massive selection of women’s and menswear in about every conceivable category (from ethical leggings to eco friendly dresses) and their incredibly transparent practices, they’re certainly a company to be admired.

Their sweaters are a little less “couch potato” and a little more “casual professional” with slim-fitting crop tops, elegant cardigans, and sustainable cashmere sweaters in many different looks. 

For men, they make mainly classic crews to be worn alone or with a collared shirt underneath.

Everlane’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices   

Materials: 

Everlane sweaters are made of various blends of organic cotton, linen, COOLMAX® EcoMade (recycled) polyester, merino wool, and Grade-A cashmere sourced from Inner Mongolia. Since “not all cashmere is equal”, this represents the longest and finest available. 

They also use a fair bit of Alpaca, which is sourced through cruelty free methods and is a pill-resistant.  It’s also considered more eco friendly because, as Everlane explains, “alpacas are soft-hooved and gentle grazers, which makes them easier on pastures than other herd animals.

Just be on the lookout for a few styles that have nylon and elastane. While minimal in amount, try to stick with the fully biodegradable options if you can.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Everlane was founded on three guiding principles: “Exceptional quality.  Ethical Factories. Radical Transparency.”  We’ve already covered the first so let’s touch on the next two.

Each product description tells you where its fabric is sourced, where it’s made, and the true cost of production.  Click on the factory for details and for that specific vendor code of conduct. Alternatively check out their factory map for the full (and interactive!) picture. All factories are audited yearly in compliance with CA SB657 Supply Chain Transparency Act.

Green business practices: 

Everlane’s latest green endeavor is their ReNew line which seeks to replace virgin synthetics with recycled ones. The goal is to eliminate virgin plastic from production by 2021.

Inclusivity: 

Everlane sweaters are available in sizes XS-XXL for men and XXS- XL for women. To match their styles, they use lots of diverse models (even older models which is so rare and refreshing to see) and promote body positivity. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Each year, Everlane creates a Black Friday fund, where they donate $15 per order placed near Thanksgiving to Oceana to clean up ocean plastic. In 2019, they helped fund Oceana for a full year by raising $300,000!

Available:  Everlane

4. SYNERGY ORGANIC CLOTHING

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Synergy Organic Clothing #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Synergy Organic Clothing
About Synergy Fair Trade T-Shirts  

Synergy Organic Clothing is one of the OG ethical fashion brands. They’ve been making eco-friendly womenswear (and now a few men’s t shirts) since 1993. 

Their motto is, “Every stitch has a story” and theirs begins when founder Kate Fisher traveled to Nepal and discovered a desire to empower the world’s talented yet underprivileged artisans. Almost three decades later, nothing has changed.

Their environmentally friendly sweaters, which fall under the “outerwear” category on the website, include a cardigan, crew neck sweatshirt, and a sweater fleece “bomber” jacket.

Synergy Organic Clothing’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices  

Materials: 

Both the sweatshirt and Nourish Cardigan are made of 97% Heathered Organic Cotton and 3% Spandex. The Bomber Fleece sweater is even better as it’s made from 80% Organic Cotton and 20% Recycled polyester.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

“How it’s made matters,” and this Certified B Corporation is committed to ensuring their clothing benefits everyone involved in making it. This starts at the supply level, which is why they source GOTS-certified organic cotton from a Fair Trade plantation in India.

The bulk of manufacturing occurs in yet another Fair Trade certified Indian factory, but their Nepalese factory still adheres to fair labor practices sans the official certification.

Green business practices: 

Synergy is a certified Green Business by Green America, an Organic Trade Association member, and certified by the Monterey Bay Area Green Business Program. All these memberships and certifications involve third-party audits on the environmental impact of the brand.  

For proof of impact, see the footprint calculator of saved resources on each product page.

In the spirit of making fashion circular, they also offer a garment recycling program. Send in your unwanted or even worn-out Synergy sweaters in exchange for 25% off and the knowledge that they’ll remake it into a new piece for someone else to treasure.

Inclusivity: 

 With sizes from XS-XL and plenty of diversity among their models, we consider Synergy to be an inclusive brand.

Community & charitable giving: 

Synergy rotates the recipient of their regular give-back campaigns. They’ve now contributed to dozens of schools and causes like the Ventana Wilderness Alliance and In-Kind.

Available:  Synergy

5. PASSION LILIE

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Passion Lilie #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Passion Lilie
About Passion Lilie 

Passion Lilie, founded by Katie Schmidt, is a member of both the Ethical Fashion Forum Fellowship 500 and Fair Trade Federation.   

Their womens Fair Trade cotton sweaters include a modest but essential lineup of printed sweaters, long duster cardigans, and even more summery ¾ sleeve knits. While Passion Lilie has some impressive sustainable mens clothing options, they’re yet to offer ethical mens sweaters.

Passion Lilie’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices 

Materials: 

Passion Lilie makes their sweaters out of either 100% organic non-GMO cotton. Some models are a thicker sweater fleece cotton while other lighter designers feature a stretchier knit organic jersey cotton.  

They also use azo free, Ikat eco dyes.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Passion Lilie manufactures entirely in India, through World Fair Trade Organization certified family factories in Bangalore, Jaipur, Tirupur, and Hyderabad. 

Aside from providing safe environments and meaningful work, their workers are also given health care, fair wages, and even loan opportunities.

Green business practices: 

Passion Lilie’s earns its Green America Business certification by remaking fabric trimmings into accessories and minimizing machine usage. They start by hand washing and sun drying the raw fibers. These fibers are then woven and block printed by hand. 

If you don’t know much about this ancient Indian artisan technique that Passion Lilie is passionately trying to preserve, we recommend reading more here and watching it in action. 

Inclusivity: 

Passion Lilie’s sizes run between XS-XL and they ensure that a person’s budget doesn’t stand in the way of buying sustainable fashion.

Their affordable sustainable sweaters are regularly just $56 and often on sale for even lower. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Passion Lilie supports communities and causes through their customers.  With their help, you can organize a trunk show and donate the proceeds to any charity of your choice.

Available:  Passion Lilie 

6. PACT

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Pact #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Pact
About Pact 

While Pact’s sweaters are less knits and more sweatshirts, we couldn’t help but include them. As one of our favorite brands for basics like ethical underwearT shirts, and sweatpants if there’s one thing Pact does really well, it’s comfort of both body and conscience.

Just think of their zip hoodies, crew-neck pullovers, and long lounge cardigans as activewear sweaters. Try them for an at-home cozy yoga sesh to stay fit and healthy. Based in Boulder, Colorado, all Pact garments are made to move in (and maybe take a nap after).

Pact’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices  

Materials: 

 Pact loves their Fair Trade organic cotton. So much so that most of their products are made of just that. While some products also contain a bit of spandex, their sweatshirts are all 100% cotton.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Because 74% of Pact’s organic cotton comes from India, they manufacture there as well (in Fair Trade certified factories only). Pact states: 

“It makes a lot of economical and environmental sense for our clothing to be made where our organic cotton is harvested […] We view this as an opportunity to better the global community and make an impact on lives all over.”

Green business practices: 

Pact uses water and energy-saving production methods and tries to use as much fabric as possible to reduce trimmings.

Inclusivity: 

Pact’s motto is #JustWearYou, and they offer the full gamut of S-XL sizes for men, and XS-XL sizes for women. Anyone a little smaller can always shop their kids sizes (which will actually save you money, too!)

Community & charitable giving: 

If you’re looking to get rid of old sweaters gathering dust to make room for your new Fair Trade organic cotton sweaters, consider donating them to Pact’s Give Back. Wear Forward program. 

Even if it isn’t a Pact item, they’ll take any gently used clothes and give them to non-profits who in turn give them to people in need.

Available:  Pact

7. PATAGONIA

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Reformation (Patagonia Sweater) #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Reformation (Patagonia Sweater)
About Patagonia 

If you’ve read even a few of our sustainable fashion articles, you’ll know we’re gaga for the ‘Gonia.  Patagonia, that is. We’ve personally owned a lot of their garments over the years and can attest to their quality and durability. 

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they’re one of the most conscious companies around (and have been long before sustainable fashion was trendy). 

As a sustainable outdoor-focused brand, Patagonia’s sweaters aren’t just comfortable but designed for a little bit of rough wear in harsh and cold environments. Shop sweater tanks, sweater vests, quilted cotton pullovers, heathered fleece zip necks, and more.

Their eco friendly Fair Trade sweaters are available for kids, women, and men alike.

Patagonia’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices

Materials: 

Their sweaters, by and large, are made of either organic cotton or recycled fibers. Even their ultra-classic Synchilla Snap-T fleece and Better Sweater (pictured) heathered fleece (which has the aesthetic of wool knit but is vegan and easier to care for) are made of 100% recycled polyester. 

They even have some made of recycled cashmere, making for the most sustainable cashmere sweaters available.

PS: All fabrics are dyed using PVC-free and phthalate-free inks.

Supply chain & labor practices: 

For the last few years of Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index, Patagonia has ranked top of the pops.

This is super impressive when you consider their long history and sizable supply chain.  If you want to see why they’re so transparent, look no farther than The Footprint Chronicles on the bottom of each product page, which tells you exactly what factory and what country the item was made.

They use FSC-certified TENCEL and Responsible Down and Responsible Wool-certified sources.  Their factories are also Fair Trade certified and subject to regular third party and Patagonia executive staff audits.

Green business practices: 

Patagonia honestly has more green business initiatives than we can list. But to name a few, they recycle machinery and chemicals, are working toward creating a regenerative farming certification, and have a number of Bluesign® approved garments. 

100% of Patagonia’s cotton is organic and 72% of garments utilize recycled materials (as of early 2020).

Aside from offering a clothing buyback program and reselling items through their Worn Wear initiative, they encourage fashion circularity by improving the same classic designs (some that have literally been around since the 1980s!) rather than continually producing new ones so as to improve the longevity and demand for their vintage pieces.  

Inclusivity: 

Patagonia is one of the most renowned outdoor athletic brands on the market, and they still offer one of the most inclusive size ranges around, running from XXS-XXL for most tops  They also now display a much more diverse range of models in their product photos.

Community & charitable giving: 

Lots of fashion brands are members of 1% for the Planet, but Patagonia FOUNDED it and donate 1% of sales or 10% of pre-tax profits (whichever is more) to grassroots environmental initiatives. 

Patagonia not only assumes political and corporate responsibility themselves but is out to change the industry and help other brands do so as too. Through books like The Responsible Company and CEO Yvon Chouinard’s memoir Let My People Go Surfing, they’re spreading awareness and sparking change.

If that doesn’t inspire you to get involved, maybe their Patagonia Action Works will, by connecting you with causes and events to support rights in your own community. 

Available:  Patagonia 

8. PRANA

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by prAna #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by prAna
About prAna 

When it comes to sweaters, prAna may as well be called pr-ahhhhhh-na, because their ultra-cozy cardigans and fuzzy pullovers are nothing if not sigh-inducing. Even their more outdoor oriented and yoga-specific shrugs look like something you could just as easily snooze in.

Despite their softness in appearance, the Columbia Sportswear company is known for durability and designing clothing that can withstand rock climbing, hiking, and more. They’re another brand that sells both womens and mens Fair Trade sweaters.

prAna’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices  

Materials: 

prAna’s most sustainable sweaters are those made of recycled polyester (like the AMAZINGLY soft looking high pile Permafrost Half Zip), recycled wool, sustainably harvested merino wool, or a blend of the above.

Since they make a range of sweaters not all fabrics used are sustainable, though they are committed to steady progress toward that end. For instance, some of their sweaters are made of acrylic and nylon so be sure you double-check the fabric contents and avoid these if you can. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Despite a large, multinational supply chain, prAna is dedicated to keeping it traceable and transparent. They’ve members of the Textile Exchange to help them in this task.  

A good number of products are now also made in Fair Trade certified factories. You can shop by filtering for specific Fair Trade options on prAna’s website. Alternatively, shop by country of origin.

Green business practices: 

As a certified Bluesign® partner, prAna’s garments contain minimal levels of anything remotely toxic.  Bluesign® audits the factories and fabric mills of their partners to ensure no harmful chemicals are used in processing. Safer for the workers, the wearers, and the world.

Inclusivity: 

prAna is an outdoor brand and their marketing and branding therefore have an athletic bent. Yet they’re also trying to break the outdoor brand stereotypes by using all sorts of diverse models and offering a specific range of Plus Sized sweaters available in 1x, 2x, and 3x. That’s of course on top of their XS-XL standard sizes.

Community & charitable giving: 

prAna’s primary giving partner is Outdoor Outreach, a program that takes disenfranchised urban youth and gives them outdoor leadership experiences. 

They also encourage their ambassadors to get involved and thus helps them pay for any events or initiatives they want to host.

Available:  prAna

9. REFORMATION

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Reformation #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Reformation
About Reformation 

Reformation’s sustainable womens sweaters (sorry guys) are modern, elegant, and versatile with at-home comfort and on-the-town class. Choose between fashionable designs like cropped turtlenecks, wrap cardigans, off the shoulder shrugs, and even some sexy ones that show a little skin.

And top of all that, Reformation is one of the most impressive brands out there for sheer volume of ethical and sustainability initiatives and commitment to steady improvement.

Reformation’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices 

Materials: 

Reformation’s eco friendly sweaters are made of a variety of biodegradable materials, like recycled and virgin cashmere, responsibly sourced yak wool, and organic cotton (and yes, they do have some vegan options). Still, a handful of these (like the Finn and Amelia models) also contain virgin synthetics like polyamide or nylon so avoid these if you can.

At the moment, 56% of dyeing partners are either Bluesign® or OEKO-TEX 100 certified. Those that aren’t are still tested for these restricted substances

Supply chain & labor practices: 

Over 65% of production comes from Reformation’s very own Los Angeles factories, 32 in total (because what better way to have full control over manufacturing practices?). Take a tour in person or meet the employees virtually.

Other factories include one in Morocco, one in Turkey, and 16 in China which are regularly audited against unfair labor practices and are held to the Global Social Compliance Programme’s (GSCP) Code of Conduct. This is equivalent to Fair Trade standards.

Green business practices: 

Reformation signed onto the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment and are aiming to recirculate 500,000 garments by 2025. Less than a year in and already over halfway there!

Other great green initiatives include using wind power suppliers, impact counters in each product page, e-commerce marketing (which saves 30% energy), Green Business certified office buildings, bio-based packaging and eco-friendly office supplies (like recycled tire pens). 

They also buy offsets for literally everything related to their products (like the energy your computer takes while browsing) through Brazilian Rosewood Amazon Conservation Project and the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF). 

They’ve been carbon neutral since 2015, but are only just now jumping through periodical loops to get the “fancy seal of approval” through Climate Neutral.  

They give consumers the chance to reduce their impact by allowing you to purchase Native Energy climate credits on their site and even offering a $100 store credit for customers that switch to wind energy.

For much more, read this page and their 2019 sustainability report.

Inclusivity: 

Reformation sizes are inclusive and they have additional offerings for both petite and plus-sized women. 

Community & charitable giving: 

Reformation donates to rotating organizations like ACLU and Planned Parenthood.

From there, they encourage others to get involved by giving their staff a paid day off each month to volunteer and hosting company-wide volunteer days. They even “give” their staff birthday gifts by planting a tree on their behalf through L.A.’s TreePeople.

Available:  Reformation

10. AMOUR VERT

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Amour Vert #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Amour Vert
About Amour Vert  

Just because you’re making conscious choices regarding your closet, doesn’t mean you can’t still have lots of options. And Amour Vert has one of the best selections of men’s and women’s clothing. 

With a name that’s French for “green love”, you’ll love the flattering, drapey silhouettes and cozy chic elegance of these sweaters.  Styles include sweater tanks, cardigans, crop sweaters, flowy knit housecoats, and some tighter fit designs for more professional wear.

Amour Vert’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices 

Materials: 

Did you know 60% of a garment’s impact comes solely from fabric production? Amour Vert does, and hence their sweaters are made of either 100% organic cotton or merino wool, both biodegradable and both dyed with non-toxic dyes. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

97% of all Amour Vert garments are made in the USA, in one of six San Francisco factories (all mere miles from each other).  You can read details on each of these here, like the number of employees, gender ratio of employees, and who the owner/manager is.

While many of their sweaters are made in these, note that some are part of the 3% of garments are made through outsourced labor in China. 

Inclusivity: 

Some of the boxier fit sweaters and cardigans are available in just two sizes: XS/S and M/L. Most others are available in standard single sizes from XS-XL.

They also use a really inclusive and fully representative range of models.

Community & charitable giving: 

Amour Vert’s Tees = Trees program ensures a tree is planted through American Forests for every t-shirt purchased. Since 2015, they’ve planted almost 300,000 trees. If you want to support this initiative, check out our specific coverage of their eco friendly t shirts

Available:  Amour Vert

11. NAADAM

We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Naadam #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle
Image by Naadam
About Naadam 

With the primary objective of “embed[ding] social and environmental responsibility into each product from beginning to end”,  Naadam makes ethical cashmere sweaters for women and men.  Their styles include cropped hoodies, flatlock seams, ribbed sweaters, cardigans, and so much more.

Naadam was founded in 2013 by Matthew Scanlan and Diederik Rijsemus after visiting Mongolia. Inspired by the country but dismayed at the unfair prices the herders received for their quality cashmere, Matt and Diederik designed a company that cut out the middle man. That way, they could pay the herders more. 

Naadam’s Ethical and Sustainability Practices 

Materials: 

100% of Naadam’s materials come from either renewable or recycled sources, including mostly cashmere along with some silk, wool, and cotton. They also have a new preferred purchasing policy that prioritizes materials with GOTS, OEKO-tex 100, Responsible Wool Standard, and Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certifications. 

Their organic cashmere (which makes up 75% of their products) comes from the Zalaa Jinst white goat, the only entirely white breed of cashmere goat in Mongolia that yields an extra long and luxurious fiber measuring only 15 microns in size. For reference, human hair averages 100 microns. 

The cashmere is harvested through old school hand combing, which they call “the only cruelty-free cashmere” since even hand shearing with electric clippers can be stressful for the animals. They also invest in veterinary care and sustainable breeding programs for their herds. 

All cashmere suppliers must agree to their animal treatment policy based on the Farm Animal Welfare Committee’s Five Freedoms, American Veterinary Care Association Standards, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and A Greener World. 

Supply chain & labor practices: 

They use two main BSCI compliance factories in Chifeng, China where about 90% of their product is manufactured. All suppliers and workshops must have documented and third-party audited labor and environmental certifications, as well as agree to their ILO-equivalent Code of Conduct and pay fair wages (including making regular wage adjustments based on regional cost of living). 

Aside from providing higher direct-to-supplier prices for their cashmere, they also invest in their herder’s’ livelihoods by providing livestock insurance, healthcare coverage, a 401K retirement fund, commuter benefits, clean drinking water to over 700 Gobi desert families, and opening community parks complete with new trees and soccer fields, 

For even more facts and goals they hope to hit by 2025, check out their 2019 Sustainability Report.

Green business practices: 

Naadam is trying to “graze the bar” by preventing overgrazing and grassland desertification by securing an area the size of Manhattan specifically for their goats. This way they have tons of room to roam without risk of damaging greater environmental areas. 

They also raise their goats in the Bayangovi region of the Gobi desert which studies show to be less impacted by desertification than other parts.

Aside from using 100% FSC-certified recycled paper hang tags and filler and 100% recycled plastic mailers rated to break down in a couple years (rather than hundreds), other green acts include: using clean energy to power production facilities, implementing closed-loop water dyeing systems, having a concentrated supply chain, and offsetting all shipping emissions through Carbon Fund.  

They hope to achieve full carbon neutrality by 2025.

Inclusivity: 

Naadam sweaters are sized XS-XL. They use a diverse range of models in their marketing

Community & charitable giving: 

Naadam continues to go green by reducing textile waste and being charitable at the same time by donating returned or damaged products to Green Tree Textiles.  

Naadam also regularly contributes to the Gobi Revival Fund, a Mongolian non-profit that invests in rural herding communities and helps them build resilience against issues like climate change, extreme weather, desertification and urbanization. 

They’re also working with this fund to establish the Tsagan Yama Cooperative to help further secure fair cashmere pricing for Mongolian herders.

Available:  Naadam

HOW WE CHOSE THESE ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE SWEATERS

In order to unravel our reasons behind these ethical and sustainable sweaters, you’ll need a rudimentary understanding of what sustainable and ethical fashion is in general. For that, read our comprehensive guide on the matter.  

To summarize, we look at five main categories of criteria:   

Materials: Material choice is obviously a big concern; it makes up the majority of a garment’s impact so read just below for more on this.

Supply chain & labour practices: Transparency is the golden ticket. Even if a brand isn’t perfectly ethical and Fair Trade across their supply chains, the most important thing is being open about problematic areas.  

Third party certifications can help ward against false transparency and greenwashing, with use of supply chain audits to provide a totally objective look at the various components in a brand’s operation (both on the supply side and manufacturing side). These include: 

Fair trade: The big one. Fair trade is basically what it sounds like: that the materials or products were acquired in exchange for fair labor conditions and compensation. This certification wards against unsafe work environments, discrimination, harassment, abuse, or child/forced labor. All employees must be properly trained, paid a fair living wage, and have reasonable working hours. Worth noting that even if a company isn’t officially fair trade certified, they may have Code of Conducts that bind supply chain entities to equivalent standards. 

  • OEKO-Tex 100: Checks that no harmful chemicals (i.e. colorants, heavy metals, formaldehyde, azo-dyes) were used in manufacturing. 

  • Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS): Certifies that fabrics have been grown and made into final garments without chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, or machine harvesting. This is especially relevant to sustainable sweaters where organic cotton is one of the most common materials. 

  • B-Corp: The gold standard certification which requires a yearly audit of  ALL entities in the supply chain and assesses them in over 80 impact areas.

Companies with small, controlled supply chains and those that choose to manufacture in countries with low risk of human rights abuses (I.e. the USA) are positive traits here, too.

Green business practices: A catch all for any other ways brands try to reduce environmental impact.  Most commonly, this includes carbon offsetting, using renewable energy, operating on green buildings, offering garment recycling programs, and using low waste/plastic free packaging.

Inclusivity: Promoting a healthy body image in an industry rife with body confidence issues is super important. Being a body positive and inclusive brands means offering a wide range of sizes and using more diverse models to actually represent the real women and men who will be buying these ethical sweaters.

Charitable endeavors: This one isn’t a hard requirement (smaller startups may simply not have the funds to do this) but it’s really a big bonus if companies give a portion of their profits or time to other good causes.  

Sustainable & Ethical Fabrics for Sweaters 

Fabric has its hand in every part of the production and even post production: sourcing (petroleum mining, chemical farming, etc), raw fiber processing (traditionally involving chemicals), dyeing, weaving and sewings (energy use and machine emissions), washing the garment throughout its life (micro plastics released into waterways), and disposal.

So what fabrics minimize these impact areas? 

Truly environmentally friendly sweaters are biodegradable, meaning they can be composted (or recycled into new garments) rather than rot in a landfill at the end of life. These include: 

  • Organic cotton: The most common fabric in our list of ethical sweaters, this refers to cotton grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers (which means it’s better for the workers and the wearers!). It also uses far less water and land area to grow than traditional cotton, which is one of the world’s dirtiest fibers and thirstiest crops. 
  • Organic Hemp / Linen: Hemp and linen are woven from hemp and flax plants, respectively, both of which are non-water intensive crops.
  • TENCEL (Lyocell/Modal): From the Austrian company TENCEL, Lyocell and Modal are made from eucalyptus and beechwood pulp. They’ve renewable, compostable, and made from an entirely closed-loop, solvent-spinning process, which recycles water and reuses 99% of the chemical solvent.

Then we have recycled synthetics to replace virgin petroleum-based fibers like polyester, nylon, elastane, and spandex. Recycled versions of these fabrics are either made from recycled fabric or other plastic materials, like PET bottles, fishing nets, and more. 

While recycled synthetics (for fabrics like fleece) can’t be composted and still release microplastics with each washing (pro tip: use a Guppyfriend wash bag to prevent these), these garments can still be further recycled and also make use of waste already in existence.

Another common type of material in regards to sustainable sweaters specifically are animal-based fibers like wool. But for those of us who eat and shop vegan, these may present a small ethical dilemma so let’s investigate further: 

Vegan Sweaters vs Cruelty Free Ethical Sweaters

We typically go for vegan, but lots of sweater materials are simply not vegan: merino wool, alpaca, cashmere, and lambswool to name some of the most common ones.

That doesn’t mean they can’t be cruelty-free, however, though this is an area to tread lightly, as it is easy to fall into the ethical gap

Ethical wool sweaters are possible.  You see, sheep actually need occasional shearing to stay healthy, so wool as an animal byproduct is not inherently wrong.  But it’s crucial the animals have good lives (free range, no cage) and that they’re shorn BY HAND (machines can damage the skin and frighten the animals) in warm weather only. All in all, sourcing matters. 

Look for companies that source from herds in ethical countries. Merino wool is good because it usually comes from New Zealand, which has an Animal Welfare Act establishing a duty of care to animals and does not practice mulesing. Note that some Merino wool can come from Australia where mulesing is still practiced. 

Mulesing is a shearing process that actually removes the rear of the Merino sheep… typically without analgesia!  This leaves the sheep’s rear scarred and smooth, so flies can’t lay larvae in the sheep and cause infection. Here is a case where, for us, the end simply does not justify the means. 

You can also look for Merino labeled ZQ which is the highest ethical certification available and look for other wool certified by the Responsible Wool Standard (RWS).

To avoid animal products altogether, opt for recycled synthetics, like recycled fleece. Patagonia probably has the best range here.


FINAL THOUGHTS ON FAIR TRADE, ETHICAL SWEATERS

We hope this list of ethical and eco friendly sweaters will help make your days at home just a little more comfy. 

All in all, the current situation is forcing us all to redefine our deficiencies of “need”, so just remember how to use it as a resource only when you need it.  First, suss out your used options or online thrift stores which have plenty of options at great prices. 

Feel free to spread the love and comfort during these tough times by sharing this article with friends and family.  Thoughts, suggestions, or just want to say, “Hi” hit us up in the comments, and until next time: stay comfy, stay safe.


We wanted to look for the best ethical and fair trade sweaters online, so you can get cozy and stay cozy, without ever leaving the safety of your home... Image by Everlane #ethicalsweaters #fairtradesweaters #sustainablejungle

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