I have been getting some questions about the ecological footprint of my e-commerce activities. I am happy to share how we are working towards an even more sustainable brand.
People are aware of the industry’s problems and they want to do better, demanding that companies follow along. Although the call for a more sustainable fashion might come from customers, the fashion industry has been quick to realize it also has to comply with what people are asking for. And simply using marketing buzzwords to appease an eco-conscious audience doesn’t cut it.
But first: what is sustainable fashion?
Sustainable fashion doesn’t just champion changes that are good for the environment. It also aims to address the social issues that concern the workers of the industry, such as low wages and poor working conditions.
Why is it important to work towards sustainable fashion?
In order to understand why working together towards sustainable fashion is necessary, it’s important to be aware of the main issues in the world of fashion.
The worldwide revenue of the fashion market is predicted to rise from $481.2 billion in 2018 to $712.9 billion in 2022. That’s good news for shop owners, but it could become a worrying statistic for the environment and, by extension, all of us.
The main problem to tackle is the pollution created by producing and selling apparel. To understand the extent of the issue, let’s look at the product life cycle for one of the fashion industry’s favorites: the white cotton t-shirt.
The drawbacks of fashion industry’s favorite source: cotton
Cotton apparel is comfortable, durable, and breathable. Cotton is also relatively cheap to grow and harvest. So it comes as no surprise that it’s the most widespread non-food crop in the world. Unfortunately, it has some drawbacks.
Cotton farmers use pesticides, insecticides, and fertilizers. These mix with the water and drain into soil, affecting the biodiversity of the land and limiting fresh drinking water.
- Water consumption
Growing enough cotton for a single t-shirt takes up to 731 gallons of water (that’s enough for one person to drink for 3.5 years). In comparison, producing enough polyester for a t-shirt requires 4 gallons of water.
- chemical use during production
After cotton is harvested, it’s sent to a textile mill where it’s manufactured into a rough gray fabric. The fabric is then bleached, dyed, and treated with chemicals to achieve the desired look—a soft, white roll of fabric that’s sent to a sewing facility and turned into t-shirts. All these production steps can lead to environmental damage because of the chemicals and water they require.
- waste as result of overproduction
Finally, the t-shirts arrive at your favorite retail store. You buy one and wear it. But what happens to the rest of the t-shirts you saw on the rack? The ones that don’t get sold often end up in landfills or get burned, resulting in more emissions and pollution.
So what are we doing to change these things around?
- Avoid overproduction
When you find a product on carolinevrauwdeunt.com – the order is only fulfilled upon you finalizing the order. The product is created and printed on your request. This is called Print-on-demand (POD).
Printing on demand avoids overproduction—excess items that don’t get sold and have to be thrown out or burned, which several retail giants do. With 92 million tons of textile going to waste in the fashion industry each year, a business model like this is a game-changer. POD services might actually just be one of the keys to an environmentally friendly fashion industry.
- Damaged items & returns are donated to charity
Returned items are donated to local charities and damaged apparel is offered to animal shelters who can use them for their needs.
- We are conscious about the products we print on and where we source them.
We make sure we use products that yield high-quality print results. On top of that we continuously add sustainable suppliers that can guarantee long term delivery of sustainable products. That means suppliers that use solar energy, limit water use, and recycle waste by-products to make sure their products can sport the eco-friendly tag.
- Our suppliers only stock to fulfil their high demand items
Ordering stock only when we need it goes hand in hand with the idea that products only get printed when an order is placed.
- Our supplier’s print process is as eco-friendly as possible
With their state-of-the-art printing equipment our suppliers will continue to invest in the newest technologies from companies who care about sustainable fashion. For example – the inks they use for printing are water-based and free of harmful chemicals.
- Shipping routes as short as possibly
With several production facilities in Europe, the United States and Mexico we can ship products faster and cut the shipping distances, which results in less air and water pollution.
- Limiting the use of plastic
We’ve limited the use of plastic in our packaging, and our supply team is looking into limiting it even more and researching alternatives.
What comes next
We could always do better – but I just wanted to let you in on the steps that are being taken to work towards becoming an even more sustainable brand. And I am excited to share this journey with you!
If you still have questions check our Frequently Asked Questions or drop us a note.