People Tree is a sustainable Japanese fashion brand for women. It was founded in Tokyo in 1991 but also has a headquarter in London.
People Tree almost exclusively works with sustainable materials that are completely biodegradable. It’s looking for a sustainable alternative for elastane to maintain stretch in its garments while reducing its impact on the environment. The Japanese brand mainly uses cotton, of which 93% is organic and 7% conventional from Bangladesh. Besides that, it’s increasing its use of tencel from Austria and conventional linen and wool from New Zealand and Italy. People Tree says that no mulesing takes place throughout its supply chain, but lacks the quality marks to guarantee that animal rights are respected. Most of its materials are certified by GOTS and / or Fair Trade.
People Tree works with small producers and farmers in developing countries to maintain its traditional handicraft techniques and communities. More than 90% of its products and materials that People Tree uses come from these Fair Trade (WFTO) groups with which it has a close relationship. These producer groups are mainly located in India, but also in Bangladesh, Nepal, Turkey, Portugal and Italy. A lot of the fashion brand’s production takes place in high-risk countries in terms of workers' rights. Fortunately, People Tree provides information per location on how employees are treated. It would be nice if the brand could complete this in the future with the remaining 10% of which there is currently no information available.
The producers People Tree works with, use low-impact dyes that are free from harmful chemicals. The company’s packaging is also fully recyclable and biodegradable, but it’s still plastic because it prefers shipments by boat and therefore needs to be able to preserve its products properly. Unfortunately, People Tree doesn’t yet publish any information about carbon emissions and the extent to which the brand and its producers use renewable energy. Instead of offering individual environmental information for each producer, People Tree can publish a general sustainability report that contains unambiguous data concerning environmental impact and workers’ rights. On a more positive note: People Tree has its own foundation to help farmers and artisans provide training, technical support and scale up environmental initiatives.
All in all, the brand is doing well in terms of sustainability and ethics and we would definitely recommend it.