Sporting green: procuring regenerative materials in the sportswear industry


Sporting green: procuring regenerative materials in the sportswear industry

The sportswear sector is experiencing a compelling shift towards sustainability, driven by growing environmental awareness and consumer demand for ethical products. As the impacts of climate change become more evident, both consumers and industry players are recognizing the urgent need to reduce the environmental footprint of sportswear production.

How is the sportswear industry revolutionizing its materials? How is the sportswear industry revolutionizing its materials?

This is when regenerative materials enter the scene. Unlike traditional materials, regenerative options are designed to restore and replenish natural resources rather than deplete them. With regenerative materials such as organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp, the sportswear sector can significantly reduce its reliance on resource-intensive production methods, mitigate pollution, and minimize waste.

Setting clear sustainability goals

A sportswear brand looking to forge a sustainable path must intricately weave its procurement strategies with its overarching sustainability objectives. This alignment serves as a linchpin in building an authentic and impactful approach to responsible business practices. By sourcing materials and partners in line with sustainable principles, the brand not only reinforces its commitment to conscientious consumer demands but also sets an example for industry peers.

For instance, global brands like Patagonia and Adidas have effectively integrated sustainable procurement into their operations. Patagonia's meticulous selection of ethically sourced materials and suppliers showcases how conscious choices can resonate with environmentally-aware consumers, while Adidas' Parley collection, which transforms ocean plastic into sportswear, exemplifies the innovative possibilities of sustainable sourcing.

Pictured: Sugarcane-based biomaterial Patagonia uses. 72% of Patagonia’s products come from recycled materials. (Source: Patagonia)  Pictured: Sugarcane-based biomaterial Patagonia uses. 72% of Patagonia’s products come from recycled materials. (Source: Patagonia)

Sustainable companies are known to deliver significant positive financial performance. This phenomenon, often referred to as the "sustainability premium," underscores the intrinsic link between responsible business practices and long-term economic success.

Identifying and researching suppliers

The big question for many brands that want to embrace sustainability is how to effectively research and identify suppliers who align with their values. Conducting thorough research is crucial in ensuring that suppliers share the same commitment to ethical and eco-friendly practices. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Define your criteria: Clearly outline your sustainability requirements, quality standards, and other essential criteria. This will help narrow down potential suppliers and ensure they align with your brand's values and objectives.
  • Industry networks: Utilize industry associations, trade shows, and online platforms to identify potential suppliers. Engaging with peers and attending relevant events can provide valuable insights and recommendations.
  • Online research: Use search engines, supplier directories, and social media platforms to gather information about potential suppliers. Company websites often offer insights into their values, practices, and product offerings.
  • Supplier reviews: Look for online reviews, testimonials, and case studies to gauge the experiences of other companies that have worked with the same suppliers. This can provide insights into reliability and customer satisfaction.
  • Supplier audits: Conduct on-site visits and audits to assess a supplier's facilities, operations, and adherence to sustainability standards. This firsthand evaluation can help validate the information you've gathered.
  • Third-party certification: It’s equally important to note that certifications and third-party validations are useful in verifying a supplier's sustainability claims. These credentials, such as Fair Trade certification, GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), or OEKO-TEX Standard 100, offer a clear and standardized way to assess a supplier's adherence to responsible practices.

These tips cover several aspects of sourcing regenerative materials, emphasizing the intricate process that goes into ensuring authenticity and sustainability. As brands navigate this journey towards responsible sourcing, leveraging innovative solutions becomes essential. This is where, your online marketplace for regenerative materials, can be a game-changer.

We have created a meticulously curated platform that connects brands with verified suppliers who share your commitment to regenerative sourcing. The platform essentially takes the guesswork out of material sourcing. It offers a reliable way for sportswear brands to find suppliers who share their commitment to sustainability. With clear supplier profiles, certification validation, and transparent information, the platform ensures that the materials sourced are genuinely eco-friendly. This makes the process easier and more trustworthy and aligns with your brand's values, contributing to a more sustainable and responsible sportswear industry.

💡 Discover innovative suppliers of regenerative materials on tocco’s marketplace here


The future of sourcing is regenerative: the why and the how | tocco. (n.d.).

The sportswear innovators lowering their production footprint | News | Athletics Better World  | World Athletics. (n.d.).

Whelan, T. (2017, June 1). The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability. Harvard Business Review.

Written by Anh N. on 22/08/2023

Stay Informed

Never miss out on the latest sustainable & regenerative materials!

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Let's talk!

We collaborate with brands, entrepreneurs, innovative suppliers and legends