15 February 2011

Sustainable Clothing Article in Choice Magazine

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There is a great article in this month's Choice about sustainable clothing. Some really interesting points I thought were

- The greatest consumption of energy and water in a garment's life actually occurs in product-care, not production: use cold water and biodegradable detergent and line-dry your clothing
- Eco-fibres and apparel can be beneficial to the environment in some part of their life cycle, but not across their entire life cycle
- Manufacturers need to provide clear and credible information so consumers can make informed choices.

Choice highlighted a lack of immediate and credible information available on labelling to assist consumers in their search for environmentally preferable products. This is an interesting point because even terms such as "certified" does not mean a product has been certified by government, industry or mandatory standards, it can mean that it has been certified against voluntary standards, too. Plus there is the ever-confusing and growing number of labels to certify products as green, and a growing number of brands who write "eco" and "green" on their labels without any proof that their product is in any way environmentally friendly.

Some reliable labels to go by are:

Eco-Textile Standards:
- Oeko-Tex

Ethical Textile Standards:
- Ethical Clothing Australia
- Fairtrade Labelling Association

Organic Textile Standards:
- Global Organic Textile Standard

I ironically find it easier to run my own business "green", because I can choose suppliers according to their credentials. It's somewhat harder as a consumer when you are bombarded with confusing labels and green claims. I would really love it if all brands had to clearly state where they produce their items and who produces them in what conditions. I think we're a long way away from that though!


the textured leaf said...

Great post. So informative and surprising, cheers

Frankie and Ray said...

Too true! And even though I'm using mostly organic and recycled fabrics in my range, my customers do have to trust me because I have no label to prove that!