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Navigating the sustainability jungle as a parent

We all want to be the best parents we can be for our children. This includes selecting the cleanest, safest and most sustainable products for them. Given the number and diversity of available sustainability labels, brands and products for babies and children, it can be difficult for the average parent to navigate the vague and […]

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We all want to be the best parents we can be for our children. This includes selecting the cleanest, safest and most sustainable products for them.

Given the number and diversity of available sustainability labels, brands and products for babies and children, it can be difficult for the average parent to navigate the vague and sometimes misleading plethora of designations used to distinguish more “responsible” and safe products in the marketplace. This can lead to confusion, and even scepticism about the real meaning and value of these products. Indeed, while many brands recognize their environmental and social responsibility and develop result-oriented sustainability strategies, there are others that tend to use buzzwords instead or deceptive green marketing.

Environmentally friendly. Eco-conscious. Eco-friendly. Nature-friendly. Ethical. Organic. Sustainable. Green. Responsible. Ecologically clean. These are terms that brands use referring to goods, laws, guidelines, policies or buzzwords that claim reduced, minimal, or no harm upon ecosystems or the environment and society.

But which ones can you actually trust as a parent? And what do they mean?

Given the ambiguity and confusion, as a new mother, I thought it would be beneficial to share a list of safe and sustainable brands that I personally trust based on research and experience, explained in a simple and accessible way for all parents.

Laranjinha: “Creativity inspires us, tradition keeps us grounded, quality is timeless.” This basically summarizes the brand. Laranjinha is a sustainable Portuguese brand that I recently discovered which has been producing comfortable, high-quality clothing for babies and children since 1981. The brand is focused on using sustainable, comfortable, quality materials made in Portugal to reduce its ecological impact and support local communities. The clothes speak for themselves. They are not only incredibly cute but also very durable. Comfort and practicality are also key attributes of the brand as products are designed not only for babies and children, but also for parents. The anti-bacterial garments for newborns are a great example of that.

Moulin Roty: Welcome to the dreamy enchanted world of Moulin Roty toys, which are designed in France using the finest French fabrics and materials. The brand is very proud to be a worker-owned cooperative, putting quality, creativity and excellence first. The company is focused on high-quality, gentle and nontoxic materials. It only works with factories and workshops that are selected with the greatest care to put children’s safety first. I recommend trying the rubber teething rings which are toxin free and made completely from natural rubber.

Cam Cam Copenhagen: Where do I start? Probably one of my favourite brands for children and babies. Cam Cam Copenhagen was created in 2012 by an architect couple based on the deep belief that babies and children only deserve the best. The brand takes sustainability very seriously.  What does that mean practically? Eco-friendly materials, socially and environmentally responsible production, as well as quality and durability. In addition, trust and transparency are key factors when it comes to sustainability. The brand has chosen to walk the extra mile and became certified by the following globally leading standards within organic and sustainable production: GOTS (certified 100% organic cotton) , FSC (responsible forestry) and OCS (certified 100% organic cotton). If you are not familiar with these standards, please rest assured that companies must go through a very strict process in order to get these certifications, ensuring that parents do not have to worry about the safety and sustainability of their children’s belongings. I am personally obsessed with their organic cotton baby nests, changing mats and baby furniture made with sustainable wood.

BabyBjörn: Ask any experienced parent what BabyBjörn is and they will know. It is simply la creme de la creme when it come to products for children. BabyBjörn is an iconic Swedish family-owned business started in 1961 by Björn and his sister-in-law Elsa Jakobson to develop quality, durable, functional and safe products for babies and children.The company is constantly looking for new solutions and improvements based on its unique safety and quality mindset in order to make everyday life easier for parents. Indeed, the brand deeply believes that “every child has the right to feel safe” and has therefore developed a three pillar sustainability strategy focused on people (close and long-term relationships create safety for children, parents, employees and suppliers),  on the planet (desire to reduce its climate impact, so the next generation can grow up on a thriving planet) and product (focus on the development, needs and health of the child when the brand develops new products.) I recommend trying iconic products such as the baby carrier which meets the requirements of OEKO-TEX Standard 100, Class 1 for baby products. This means that the fabric is kind to your baby’s skin and safe. So, there’s no need to wash the baby carrier before you start using it. Another gem is the bouncer bundle with toy as well as the travel crib.

Artipoppe: If you are looking for a fresh, vibrant and sustainable baby carrier, I suggest Artipoppe. But this brand is more than just baby carriers. It’s all about “keeping your precious one close to your skin and heart in a carefully crafted baby carrier. The child feeling safe and protected, enveloped in softness, while the mother makes her way in the physical realm without having to think twice about it.” The brand is committed to “working with nature instead of against it”, a philosophy being applied in everything the brand does especially material sourcing. For example, the Zeitgeist Baby Carriers, Baby Wraps and Ring Slings are available in a wide variety of fibres and blends and even in vegan options. Wherever possible, the brand ops for options that are animal-friendly and request a ‘mulesing-free’ certificates for all the sourced merino. In addition, Artipoppe Baby Carriers are handcrafted to give mothers the best– from the fabrics and dyes to the art of blending fibres, the stitching as well as the designs chosen for each blend. In brief, the company is committed to be a modern and responsible business that cherishes nature, people and animals.

Storksak: Need a changing bag? Don’t think twice, choose Storksak. The brand was founded in 2003 by Melanie Marshall and Suzi Bergman to design one bag that does two jobs: Bags that you will love enough to use as your regular bag, with all the intelligent features to make your job easier as parents. It’s basically the Rolls Royce of changing bags. The brand focuses on sustainable materials and manufacturing practices and is constantly pushing itself and its suppliers to find new, durable, innovative and sustainable materials that limit waste and are safer for our planet. For example, the brand has made sure that its organic cotton supply chain is free from malpractice and that the raw cotton is picked in the US on farms that adhere to strict ethical and sustainable processes. No harmful chemicals are used, making it safer for the environment and for your children. Having tried the organic tote grey raindot, I can only recommend it. It is made in organic cotton manufactured without chemicals used on the outside of the bag as well as the changing mat.

Willow: Welcome to the revolution for mothers! Founded in 2014, Willow has forever changed the way women pump with the world’s first all-in-one, in-bra wearable breast pump. The Willow Wearable Breast Pump features innovative technology that enables total spill-proof mobility while pumping, ditching long tubes, cords, dangling bottles and loud sucking sounds so moms can pump wherever their day takes them. 96% say Willow helps mothers better balance motherhood and their professional lives, according to a survey of Willow pumpers. Recently, Willow is taking a stance with their first-ever brand campaign ‘Declaration of Independence’, encouraging moms to challenge status quo and claim freedom not just from chords and outlets but from society’s archaic impressions of what a mom should be. Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, singer-songwriter Teyana Taylor, comedian Laura Clery and professional soccer player for US Women’s National Team Ashlyn Harris all put stake in the ground to declare overdue and deserved freedom from the weighty expectations of being a mom as part of the campaign.

Disana: This brand is all about producing fabrics which meet the highest sustainability standards. In fact, the company is a founding member of the International Association of Natural Textiles (IVN) and is committed to adhering to its guidelines for natural textile production, the strictest guidelines in the world. Its suppliers are also obliged to comply with the IVN guidelines and provide with detailed documentary proof. Apart from strict compliance, full transparency during the acquisition and processing of raw materials is also a key attribute of the company. In fact, only organic cotton and organic pure new Merino wool which has been independently inspected and certified is used for products. But that’s not it: the company is also committed to supporting communities and their environment where the company operates, a true testament to the company’s comprehensive commitment to sustainability. I can only recommend the pure merino wool baby blanket, one of the softest blankets you will find for newborns as well as the overall with hoodie, made of boiled organic wool which protects against wind, rain and cold.

Risu.Risu: The brand was created by Camille in 2014, a nature and sustainability lover, who started this adventure sewing clothes for her beloved daughters. As finding organic fabrics that meet her quality criteria was not easy, she decided to develop her own jersey, a material specially adapted for children’s sensitive skin. The jersey is certified organic by the GOTS association, including the cotton and the dyeing which are all done in Europe in order to minimize the brand’s environmental impact. The designs are to die for. I am obsessed with all the comfortable and elegant baby dresses.

Liewood: This is another brand I must include here. The company’s ambition is to advocate “slow living – creating products that will last for generations.”The brand is committed to designing products that respect the tenderness and innocence of childhood and the lifestyle of modern families while protecting workmanship. Finally, Liewood has an uncompromising and ethical approach to manufacturing as all products are produced under controlled, safe and fair conditions and of skilled suppliers who do not compromise on either employment or environment. All textile products are made in India at a GOTS certified supplier. My favourite product is without any doubt the silicone children tableware, tested according to the latest EU regulations.

Serendipity Organics: This family-driven Danish design brand is focused on making clothes in organic cotton and natural wool for extra comfort and easy wear. Indeed, the design and quality of the company’s products are key to the brand and deeply rooted in its Scandinavian heritage. Indeed, all cotton garments are produced in India and are certified GOTS, from the cotton fields all the way through the processes of spinning, dying, weaving, knitting, and stitching. Impressive right? The company’s Llama and Baby Alpaca Wool products are simply exceptional as they are handmade or semi-handmade with care in small Bolivian home collectives, bringing sustainable products to clients while protecting local communities. My favourite is the baby alpaca raglan sweater which is incredibly soft, warm and cute.

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