Overall, Life is Good is great on the optimism side of things but could do better in the environmentally friendly side of things. Life is Good is now sold in over 2,500 stores in US and Canada. On the other hand, the brand is committed to promoting responsible, ethical and humane work conditions both internally and externally. This is extremely important and I liked that this was laid out clearly on their website. The company has a cute slogan and I love that the brand promotes happiness and to live a happy life. Life is Good also donates 10% of its profits to charities that help children in need. I think it is really great when companies are able to give back some of their profits to people in need. Environmentally, Life is Good could look into using a more sustainable cotton, along with finding an alternative to the chemicals used in cotton t-shirt making. They could also create a recycling program to encourage people to bring in old t-shirts instead of just tossing them and adding to the landfill.
For these t-shirts, the solid colors are 100% USA grown cotton. The heather colors are 80% USA grown cotton and 20% polyester. While it does make me happy that the cotton is USA grown so that it is not shipped internationally, I do not particularly like that it is made out of cotton. Cotton production uses a variety of pesticides, a good amount of water, and converts animal habitats for agricultural use. Cotton also severely degrades soil quality. However, sustainable cotton is showing up more and Life is Good could and should look into using these practices. Lastly, the shirts have double-reinforced stitching and are garment dyed. Almost all the dyes are not naturally made and therefore made of chemicals derived from either coal or petroleum. Thus, these dyes are not benefiting the environment in any ways.
The cotton is spun in factories and treated with heat and chemicals. Lots of fabric can also end up unused during the cutting process. Therefore, this part of the process is not the most environmentally friendly. In 2001, Life is Good licensed production to The Shirt Factory in New Hampshire. I am not the biggest fan of it being factory-made because factories cause a lot off damage to the environment. They release emissions such as carbon dioxide, further contributing to climate change. However, I do see the need to have factory production when a business takes off as Life is Good did. Next, the shirts get dyed and an emblem is screen printed onto the shirt. This is also done in factory production. Lastly, Life is Good ships internationally which uses a lot of packaging materials, most likely not healthy for the environment, and fossil fuels are used in travel. On the good side, Life is Good is focused on the quality of the product and therefore wants their product to last. This will reduce waste because people will hopefully hold on to the quality product for many years.
The Life is Good brand was made by the Jacobs brothers in 1989. They would sell them out of their van before it took off and became a bigger business. Most of the apparel is now made in Peru. The brothers argue that by working in Peru versus the US they are providing jobs for people in countries without a safety net. However, they do not specify the age of these workers or their wage, making me skeptical of the true sustainability of the company. Life is Good is now an 80 million dollar business with 5,000 distributers operating in 14 different countries. Life is Good believes all workers deserve basic labor rights and therefore support The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The International Labor Organization. While I do find this very important because often times big businesses do not care for their workers rights and will pay them so little the workers cannot even make a living off it, again Life is Good does not provide any specific details. Life is Good claims to care for their workers, yet do not provide examples of how they do so, therefore causing me to give them a lower rating.