Branch exists to advance the sustainability movement, and to encourage sustainable thinking by everyday people in everyday ways.
We believe that products should be made in the most environmentally-responsible way possible, and that the best way to promote this practice is to do it in the marketplace.
Just as the willingness of a once-small number of consumers to seek out (and occasionally pay a premium for) organic produce is now changing the face of food production and consumption, we believe that we – and more importantly, you – can drive meaningful change in the world’s product-consumption habits, purchase by purchase.
Does this mean that we think we can consume our way to a better world? Emphatically, no. But we believe in two constants: (1) the natural human instinct to create new things, and (2) a steady, ongoing demand for new products. By influencing the former and encouraging more thoughtful means of production, we aim to remove from the latter the negative environmental impact that makes consumption such an unsustainable practice.
And if, in the process, we can also educate our customer and encourage her to give more thought to the other choices she makes in her day-to-day activities – well, that’s our goal.
Okay, so what makes the products at Branch “sustainable”?
Good question. And we’re glad you asked, because this is what sets apart the products we carry. At Branch, we apply a very tight “filter” to the products we allow into our collection.
In a nutshell, we consider three major categories when assessing a product:
1. The materials used must be environmentally responsible.
2. The manufacturing process must be ecologically sound.
3. The labor employed must be treated fairly and provided safe, healthy conditions in which to work.
To be more specific, here’s a list of the criteria we apply.
The materials from which our products are made — and their sources — are a crucial component to our labeling them “sustainable”. Factors that we take into consideration include:
Recycled Content/Recyclability: Is the product made from recycled or repurposed materials? Is it easily recyclable?
Renewability: Is the product made from organic materials that can be regrown or otherwise replenished? Is it readily biodegradable?
Substitute Materials: Is the product less damaging than others of its type as a result of having replaced toxic materials with ones that are safer?
Stewardship Sourcing: Does the product make use of materials from fairly-traded sources or low-impact sources such as FSC-certified forests?
Alternative Energy: Is the product manufactured using a renewable energy source?
Efficiency in Manufacture: Does the product's manufacturing process make efficient use of energy, materials and other resources?
Efficiency in Transport: Is the product designed to optimize space and thereby decrease the energy required to transport it?
Locality: Is the product produced in an area that’s local to the source of the raw materials?
Utility: Has the product increased efficiency by providing greater utility for the user?
Durability: Is the product efficient in its use of materials by having a longer functional lifespan than other similar products?
Efficiency: Does the product make more efficient use of energy, materials or other resources?
Alternative Energy in Use: Does the product use renewable energy to function?
Disassembly: Is the product designed to be easy to disassemble for repurposing, composting and/or recycling?
Communication: Does the product communicate information that leads to better environmental performance; for example, by changing the behavior of its user?
Social Improvement: Is the product designed and/or manufactured by people who take social profit from the work and/or money created?
We go to the trouble of finding products that adhere to our rigorous standards because we believe that people do care about the things they buy. Given a choice, we believe that a person will choose a product that’s made in a responsible manner over a similar one that’s not.
Our goal at Branch is to make those “responsible” choices more attractive and functional.