van de kamp academy
van de kamp academy is a carbon-neutral clothing brand based in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia). We craft our garments locally and ethically, with a focus on advocating for sustainability and a world where everyone can feel welcome and represented. Our garments are genderless and come in a broad size range.
“Becoming carbon-neutral is possible for every business. Certification isn’t just for enterprises and big brands. If you partner with the right experts and program, it might be easier than you think. We all need to clean up after ourselves, no matter our size.”
Type of certification
How long have you been certified carbon neutral?
Since April 2021.
Why did you choose to go carbon neutral?
We wouldn’t have it any other way. Businesses cleaning up after themselves is no longer and never should’ve been, optional.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) recently said that “No one ever makes a billion dollars. You take a billion dollars”. While what she’s talking about is quite different, the statement resonates with our thinking on the way we work with the environment, community and people. No one just makes products or provides a service; resources are typically taken or used to make the products or services which often leaves a trail of wastage and carbon behind.
What are the anticipated benefits of your carbon neutral certification?
A benefit of learning about carbon neutrality and going through the certification process is that it opens your eyes to how the business decisions you make every day impacts the environment. It holds you accountable for learning and challenges those ongoing decisions. For example, we knew early on that we wanted to be ethical and Australian made.
It made sense for us to take that thinking one step further by having as much of our supply chain within the same city, further reducing the carbon we emit by transporting things over the country and the world.
What offset project do you support?
A cookstove project in Malawi.
Why did you choose this project?
We took our time to hand-pick a project that has a really clear impact and complements our other values. The project we chose in Malawi reduces carbon emissions but also aims to tackle poverty, promote good health and encourage responsible consumption.
How can your customers support you?
The fashion industry leaves a gross amount of wastage behind. Once we all understand our impact on the environment as consumers and businesses, it’s about voting with our wallets. The purchases we all make (or don’t make) have a material impact on the planet and help to change the fast-paced, trend-driven fashion industry.
You can support us by learning about your impact on the environment and being mindful of the purchases you make. When you do make purchases, try buying from brands that genuinely clean up after themselves and do the right thing. There’s a lot of 'green washing' out there, where brands try to make it seem like they're more sustainable than they are. Look a bit deeper to find brands that have certifications from authoritative organisations like Climate Active. Or, things that show the brand has thought about the entire lifecycle of your clothing (how it's made and sourced through to the end of the garment's life).
What else are you doing to reduce emissions?
van de kamp academy offers a free repair program to keep our garments going for longer. When they finally call it a day and are irreparable, we have a recycling program to receive the garments back and turn them into something new.
Before anything even reaches the manufacturing stage, we try to keep things local to avoid carbon emissions from freight and transport. Many of our suppliers are right here in Naarm (Melbourne), where we locally and ethically produce all of our garments. All of which are certified by PETA as cruelty-free.
In terms of production, we only use quality fabrics that are heavy and made to last. We only make timeless basics that last beyond seasons and trends, which helps to reduce waste.
What advice would you give to a business considering certification?
1. Do it. What other choice do you have?
2. Becoming carbon-neutral is possible for every business. Certification isn’t just for enterprises and big brands. If you partner with the right experts and program, it might be easier than you think. We all need to clean up after ourselves, no matter our size.
3. Make it count. Resist just buying any cheap carbon offset credits to check a box, do some research first. Finding impactful offset credits and partnering with a government-backed program like Climate Active will make it even more meaningful for the environment, your customers and your business.