As a consumer, it’s not easy to know about how your fashion items are produced and which impacts they have on the environment and people (especially on those producing the items).
Therefore, our impact is not only about how we create environmental and social values through the production and design of the products – but it’s also about contributing to increased environmental and social awareness (Visit Blog).
In the broader picture, we aim to excel in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly goal number 12, which calls to ensure responsible consumption and production patterns.
Problems – What we stand up against
Next to the oil industry, the fashion industry is considered the second largest polluter in the world (un.org). The fashion industry requires huge amounts of energy, water, chemicals, and raw materials to sustain its production. As cheap and disposable fashion items are getting both more popular and more available, products such as clothes and bags are becoming outdated quickly.
Besides, the low-paid factory workers are encountering occupational health hazards and life risks while being dependent on this unsustainable production system. Many of such items are being produced in an environment, where workers frequently encounter health and safety risks due to badly built manufacturing infrastructure (ehjournal.biomedcentral.com).
The discharge of wastes and chemicals to the environment from such manufacturing processes is creating huge stress on our global soil and water resources as well as contributing to global warming through the emission of greenhouse gases such as CO2.
The toxic wastewater from factories is being dumped into the water bodies such as rivers. This wastewater with toxic substances such as lead, mercury, arsenic, etc. poses risk to aquatic life and the health of millions of people living near the water bodies. At some stage, the polluted water reaches the sea, impacts water organisms, and finally circulates around the globe.
Another major water pollution source is fertilized cotton fields, which contaminate water through runoff. Also, cotton requires a lot of water to grow. The Water Footprint Network reported that 1 kg cotton production in India requires 22,500 liters of water, though the global average is 10,000 liter for a kg of cotton production.
The continuous degradation of soil resources, for example, due to the massive use of chemicals in the textiles and leather industry, presents a major threat to global food security. The environmental damage is increasing with the growth of the industry.
Annually as much as 2 billion barrels of oil go to the plastic bag industry which creates a massive carbon footprint and critical health hazards to both people and natural ecosystems. Then it takes from 400 to 1000 years for plastic bags to degrade (Bell & Cave, 2011). And the same can be said about bags served with chromium-tanned leathers. While chrome tanning is the most commonly used practice in the fashion industry, chromium salts risk becoming both carcinogenic and persistent in the environment.
It is also estimated that industrial livestock production contributes 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions. This is a higher percentage than all the gas-burning cars, trucks, ships, and planes in the transportation sector.
In short, we stand up against various environmental and social problems related to how the fashion industry looks today.
How we create value beyond ourselves
While we have a long way to go before reaching our vision, to set a new social and environmental standard in the fashion industry, we build our foundation of value creation beyond ourselves on the materials we use. While our plan is to increase the number of materials over time, we started with the following two so far: jute and leather.
Jute: Jute is the most sustainable plant fiber on the planet. It has the lowest carbon footprint among all fibers that we use in our daily life. A hectare of jute plant cultivation takes out 15 tons of carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere and also releases 11 tons of oxygen during its 100 days production cycle. Further, the production of jute requires very little to no fertilizer and minimal amounts of water.
Ecological cow leather: Our leather is tanned with natural oil obtained from different parts of plants including wood, barks, fruits, fruit pods, and leaves. It makes the leather favorable for both the environment and human health as it prevents chromium salts, used in the tanning process of 90% of all leather in the world (Forbes), that risk of becoming carcinogenic and persistent in the environment.
Furthermore, unlike synthetic/imitation leathers, ecologically-tanned leather is plastic-free.
Besides the leather is sourced from the crop-livestock circular system that can neutralize greenhouse gas emissions, and can contribute to lifting up the poor farming community, responsible for managing this kind of farming, in rural Africa and Asia. The support for crop-livestock sustainable farming can contribute to sustainable development goals no. 2 (zero hunger), 12 (responsible consumption), and 13 (climate action).
Currently, we are sourcing our products from compliance factories, which maintain standard wages and a good working environment for the workers. This is part of our commitment to creating a positive societal change as the welfare of the factory workers is an integrated part of our value creation.
Over time, as we continue toward our vision, we have several more initiatives to implement that not only create additional values beyond ourselves – but simultaneously products for you.
Regenerative design concept
Much damage has already happened to our natural environment through the cycle of unsustainable consumption and production. Thinking beyond sustainability, our regenerative design concept would help to restore soil and water resources from degraded conditions.
Given the many materials around the world that are beneficial for both the environment and people, but are not yet popular, we will diversify our materials portfolio to produce further value beyond ourselves.
Zero waste policy
Implemented in the production plan through converting wastage of materials into usable resources. For example, producing card wallets from waste leathers that are generated during the production of our leather bags.
Through continuous production improvement efforts, we are striving to reduce waste.
Water and energy
In addition to reducing water and energy consumption in the production process, we also aim to use recycled water and renewable sources for energy.
To make further necessary impact relevant to our vision, we aim to have our own production unit in the future.
Supporting projects that create value beyond themselves
By going beyond our own efforts to create value for the environment and people, we will support projects that create value beyond themselves in various ways that we can’t do directly through our operations, for example, by developing and sponsoring cooperation with socially committed projects and initiatives.