Is COS Ethical and Sustainable?

Is Monki's sister brand ethical and sustainable?

Last Updated on June 4, 2023

If you’re a fan of the minimalist aesthetic, then chances are you’ve had your eye on COS – but if you’re holding back on making a purchase until you know whether the brand is ethical and sustainable, we’re here to give you the low down.

The Swedish brand launched in 2007. It offers ‘reinvented classics and wardrobe essentials for women, men, and children.’ 

One look at the brand’s Instagram account will give you the idea that it positions itself as premium as far as the high street goes – but does its ethics match its aesthetics?

 COS Celebrating queer club culture

In case you didn’t know, COS is owned by retail giant H&M and has 280 stores across the globe. It’s a sister brand to other popular fast-fashion brands such as Monki and & Other Stories.

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Is COS sustainable?

If we were to base it on just the fact that it’s part of the H&M Group, we can assume that COS is, at best, doing just okay in terms of sustainability. 

H&M has reportedly been accused of greenwashing for releasing a ‘sustainable’ collection while still working with a fast-fashion model. 

As of 2022, 92% of the base fabrics in their collection have been sourced in a more sustainable manner, as indicated by their Material Environmental Benchmark. It uses some eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, recycled wool, and more. So far it has launched programs to source better cashmere through partnering with the Good Cashmere Standard, and better down for its recycled outerwear range.

The brand also redesigned its packaging to incorporate more sustainable and recyclable materials. It also shared that it aims to make its packaging 100% recycled, reusable or compostable by 2025.

It also launched COS Resell, a community where customers can buy and sell used COS clothing. Read more about it here.

Read more about COS’s sustainability policy here.

READ MORE: 11 earth-friendly bikinis we love for summer

Is COS ethical?

COS scored 71-80% in the Fashion Transparency Index, along with other members of the H&M Group. This means it discloses information about its products’ sources as well as its list of manufacturers and processing facilities.

However, COS doesn’t have an easily accessible copy of its policies concerning workers. We’d just have to assume that whatever is implemented by its parent company is what they follow. 

The H&M Group says its brands are committed to paying garment workers fairly. However, there is no evidence that it does so, according to Good On You.

COS’ Animal Welfare Policy

According to H&M Group’s Animal Welfare Policy, its brands ensure that all the animal-derived materials they use in their products are gathered with the use of the Five Freedoms recommended by the World Organisation by Animal Health. 

It still uses leather and silk, but it doesn’t use exotic animal skin, fur or angora. 

Read H&M Group’s Animal Welfare Policy here.

Make sure to check out our article on sustainability guide to Bershka.

Wear Next Opinion

Wear Next believes it’s important to highlight the negative and unjust practises taking place in the fashion industry. We believe ethics and sustainability are important talking points to bring about change and we encourage you to contact fashion brands to demand this.

However, we understand that sustainable fashion isn’t accessible to everybody due to various factors, such as budget and the ability to find confidence-boosting clothes that fit. We will continue to offer you fashion inspiration and guidance to suit everybody and their budget, while also highlighting the unjust systems at play in the fashion industry.

We encourage our readers to shop mindfully and purposefully, ditching impulse purchases as a way to start shopping sustainably. If you want to learn more about fast fashion, we recommend books from this reading list.