Panic Stations ?

(upcycled clothing - denim jacket / pinterest.com/ origin etsy.com)

So the big news for climate change was at the COP21 in Paris, where all the government officials and top organisations and companies gathered to discuss the world problem of global warming.

ITV News reported on it on the 10th November, Issues discussed were China's High pollution with so much manufacturing going on there, the skies have become grey and thick with smog, Beijing's pollution is sky high. Is this westerners fault for sending all our manufacturing over there to get cheaper prices to meet the demands of an ever demanding consumer.

Climate change predominately affects the poorer countries the most as the western world drain the resources to make themselves money (see Research / Film 'Home' ). For example Malawi is suffering badly from climate change, First came floods and now draught, 1 in 5 will need food aid, the people who contribute the least, suffer the most ( ITV News 10th November 2015 10pm ).

Also reported was Bill Gates and Richard Bransons ideas to use the wind up high and gas from the sun, currently Bill Gates is investing in battery companies to come up with alternative ideas for energy.

It was reported too that India want new, clean technology, 6years ago though all this was just a pipe dream.

On the ITV News on the 1st December, on the continuing COP21 talks, it was reported many americans don't believe in climate change, they dont think its real. two cotton farmers, both friends, differ in opinions on the matter, with one very concerned about climate change and the other refusing to believe it is happening.

But It Is Happening !

The amount of plastic waste and in particular the pollution of oceans by plastics is horrendous, there are numerous reports on the dreadful deaths of sea creatures like seals and dolphins due to plastic waste. According to McKinsey and Co in a recent report '....an estimated 8 million tons of plastic waste leaks into the ocean every year......it has reached crisis levels...'

(McKinsey & Co 'Saving the Ocean from Plastic Waste' report Nov 2015)

Both Nike and Adidas have brought out radical new trainers made from recycled Plastic and many other companies have began producing products from the recycled plastic too, it just needs the industry to stop dumping the plastic and recycle recycle.

What are the current issues in the Fashion sector.....

Ethical and fair trading, the process has started in addressing these issues, although Fair Trade has been around since 1992, set up by organisations like Oxfam and Christian Aid, it has expanded over the years and more companies are recognising the Fair trade initiative and adding the Fair Trade Licenced trademark to their labels. Fair Trade want to make sure that producers and workers across the globe, particularly in the poorer countries, get a fair price and / or a fair wage ( a living wage) for everything they make, farm and sell. Fair Trade concern themselves with the social wellbeing of people, that farmers and their lands are not exploited,( see Coco-Nuts in Appendices) they believe in gender equality, helping women in poorer countries to get better health care, educations and a job with a fair wage.

When anyone starts looking at sustainable materials and their source, it can be confusing, why organic cotton ? isnt it natural fibre, yes but production and farming of it all over the world is flawed (see Fabric's Carbon Footprint), synthetic fibres like Acrylic do pollute with toxins being released into the atmosphere during production, but then Acrylic is 100% recyclable, Wool and other natural animal fibres like goats and camels, are great alternatives to the polluting synthetics and unethical cottons, but again they use land for grazing, water for cleaning and often chemicals are used to treat and dye these fibres too. The British Wool Marketing Board believe that not only wool should be promoted more but in particular British wool which would benefit many people in farming in the UK and also the consumers choice of a piece of knitwear that lasts a lifetime.

Recently it was reported that shoppers should be wary of the leather goods they buy, as some are now being found to be made from dog, PETA, always investigating and exposing the cruel treatment of animals, like the Angora Rabbit scandal in 2013, where it was found that in China rabbits were being skinned alive for their precious fur, have now discovered again China that not only are dogs farmed for their meat but also for their skin to pass off in cheap leather goods.(http://investigations.peta.org/china-dog-leather/)

With the fast fashion industry constantly churning out new looks several times each season, the clothing often poor quality and cheap fabric to keep the prices down, more and more clothing gets wasted everyday, a majority of it ends up in landfills, 12% in fact, doesnt sound a lot but in fact in 1 year that would fill Wembley Stadium.

In fact not only is it the poor quality and everchanging trends that are responsible but poor garment care, even though companies spend money on washing tests and put the appropriate care labels in garments, people tend not to read these labels, sweaters and cottons that should not be washed high temperatures or tumbled dried, shrunk and unwearable, along with cross dying in mixed washes. Washing of clothes is a very important part of a garments lifecycle. 'Howies' produce jeans that are so ethically sound, they don't need washing.

Out there you will find tons of new companies upcycling and recycling clothing, producing perfectly wearable garments and they look good too. Charity shops are great for finding something almost new and unworn at a low price and often unique, no one else will be wearing it, and at the same the purchase is benefitting a particular vunerable group like Age Uk or Marie Curie Cancer.demonstrate a clear commitment to ethical trade;

There are now a lot of organisations out there setting out guidelines and policies for companies to adhere to, The ETI (ethical trading initiative) is collaboration of NGO's,Companies and Trade Unions to work towards the fair treatment of workers, they have a base code that all companies that sign up must adhere to:

  •  Integrate ethical trade into their core business practices;
  • drive year-on-year improvements to working conditions;
  • support suppliers to improve working conditions, for example through advice and training; and
  • report openly and accurately about their activities.(http://www.ethicaltrade.org/about-eti/what-companies-sign-up-to)

There are also Soil Associations certifications for protection against pesticides etc , Labour behind the Label, Made By, Social Compliance Organisation, WWF, with Governments now commiting to new legislations to combat everything from the climate change levy (an energy tax on businesses) introduced in 2001, to living wages.

There is hope, no need to panic, Just a need to educate the world and change the way Humans treat this preciuos planet.

 

 

 

 

 

Leather Issues

Celebrities get behind PETA's campaigns to highlight the Fashion industries shocking truth of animal cruelty and neglect of the workers health and welfare.....Go Leona !