What Does Sustainability Mean in the Print on Demand Industry?

by Gooten Editorial Team on Jan. 11, 2024

Today’s consumers choose which products to buy based on more than just quality, variety, and price point. Increasingly, consumers prefer to do business with brands that align with their own sense of social ethics, particularly with regard to environmental sustainability.

This has big implications for print on demand sellers, for whom sustainability is more than just a buzzword. Promoting a more sustainable product line is not only ethical, but it may also help you bring in a wider range of customers.

But what does the concept of sustainability actually look like in the print on demand space? And what are some ways for sellers to demonstrate that their environmental responsibility is legitimate, not just a case of greenwashing?

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Sustainability and Certification

The answer largely comes down to certification. Simply put, there are a number of certifications that attest to a certain standard of sustainability. Earning these certifications allows you to demonstrate to your buyers that your print on demand products really do achieve a certain level of ecological stewardship.

Within the print on demand world, there are three types of certifications worth pursuing: Certifications at the product level, at the factory level, and at the company level.

Product-Level Certifications

First and foremost, your print on demand store can offer products that are certified to be made from organic or sustainably-sourced materials. A couple of the most notable product-level certifications include:


  • Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS)
  • USDA Organic
  • Global Recycle Standard
  • FSC Certification


By offering products with these certifications, you can give your customers peace of mind that they’re purchasing apparel or accessories made with earth-friendly materials.

Check out Gooten's Eco-Friendly Apparel!

Factory-Level Certifications

In addition to products and materials, print on demand companies can also do business with factories that meet certain ethical and environmental standards.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is probably the most prestigious factory-level certification, attesting to a high level of commitment to green building design, construction, maintenance, and operation.

Company-Level Certifications

Companies can also apply for B Corporation (or B Corp) status. This is part of a global initiative asking business entities to comply with certain standards of ethics and integrity, including high standards of environmental responsibility. 

B Corp is well-regarded all over the world, and will signify to your buyers that you’re making every effort to align your print on demand business with a broader commitment to sustainability.

Print on Demand is Well-Suited for Environmental Sustainability

The print on demand industry is actually uniquely positioned to promote sustainability. That’s partly because making products to order helps eliminate waste, and it’s also because so much of print on demand manufacturing can be local and small-scale. Compared with other forms of manufacturing, print on demand boasts asmaller environmental footprint with less inventory waste and a smaller transport & logistics carbon footprint. 

Even so, going the extra mile to obtain certifications, or to work with partners who are properly accredited, is an important way to convey your environmental bona fides to your consumer base. With any questions about how to promote sustainability with your print on demand business, contact the Gooten team directly.

Here are some of Gooten's eco-friendly print on demand products.

Connect with Gooten

The Gooten team is happy to offer all three options to our print on demand partners, and we’re pleased to provide insight into the hoodies best-suited to your custom apparel needs. Reach out to us with any questions you may have about our custom hoodie selection.

Do you run an online store selling hoodies? Are you looking for a reliable print-on-demand provider? Contact us today to get the ball rolling.