Our Methodology


“Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” - Harlem Brundtland, 1987

Our methodology is built on an ambition to create a butterfly effect and ensure a positive future.

We believe this is only possible if companies place social and environmental responsibility at the heart of their business and embed it throughout their organisation. This is why we assess a company's sustainability in a holistic way.

We assess a company across five criteria: governance, social framework, environmental framework, philanthropy, and innovation.  

To be awarded the Butterfly Mark and be part of the Positive Luxury community, a brand must make a positive impact on people and the planet. The assessment ensures they go beyond achieving a minimum sustainable business standard that is compliant with international law and best practice principles.  

Learn more about what we do >


The assessment was designed to reflect the self-regulating nature of sustainable businesses.  The lack of government legislation in pushing businesses to be more responsible means that other stakeholders, NGOs, and consumers have become the active players in pushing brands to do better.

The assessment is developed and updated annually in partnership with our experienced sustainability council and external institutional partners. This ensures the process reflects a high standard and is current with the changing nature of discussion.

To navigate the complexities of sustainability across various industries, the assessment is composed of questions concerning all applicants, followed by questions catering specifically to each sector.

The completed assessment and awarding of the Butterfly Mark is not the end of the journey for our brands. Our community encourages continued commitment and improvement towards our shared goal of sustainability.


Our robust assessment evaluates companies across the following five criteria:

1. Governance

Business is envisioned as a force for good, employing responsible leadership that places sustainability at the heart of organisational culture. Governance entails going beyond looking after business interests and stakeholders. It requires taking action by uphold and transmit business principles in an ethical manner to employees and wider society.

What are some examples of governance standards?
B-corporation status
Work against corruption in all forms, including extortion and bribery
Non-discriminatory employment policies
Protection from harassment and procedures for grievances
Commitment to UN Global Goals

2. Social Framework

A brand must meet high-quality standards based on, but not limited to, human and labour rights legislation and best practice guidelines. The company’s code of conduct will ensure its social framework is instilled throughout all tier one and two suppliers and/or subcontractors, along with external businesses and partners.  

What are some examples of social framework standards?
Human Rights Declaration
International Labour Organisation Core Conventions
The United Nations Framework for Human Rights and Guiding Principles
Business Social Compliance Initiative
Ethical Trading Initiative
Health and safety policies
Freedom of association and collective bargaining
No child or forced labour
Reasonable working hours and fair pay policies

3. Environmental Framework

Environmental practices are employed not only in the brand’s supply chain, but in the logistics of the business. This framework may include reduction of water usage and greenhouse gas emissions; protection of ecosystems, wildlife and animals; responsible manufacturing; considered material/ingredient sourcing.

What are some examples of environment framework standards?
Sourcing renewable energy
Water reduction policies
Recyclability of products, packaging and marketing materials
Minimising use of virgin materials
Sourcing from sustainably managed ecosystems, e.g. FSC certified
Alternatives to animal testing
Waste management systems
Avoiding use of chemicals and toxins

4. Philanthropy

A brand to trust demonstrates a philanthropic attitude that gives back to society. This may entail creating an alliance with a foundation or building their own.

What are some examples of how philanthropy is measured?
Percentage of profits given to charity
Supporting volunteering initiatives among employees
Investing in local communities

5. Innovation

A company uses innovation to drive the sustainability agenda forward towards maximum social impact and minimal environmental footprint. Innovation is integrated into design and service processes, such as exploration of inventive manufacturing methods or introduction of fresh business models.

What are some examples of innovation in business?
Product lifecycle management eg. Cradle to Cradle certification
Sharing economy business model
Manufacture on demand e.g. 3D-printing
Repair services provided

Let's get started. Take me to registration now >

Our Methodology

The screening process also takes into account certifications from the following relevant organisations — which adds to the robustness of our programme:

At Positive Luxury we have adopted the following definition of sustainability:

"Sustainable development is development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Harlem Brundtland,
United Nations World Commission
On Environment and Development