Reformation Pairs Shopping With Climate Action

The fashion retailer lets green shoppers add more than just clothes to their carts.

The Reformation storefront in Soho. (Staff Photo by Alina Patrick)

With the launch of its Climate Credits Program, Los Angeles-based sustainable fashion retailer Reformation has redefined what it means to be fashion-forward. As a part of Reformation’s “Carbon is canceled” campaign, Climate Credits allow customers worldwide to contribute additional money to various carbon offset programs. Customers can choose to purchase credits ranging from $60 to $400.

At the lowest level, Reformation advertises that a customer is able to offset six months of their own carbon emissions. Meanwhile, a purchase of $200 covers a family of four for the same time. Reformation even offers choices like the “Average Wedding” for $160, which claims to offset the carbon emissions from a nuptial ceremony.

Although Reformation is popular with NYU students, GLS first-year Matthew Kang thinks the cost will prevent Climate Credits from achieving similar success.

“Personally, I don’t think this program will be popular amongst Reformation consumers [since] you need to pay money to offset your own carbon emissions,” he said.

CAS junior Samantha Coulter, however, has nothing but high hopes for the program.

“I think Reformation customers would definitely be willing to buy these because [they] are people who care about issues like these,” she said. “If you can afford to shop at Ref, you can most likely afford to spend your money on something that will serve the greater good.”

Yet some are skeptical as to whether Climate Credits will serve the greater good. Steinhardt sophomore Evonne Lao expressed trepidation about exactly where the money is going.

“It is a nice program, but the fact is customers can’t directly see where their $60 goes unless Reformation does regular updates on the donated projects,” Lao said.

Still, if executed properly, the Climate Credits Program could be highly impactful. A 2018 United Nations Emissions Gap Report found that carbon dioxide emissions have risen since 2017 after a three-year plateau. This sudden rise in emissions levels has led the UN to urge its member nations to improve their environmental policies. Perhaps by appealing to a growing concern for sustainability within their existing consumer base, Reformation has hit a burgeoning market that will work to reduce the clothing industry’s carbon footprint rather than augment it.

A version of this article appears in the Monday, Feb. 25, 2019, print edition. Email Sara Miranda at [email protected]

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