Time for transparency

Posted by:
The Scale Up

22 Jan 2021

What’s in a product?

In a study commissioned by global hygiene and health company Essity, more than a third of UK consumers said there is a need for brands and businesses to be more transparent about the sustainability of their products.

Consumers have become less trusting of brands, particularly since the pandemic hit. They’re curious. They’re asking questions about product origins, handling, storage, and distribution of products along the supply chain. They’re looking for more information on the brand’s sustainability stance.

Many brands are responding to this well. They’re championing sustainability and are proud to share how they’re doing it. Here are a few companies that are shaping the future of sustainability across the health, wellbeing, and fashion industries.

Transparency will be one of the top trends for the food and drink industry in 2021.

- Source: Innova Market Insights

Sustainable foodies

Transparency has never been more important to brands in the nutrition and supplement market. Consumers value the food, drink and supplements brands that help them practice healthy behaviours, even more so throughout the pandemic. As they’re more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies, they value openness and honesty when it comes to ingredients used.

51% of UK shoppers consider sustainable or ethical ingredients as important as before the pandemic, while over a third of consumers said that these claims matter more to them now as a result of the pandemic.

Source: Speciality Food Magazine – GlobalData

According to the Soil Association, the organic market in particular has now reached its highest growth level in over a decade. So, if you’re in the business of organic and sustainable snacking, supplements or foodstuffs, then you’re onto a winner, just like these brands…

The Gut Stuff

The Gut Stuff’s mantra is to empower gut health in everyone, but they don’t just say, they do. Their claims are backed by a team of nutritionists, dietitians, GPs and scientists, so with experts like these onboard, it’s pretty difficult to nay-say.

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Soil Association certified Nutravita came to the fore of the vitamins and supplements market in 2014, keen to tell the world that all of its products are sourced and blended from the highest quality ingredients, and are manufactured in the UK. They share expert knowledge and tips regularly and invite customers to ask questions. Beyond being transparent about its product offering, Nutravita pledged to ‘do right by people and the planet’ by planting trees in partnership with Ecologi.

Brits are willing to pay £3,654 more a year for eco-friendly products.

Source: Independent

Quinn Snacks

US-based Quinn Snacks are big on ‘keeping it real’. Founder Kristy was on a mission to revolutionise microwavable popcorn, starting with removing chemicals, plastics and using real ingredients that can be traced back to the source. Like many other healthy food and snack brands, Quinn avoids using artificial flavourings, preservatives and other words that are hard to pronounce. Transparency comes in the form of their ‘Farm to Bag’ initiative and Kristy declares:

Transparency is the most powerful force for good in good.


Sustainability is a big talking point in fashion too. The fashion industry alone accounts for around 10% of global carbon emissions, and research tells us it uses up more energy than both aviation and shipping combined. Fast-fashion is problematic, but brands are actively taking steps to reduce their environmental impact.


When you think of everyday sustainable fashion, you might think of H&M with its ‘Conscious’ collection. They made their stamp by creating an exclusive AW20 collection made entirely from waste.

DL 1961

Denim can be sustainable too. Denim brand DL 1961 uses Jeanologia’s Environmental Impact Measurement software to keep track of each garment’s water, energy, and resource usage. Now that’s a fairly unique selling proposition to share with consumers.


Patagonia is another clothing brand that’s become synonymous with sustainability, in fact, it’s become a global leader for it. From how its products are made and the materials used to donations to environmental causes, planet ecosystem preservation weaves its way through the brand’s entire business model.


There’s nothing more transparent than having a dedicated ‘transparency’ page on your brand’s website, telling your customers how transparent you are. That’s exactly what footwear brand Veja has created. They go into incredible detail on how the shoe is made, how much its labourers are paid and what chemicals are used. They even share the contract they have in place with their organic cotton producers.

Girlfriend Collective

Transparency is important to Girlfriend Collective too. In the brand’s words, “So many companies tout transparency but only offer flashy headlines instead of substance.” The important thing is, they communicate their stance on eco-friendliness, and they communicate it well.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is at the forefront of driving sustainable luxury fashion. Coined fashion’s most passionate environmentalist, she made key supply chain decisions to ensure every product would be ethically sourced and made with the environment in mind. The designer stood by producing timeless fashion pieces without using fur or leather, but remained luxurious and most importantly – sustainable.

Transparency to Stella McCartney means sharing details of the materials used for each and every look, where they are sourced and how they contribute to the company’s sustainability mission.

Clear communication

As these brands prove, sustainability isn’t just a ‘nice thing’ to be doing or talking about.

From the supply chain to the products themselves, the materials used and what packaging they’re shipped in, consumers are demanding more reassurance that they’re having a positive impact on the environment. The world of ‘being green’ comes with a complex list of buzzwords, so it’s important to clarify what all the terminology really means.

Successful brands of the future will be those who incorporate sustainable practices whilst being completely transparent with the consumer.

BOOM! Awards now open…

If you’re an organic-certified business working to restore nature, health and a safe climate, enter the UK’s only organic awards, the BOOMs (Best of Organic Market) here.

Entries close Monday 1 March 2021 at midnight.

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