A woman walks through a market wearing a dress by brand 4

5 Brands and Organizations Pushing for a More Responsible, Sustainable Retail Industry: Global Vision Awards 2022

Travelers can turn to these Global Vision Awards honorees to source more sustainable, responsibly made products.

The Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards aim to identify and honor companies, individuals, destinations, and organizations that are taking strides to develop more sustainable and responsible travel products, practices, and experiences. Not only are they demonstrating thought leadership and creative problem-solving; they are taking actionable, quantifiable steps to protect communities and environments around the world. What's more, they are inspiring their industry colleagues and travelers to do their part.

Consumers have never been more aware of their spending power — or the importance of using their hard-earned money to support retailers that align with their values. And when it comes to travel, that intentionality extends as much to what travelers pack and purchase as it does to where they choose to stay or how they choose to get there. Fortunately, these Global Vision Awards honorees are making it easy to find sustainable, responsibly manufactured essentials, including skin care, shoes, and clothing. For your next adventure, you can stock your suitcase with a cleanser that uses would-be food waste (fig stones turned to an extract), sneakers that feature vegan leather made from pineapple husks, and a whole slew of products from Black female entrepreneurs. These companies prove that even small purchases can have a big impact. — T+L Editors

Nikki Porcher, founder of Buy From A Black Woman
Nikki Porcher, founder of Buy From a Black Woman. | Credit: Courtesy of Nikki Porcher

Buy from a Black Woman

Six years ago, on her way to run a half-marathon in Florida, Nikki Porcher missed her flight and ended up at an event supporting young entrepreneurs. That serendipitous moment changed her life, as well as that of many others. Being the only Black woman present inspired her to start a blog, Buy from a Black Woman, in which she wrote weekly posts about sourcing products and services from Black female business owners. "Although there are more and more Black women founders, their annual sales are five times smaller than other women-owned businesses due to lack of support and awareness," explains Porcher. Her blog soon attracted thousands of readers, and she started receiving donations to support her work, eventually deciding to create a compendium of Black-woman-owned enterprises that anyone could access. "The list has grown to include 600 businesses," Porcher says. Last year, she partnered with H&M to go on the Black Women Inspire Tour, which hit 19 cities to bring awareness to Black women entrepreneurs nationwide. This year, in addition to partnering with H&M again, Buy from a Black Woman received a grant as part of Goldman Sachs' "One Million Black Women" initiative, which is investing $10 million in capital and $100 million in philanthropic support for Black women. Porcher says one of her goals is to encourage everyone to "just replace one item in your household — coffee, toothpaste, makeup — with a product produced by a Black woman. It can make a difference." — Gisela Williams

SPF Lip Balm and hands and arms with sunscreen from Everyday Humans
Products from Everyday Humans, like its SPF 30 lip balm, incorporate ingredients from food waste and use recycled or biodegradable packaging. | Credit: Courtesy of Everyday Humans

Everyday Humans

You've probably heard of upcycling in the context of furniture and clothing, but what about beauty products? "What would conventionally be food waste, like peels, fruit stones, or leaves and stems is now being distilled into oils and extracts that are now used as our hero ingredients," says Everyday Humans founder Charlotte Chen Pienaar. Ease Up, the brand's first skin-care product, for example, features green-fig extract pressed from discarded fig stones; Resting Beach Face SPF30, a lightweight sunscreen-serum hybrid, incorporates spinach-leaf extract in its formulation; and Oh My Bod SPF50 body sunscreen deploys cucumber and green tea. The company's participation in the 2019 Target Takeoff accelerator program allowed it to relaunch in 2020 with packaging made from post-consumer recycled plastic, as well as biodegradable cartons. It's now found at 700-plus Target stores, as well as online, and has been certified as Climate Neutral and cruelty-free. "We make sure our products have been vetted by our fans and customers to suit more skin types and tones," says Chen Pienaar of the company's approach to beta testing. "As a WoC founder and first-time beauty entrepreneur, I am proud to launch a brand that speaks to a community far beyond my own."  — Heidi Mitchell

A woman wearing a top by brand 4
A patterned top from 4, a clothing line from J Brand co-founder Susie Crippen and Ride 4 a Woman founder Evelyn Habasa. | Credit: Courtesy of 4

4

Susie Crippen wasn't looking for business opportunities when she traveled to Uganda in 2018. Quite the contrary: the cofounder of J Brand had sold her majority stake in the popular denim label after enduring years of toxic corporate culture, and had taken a safari in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park as part of a much-needed sabbatical. But everything changed when she met Evelyn Habasa, the founder of Ride 4 a Woman, a nonprofit based in a rural village on the edge of the park. Inspired by the organization's artisans — dozens of women who had been trained to sew pillows and napkins to earn money for the first time — Crippen approached Habasa with the idea for a new fashion enterprise. Together they launched 4, an e-commerce label that sells dresses and shirts made by Ride 4 a Woman using patterned kitenge fabrics. Crippen, who now lives in Kenya, sees the business as an opportunity for newfound financial freedom — for herself, her employees, and countless women across Africa. "This is a grassroots organization that can be a blueprint for other communities," she says. "When you empower women, it changes everything." — G.W.

Vuori Rip Stop pants, model on beach
A model wears Vuori's Ripstop Pant, made with organic cotton. | Credit: Courtesy of Vuori Clothing

Vuori

Sportswear maker Vuori never intended for sustainability to be a hallmark of its seven-year-old brand. "It evolved organically," says founder Joe Kudla, who drew his inspiration from the outdoorsy lifestyle of southern California. "We live on the ocean, and to our east are the Sierras. We thought the places that were inspiring our products needed to be protected." That stewardship begins with Vuori's focus on materials. More than 80 percent of the fabrics used are either organic or recycled, including polyester made from water bottles and nylon made from fishing nets, and in an industry that typically packages every T-shirt in a plastic bag, Vuori has eliminated nearly all of them. The company has backed efforts to eliminate ocean waste: last year, it partnered with CleanHub to calculate its total plastic usage, then offset it by financing a company in Indonesia that collects plastic waste and recycles it into packaging and textiles. And Vuori is now testing ways to prevent damaged or returned merchandise from being sent to the landfill by restoring the items to salable condition. "We're minimizing our impact by making more responsible choices," Kudla says. "We didn't come into this space saying that we'd be sustainable. It was just something that was important to us." vuoriclothing.com.Jeff Chu

Person modeling YY Nation wool sneakers
Many of the raw materials for YY Nation sneakers are sourced from within 65 miles of its New Zealand manufacturing base. | Credit: Courtesy of YY Nation

YY Nation

In 2018, while on vacation in Hawaii, Jeremy Bank was playing on the beach with his daughter when he noticed her collecting tiny blue fragments in the sand — what he thought were pieces of shells. "On closer inspection, they were bits of plastic," he says, and they were everywhere. "It wasn't like that 20 years ago. If it's changed so much in one generation, what is it going to be like for my children's children?" This is the guiding question of YY Nation, Bank's fledgling New Zealand–based footwear brand that, from the start, has etched environmental consciousness into every process and every product. The uppers of YY Nation's shoes are crafted from merino wool and a faux leather made from pineapple husk, typically a waste product that gets burned after harvest; outsoles are made from algae, sugarcane, and recycled rubber. To minimize waste created during manufacturing, offcuts from the soles are transformed into flooring material. And at the end of a shoe's life, YY Nation invites customers to return them to be repurposed or recycled. yynation.com.J.C.