Costco is an American retailer founded in 1983 in Seattle, Washington, by James Sinegal and Jeffrey Brotman. The multinational retail company creates casualwear for men, women, and children.

Costco makes clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry, beauty, and fragrances. It operates more than 800 stores and has 288,000 employees in stores, factories, logistics, brands, and subsidiaries.

Costco is continually providing quality goods and services at the lowest possible prices. It has sustainability commitments and goals to adapt to global challenges such as climate change, human rights issues, and compromised natural resources.

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Sustainability Rating: 4/10

Rating FAQ

Category: Clothing, accessories, shoes, bags, jewelry

For: Women, men, children

Type: Basics, denim, knitwear, activewear, underwear, loungewear, sleepwear, swimwear, outerwear, boots, sandals, flats, sneakers

Style: Casual

Quality: Low

Price: $

Sizes: XS-2XL, 2-14 (US), 4-16 (UK), 34-44 (EU), 6-18 (AU), plus size

Fabrics: Cotton, linen, hemp, ramie, jute, lyocell, modal, viscose, acetate, polyester, nylon, spandex, polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylic, neoprene, polyurethane, rubber, leather, wool, silk, down

100% Organic: No

100% Vegan: No

Ethical & Fair: No

Recycling: Yes

Producing countries: not transparent enough

Certifications: GOTS, RDS, RJC, FSC, Oeko-Tex, BCI, SMETA, SA8000, WRAP, Fair Trade

Sustainability Practices

Costco takes wide-ranging measures to operate efficiently and in an environmentally responsible manner. It focuses on reducing resource consumption and other emissions and environmental-related areas.

Costco only uses a tiny proportion of organic materials such as organic cotton or recycled materials such as recycled polyester.

Most of its fabrics are natural without relevant certifications, such as regular cotton or linen, or synthetic petroleum-based fibers such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, and more.

Costco also uses semi-synthetic fibers or regenerated cellulosic fabrics such as Tencel lyocell, modal, acetate, and viscose.

Tencel is an eco-friendly fiber made with wood pulp from certified sustainable forests. But only a tiny proportion of the materials used by Costco are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Costco doesn't publish a list of its manufacturers and processing facilities on its corporate website. It doesn't disclose how it chooses its network of suppliers.

The 2021 Fashion Transparency Index gave Costco a score of only 12% based on how much the group discloses about its social and environmental policies, practices, and impacts.

Costco has a Code of Conduct that applies to all its suppliers and subcontractors. It assesses compliance with its Code of Conduct by informal visits or third-party audits with or without notice.

Costco doesn't use any exotic animal skin, hair, fur, or angora. But it uses leather, wool, silk, and down feathers to manufacture many of its clothing pieces.

These animal-derived materials are cruel and unethical. They also harm the environment by producing greenhouse gases and waste. More sustainable alternatives exist.

Sustainability Goals

Costco has committed to transitioning to a low-carbon business model that is sustainable for our planet. It will continually source more sustainable products.

Costco estimates that it can reduce cumulative Scope 1 and 2 CO2 emissions 20% by 2030 and 45% by 2035 from a 2020 base year.

To do so, it plans to reduce its refrigerant emission Global Warming Potential (GWP) by 30% by 2030 compared to its 2020 baseline. It will also increase purchased renewable electricity in its global operations to 30% by 2025, 60% by 2030, and 100% by 2035.

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