As a choice in leisure or activewear, the Lululemon Align leggings are unsustainable in all aspects aside from labor standards. Though they have extensive standards to achieve equitable labor, they can improve on their transparency through the facilities that these standards apply to. Lululemon can also improve on the choice of materials to create their aligns, as they are derived from an unsustainable, artificial material that can take decades to centuries to decompose.
Lululemon Align Leggings are made from their patented Nulu fabric and Lycra fibers. Nulu fabric is created from nylon, a synthetic material derived from the extensive processing of crude oil. Lycra is a brand of elastane, a material popular in sportswear and knits for its elasticity. Like nylon, elastane is also a synthetic material, and it is produced through the processing of polyurethane. Polyurethane is a liquid form of artificial rubber created in a laboratory setting.
Lululemon is not publicly transparent on their website about all the regions where their Align leggings are made, stating that they source from outside vendors in 26 countries around the world, including the United States. In a statement made to_CSIMarket.com_ (https://csimarket.com/stocks/suppliers_glance.php?code=LULU)about their supply chain, Lululemon says: “Approximately 44% of our products were produced in South East Asia, approximately 28% in South Asia, approximately 20% in China, approximately 2% in North America, and the remainder in other regions.”
Lululemon does say that they do not own their own independent manufacturing vendors, and outsource their fabric and garment production to a select number of factories. The one country aside from the United States they are explicit about sourcing from is Bangladesh, where they have two cut and sew facilities sewing fabric into leggings.
Though Lululemon does not explicitly name their vendors, nor all the specific countries in which they source from, they do claim to follow a strict guideline of labor ethics. Their Vendor Code of Ethics outlines their standards and principles expected of each one of their vendors, including a zero tolerance for forced and prison labor, demand for local minimum wage, and appropriate rest. These requirements are derived from those of the International Labor Organization, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Global Impact Principles, and the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act.