Principles Of Sustainability In Action: Sustainable Fashion
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Principles Of Sustainability In Action: Sustainable Fashion

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Summary: It is the age of eco-conscious customers. They want fashion brands to be accountable for people and the planet. Customers are increasingly demanding that fashion brands adhere to the principles of sustainability

Sustainability is complex

The voices of Greta Thunberg, members of COP27, and scientists talking about carbon emissions and their environmental impact have resonated with citizens of the world. Fashion, the second most polluting industry in the world, is invariably caught in the eye of the storm. Sustainability is not a mere trending word, it is an active movement now.

According to one report, 15% of global fashion consumers are purchasing with the intent of making a positive impact. So, what are the principles of sustainability?

The principles of sustainability are important guidelines for designing and managing systems to meet the needs of both present and future generations without compromising their ability to meet their own needs. In other words, sustainability is about creating sustainable practices that not only protect the environment but also improve the quality of life for everyone involved. These principles include fair wages, safe working conditions, environmental impact, carbon footprint, and waste management.

Whether you’re a small or a big business, principles of sustainability should not be ignored if you want to stay relevant. If you are not sure how to get started, we’re here to help you out. 

1. Intergenerational equity

Intergenerational equity

The fast fashion industry breaks a lot of rules. Water pollution, low wages, and the massive landfill problem in developing countries are some of the key issues the industry has to deal with.

The intergenerational principle recognizes that future generations have the same right to natural resources and a healthy environment as the current generation. For the fashion industry, it means judicious use of resources.

Brands can look at using chemical-free or botanical dyes. Both of these options help in tackling water pollution to a large extent.

2. Social justice

Social justice

The Rana Plaza fire brought forth the appalling working conditions of garment workers to the spotlight. The true cost of a low-priced T-shirt was at the cost of the workers' lives.

The social justice principle expects fair and equitable treatment of people including the vulnerable and the marginalized. Brands can partner with sustainable factories that provide safe working conditions, living wages, and a healthy work environment to thrive.

Several manufacturing hubs around the world comply with the labor laws of their respective countries. By complying with these laws, manufacturing hubs can attract and retain the best talent, which helps them keep up with the competition.

3. Strong communities 

Strong communities

History has proven time and again that communities form the backbone of society, cultural revolution, and change. Strong communities need to be recognized and given stewardship to ensure the responsible use of resources. 

The strong community principle emphasizes the importance of building strong, resilient communities that can withstand challenges and adapt to change. Brands can look at giving back to society through meaningful collaborations that uplift the workers' indigenous and environmental groups.

Some responsible brands like Patagoniapractice through strong community partnerships via Patagonia Action Works.

4. Responsible consumption and production 

Responsible consumption and production

At an individual level, responsible consumption is making a conscious choice of using a bamboo toothbrush or buying from a local farmers market.

The responsible production and consumption principle states that resources should be used in a way that meets the present needs of people without compromising future generations' ability to meet their own needs. This means taking care not to create unnecessary waste or overuse valuable resources like water or energy.

Brands should look at using renewable resources, designing for longer shelf life, and incorporating circular design in their products. Eileen Fisher has circular design as a practice to ensure each of their garments fulfills principles of sustainability.

5. Ecological integrity

Ecological integrity

Fashion is one of the most resource-intensive industries. It requires resources like water, cotton, plastic, chemical dyes, leather, fur, and much more to make its products. This high-resource usage causes a huge impact on the planet. The industry is also one of the reasons for higher greenhouse emissions.

The ecological integrity principle recognizes the importance of protecting and preserving the natural environment and the ecosystems that support life on Earth. Brands can create a positive change by partnering with environmental and conservation groups.

Brands can choose to use organic cotton, renewable raw materials, and eco-friendly packaging to reduce their carbon footprint.

Work in harmony

These principles of sustainability act as a guideline for old and upcoming brands to stay on the path of sustainability. Some brands like Patagonia, Eileen Fisher, and Stella McCartney have been quite successful in incorporating these principles to a large extent. However, some brands like Levi's, Nike, and H&M are also making their moves to incorporate sustainability. It is good for the brand to get relevant certifications to show its commitment toward adhering to the principles of sustainability.

Fashinza understands that brands cannot incorporate these principles overnight. It needs to be a gradual process beginning with the procurement of raw materials to finding a good production partner. our AI-based platform helps brands to connect and collaborate with sustainable partners.

Want to get started? Speak to the Fashinza expert now!

Key Takeaways

  • Customer spend is increasing steadily on sustainable products
  • Brands have to associate themselves with causes Gen Z identifies with
  • The fashion industry has to incorporate sustainability at many levels. Right from philosophy to end product, from fair wages to collaborating with communities, brands have to cover a lot of ground.

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