ecological issuesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : CC050 workbook 2 : One Thread
Fashion, clothing and textiles - combined they are one of the largest industries in the world and as such do some of the greatest amounts of damage to the environment. The companies that you have looked at all address in a greater context ecological issues and social issues that fashion can be related to.
-- Anonymous, September 03, 1999
Who are these people kidding...These people are fooling themselves. Leading people to believe they are "environmentally friendly" companies by using the title ecological. By definition (Maquarie dictionary) Ecology is the branch of biology which treats the relations between organisms and thier environment, or the branch of sociology concerned with the spacing of people and of institutions and their resulting interdependence.
In this sense, yes as humans we do interact with the environment by creating and making fashion, textiles, homewares and clothing but in this sense everything we do is ecological (even mining and woodchipping). I think the second definition is more apt for the way these companies operate. That is they study the spacing of people in conjuction to their closest point of sale and their resulting interdependence.
It seems the catch cry of companies in the 90's "We aim to be a good corporate citizen" Call me cynical but no-one would be a good corporate citizen if it came at the cost of profit.
If ERA, North Ltd on any industry other than textiles made a statement such as "We believe in ecology but believe in making a profit"(ecodeco site) they would be crucified. As consumers we are quite prepared to buy into these so called "green products" as we feel we are doing the right thing. By buying "green" we are easing our guilt. Consumerism and fashion telll us we need more, we need the latest and newest styles and homewares when those we have a perfectly sound. We are encouraged to use more resources than necessary. Is this encouragement the result of companies being good corporate citizens.
Growing up on a farm in central victoria and an avid 'Landline' viewer. (This is a agriculture based TV show which has lengthy sections on ecological sustainable development and environmental impact of farming methods) Cotton is continually discussed on Landline. Cotton is very suceptible to attack from insects, fungi and disease. Especially in countries such as Australia. Consequently Cotton need large volumes of chemicals in order for farmers to produce enough quality cotton to make a profit. Cotton is one of the most unsustainable crops to grow. It has long been recognised in the farming community that these chemicals cost many locals thier health. Farmers are pushing for research and solutions to this problem. While genetical modified cotton crops are available which are more robust they consume vase amounts of water, hardly an environmentally or ecologically sustainable solution. Consequently I was surprised that these sites all promoted the use of organic cotton. Tomatoes and other vegetables all need elements such as urea, copper, and nitrate to grow. Did you know crops that have these chemicals added can still be called organic as these are naturally occuring chemicals. Makes you wonder what chemical these so called organic cottons have used to be produced.
The green pages store made me even more repulsed. Some of their goods are produced in African physically impaired workshops. I ask are these people being paid fairly for the work they do?
What about the Co-Ops in South America sure they are being paid more than they would usually earn but is this a fair percentage of the price of the finished product. What social effect does this increase in income for these isolated villages have? Could this lead to new social hierachies and increased poverty or perhaps increased access to alcohol or other drugs that their society is not used to?
The body shop is another great example of a company trying to have a social conscience. Just because they say they don't test their products on animals doesn't mean the ingredients haven't been tested on animals before producing the final product.
I am not saying don't look for green products but honestly don't be sucked in by the marketing which goes with it.
-- Anonymous, September 05, 1999
Belinda, I just want to comment on your definition of ecology. Having looked up ecology in Encarta Online, they comment on the fact that ecology is generally confused with environmental science. And go on to say that "Although the field is a distinct scientific discipline, ecology does indeed contribute to the study and understanding of environmental problems". This can be found at http://encarta.msn.com/encarta/Article.asp?z=2&br=0&mod=1&pg=6&ti=062A 8000 And this is what I think these web sites are concentrating on.
Although I tend to agree with you on a number of things you say, I don't believe that these organisations should be entirely canned for their efforts. OK - they may be using it as a concept to lure in business, but at least they are attempting to address ecological issues.
I don't know if I entirely agree with your comment that "no-one would be a good corporate citizen if it came at the cost of profit". You are probably right in most cases, but this is not always the case. Take Ecodeco for instance, they are taking steps to make fashion accessories with recycled and organic materials. They have admitted that the costs are higher, specifically with growing and harvesting organic cotton. But at the end of the day they believe it is the right thing to do in an attempt to combat ecological issues. Although the higher costs are an issue, it is not standing in their way.
Where you say that it "makes you wonder what chemicals these so called organic cottons have used to be produced", if you read the "Organic Cotton" section on the Ecodeco site, it describes the process of producing organic cotton. Specifically, "conventional cotton is treated with inumerable chemicals.With organic cotton all of these are avoided and new solutions are implemented".
The society as a whole has a long way to go in addressing ecological issues. The fashion, clothing and textile industry is doing it's bit, and who are we to criticise these organisations for making an effort? What are the rest of us doing about it?
-- Anonymous, September 09, 1999
After reading your response I went in search for more material. I found a much more balanced and less money driven site which I believ gives a slighly more balanced view of cotton growing. (http://www.sustainablecotton.org/)
You will notice that there are two ways to grow Organic cotton (IPM Integrated Pest Management) which still uses pesticides and herbicides and Organic. The findings of these studies are interesting.And are definately worth a look.
-- Anonymous, September 12, 1999
When referring to the concerted efforts of those in the textile industry trying to be ecologically inclined, we are referring here to their attempts to develop a sustainable environment. Consequently, I tend to agree with Daniela Razzi's comment that the companies found on the web sites provided are in fact "attempting to contribute to the study and understanding of environmental problems". As defined by the Green Pages Store web site, sustainability is a "concept that everyone has the opportunity to help shape as we build a healthy future." This web site further defines sustainability as "an attempt to merge ecology and economy into one system...it means renewing resources at a rate equal to or greater than the rate at which they are consumed."
The company Ecodeco is just one example of a company focusing its efforts on the notion of sustainability. For example, they make jewelry from recycled sterling silver and sustainably harvested rain forest seeds. On the economic front, Ecodeco, through their rain forest preservation projects, have aimed to enhance communities in which they operate by providing education assistance and employment opportunities. In this respect, I believe that Ecodeco is contributing to our environment's sustainability.
Focusing on the comments made by Belinda Chiswell about Ecodeco believing in ecology, but also believing in making a profit, I tend to believe that there are different views and interpretations regarding this statement. Realistically, companies cannot go on operating with a view to making a constant loss. There must be some view to profit in order to sustain its future operations as a going concern. As expressed by Mills, storeowner of the Hemp Connection, "despite a financially rough start, the Hemp Connection is going strong today." (Hemp Times Magazine web site). We must understand that "making a profit" doesn't in all cases mean that the companies are going to engage in cheaper unethical environmental practice. The goods sold by Hemp Connection are made from hemp, being a natural fibre, which originates from a durable plant that doesn't require pesticides. Ecodeco uses recycled materials and forest seeds. So in order to ensure that such outlets continue to exist in the future, they chose to simply raise their prices in order to cover all the extra costs involved in ensuring that they as an entity in society contribute to renewing the environment's resources.
-- Anonymous, September 12, 1999
I wholeheartedly agree with you Belinda. What a facie, companies like these resorting to marketing ploys to entice people in to believing they are environmentally friendly and that they believe in ecology. They believe in ecology for one reason and one reason only because it makes a profit!
I also saw the statement made by Ecodeco we believe in ecology but we believe in making a profit. This is appalling. These are not the words of a company that cares about the environment, they are the words of yet another company that wants to exploit the environment and some innocent people to make a quick buck.
Sustainability too used some interesting words, sustainability is an attempt to merge ecology and economy in to the one system. This too has hints of money making rather than environmental concerns.
Nor am I convinced that these companies are addressing ecological issues such as the growing of organic cotton. Daniela, youre correct in saying the organic cotton section at Ecodeco describes the process of producing organic cotton. But werent you just a little suspicious when they stated that with organic cotton all of these are avoided and new solutions are implemented, but they didnt go on to specify what these new solutions were. And how much of the recycling process of plastics or any other material for that matter is causing pollution throughout the world.
I also believe these companies are taking advantage of third world countries and their people. Both Ecodeco and Sustainability tout they are promoting fair trade and paying these people fair wages for the work they are doing. But as Belinda pointed out, how much is this compared to the price that the product is being sold for? How much of a mark-up have these companies added for their own benefit, which the people providing the goods will never see? Having been in shops that sell these type of products, I am always amazed and dismayed at the price of these goods, and would be a fool to think that the person/s who made these articles would receive anywhere near the amount they were sold for. What is fair trade and what are fair wages?
Im not denying that there are environmentally concerned companies and people out there all doing their little bit to help and encourage more and more people to start taking care of the our world. We humans have ravaged and taken the world for granted long enough. An arrogant lot we are. But lets not deceive ourselves by insisting we are helping the environment when really were just out to make money, because the fact is that the almighty dollar has a strong hold on many people in the world today.
-- Anonymous, September 12, 1999
Well this is certainly as issue that has sparked some debate. It's interesting to see how some people can look at one topic and others can see it totally turned around. The fact is that companies that produce a product on a large scale also produce waste and pollution on a large scale and this is one of the most basic concepts of the production industry. Ecodeco is one company that has put out a web site to say that they are having a go at reducing their destruction to our world. Although a lot of this may be seen as just trying to get consumers on their side, they are actually having a go. Everyone knows that people in industry produce a poroduct in the aim to make money. They don't do it just out of the goodness of their own hearts, so it goes to say that they are out to make a considerable dollar. I believe that Ecodeco is one of these companies. I too read the comment "We believe in ecology but we believe in making a profit" and i think that they are being quite honest when they say this. I know that it sounds like a contradictory statement, but when we look at all of these other companies who claim that they are environmentally friendly, when have you ever heard a truthful statement like this. I believe that this company has actually gone out on quite a limb when they have said this comment, but i also believe that they are a company that i would believe before others due to their truthful comment The fact of the matter is that this company is having a go. What are we doing? We are continuing to purchase clothes from a broard spectrum of companies that give no thought for the environment or ecology, but we continue to buy their clothes because we like them or they are cool. And what are what are we doing for the environment? We have started to recycle, we are reusing materials and we should be supporting these companies who are saying that they are at least achknowledge that there is an environment out of their factories and who are trying to do something about it. Using low compact dyes, recycling plastic bottles and reusing silver from x-ray machines won't automatically make the world a safe haven, but it is a start. Belinda and Thea seem so quick to jump on this company and others like it but they are having a go and if others join in they will continue to try and make an effort. Yes, "The almighty dollar has the strong hold on many people in the world today", but we have to remember that there are many others doing nothing and getting away with it.
-- Anonymous, September 12, 1999
I tend to agree with Sarah Ann Robert's comment that at least Ecodeco is having a go at attempting to contribute to the safe-keeping of our environment, unlike the public at large who contines to purchase clothing from companies who do not factor in environmental concerns. So I guess my next question is why aren't the public at large opting to purchase clothing made via environmentally sustaining practices. Is it that the public isn't adequately informed of these outlets? Why doesn't the Green Pages Store web site advertise its ecology- smart retail stores via television commercials? They should try to introduce the product as a new fashionable and consumer-wise product. It should become part of our lifestyle. The California Organic Cotton Company located on Venice Beach emphasizes this point in the Hemp Directory web site. As commented by storeowner, Howard Gabe, "We're catering to a relaxed customer who's going for shorts." On the otherhand, Gabe's second store is located on a more upscale walkway and consequently, here, the "goods are geared toward a higer- end clientele who can afford the expensive side of the hemp-scale."
So perhaps the main reason why the general public isn't buying these goods is because they don't know they exist. Consequently, I believe there should be more advertising regarding these products via the television and the latest fashion magazines. Secondly, we need to inform the public of why they should be purchasing such products. The best way this can be achieved is by advertising the environmental damage dilemma. Likewise, it is also very important that the sales people promote the advantages of such purchases. As expressed by Howard Gabe, "If a customer can talk to an educated salesperson, if they learn something they'll come back and bring their family and friends." Likewise, storeowner Cameron Brown "credits the excitement created through opening people's eyes to a less harmful way of living."
-- Anonymous, September 14, 1999
I strongly agree with most of what Pina and Sarah have to say on the topic.
Belinda, I took your advice and visited the web site (www.sustainablecotton.org/) and found it quite interesting. I recommend it to all others to check this site out as it provides interesting reading on this topic, with more in depth analysis of organic cotton growing.
I would like to address some issues raised by Thea which I do not totally agree with.
Thea, Id like to comment on your statement that They believe in ecology for one reason and one reason only because it makes a profit!. Even if this were the case, I dont see the problem with that. I mean, yes, they are looking at different ways of attracting clients and business, but whats the harm? They are achieving this by taking into consideration the welfare of the environment. Can you really condemn these businesses for striving to win business through a better means? And also dont forget that it is coming at an increased cost to them.
In the case of Ecodeco, they are striving to make profits, but they are also injecting these profits back into addressing ecological issues through rainforest preservation etc.
In addition, how can you possibly claim that the people at Ecodeco are exploiting the environment to make a quick buck? Correct me if I am wrong, but isnt it also for the good of the environment?
Thea, when you asked whether I was suspicious when Ecodeco stated that with organic cotton all these are avoided and new solutions are implemented, well if you just read the paragraph directly below it, they actually list alternatives to conventional chemically based treatments. They state the use of citrus-based washes instead of caustic cleaning agents, the use of mechanical instead of chemical pre-shrinking tecnology and the use of vegetable based finishes instead of ones containing formaldehyde.
-- Anonymous, September 18, 1999
What is the harm in companies making a profit from selling 'green' products? The harm is companies consciously using false or misleading marketing ploys to sell 'green' products. Some may remember the issues related to the 'Made in Australia' marketing campaign of this decade. Many companies took advantage of this concept, simply to make a profit. Companies sold products labelled 'made in Australia' but under further investigation it was found that the products were not 'made in Australia'. Companies interpretation of 'made in Australia' had become somewhat distorted. For example, in one case all the components of a product were imported, yet assembled in Australia, and this was (incorrectly) labelled 'made in Australia'. The reverse was also true, where all the components of a product were sourced from within Australia but then sent offshore to undergo manufacturing. The final product, once completed was returned to Australia to be sold under the banner of 'made in Australia'. 'Made in Australia' means components of a product are sourced and manufactured within Australia. Many companies were exposed for misleading the public in this regard and consequently legislation now defines what is 'made in Australia'. What is the harm? The harm is innocent consumers buying products because they believe they are ecological and yet under further investigation it is found that only a small percentage of the total product is in fact ecological. Would you object to companies making a profit out of selling a product that wasn't ecological or sustainable?
Yes I do 'condemn these businesses for striving to win business through a better means'. But this is where I think the issue needs clarification. These businesses are using marketing to attract business. The means by which they are achieving this is not 'better' or worse it is simply marketing. Sure there is increased cost to them, but they are passing that increased cost on to the consumer by way of a more expensive product.
Also, yes Ecodeco may be addressing the issue of processing organic cotton, but I refer to the issue of growing organic cotton. Belinda has found further evidence that pesticides and herbicides are still being used for these so-called 'organic' crops and it is a well-known fact that the uses of genetically modified cotton crops use vast amounts of water, many times more than the unmodified types.
Finally, I would suggest the reading of a paper by John E. Ikerd from the University of Missouri, titled 'Toward an Economics of Sustainability' at http://www.ssu.missouri.edu/faculty/jikerd/papers/econ-sus.htm. This paper discusses the topic at length. I provide an extract here as food for thought:
"Producers and consumers have become disconnected, geographically and conceptually, as a consequence of specialization, mechanization, and development of complex systems of mass production and distribution. Consumers no longer have any personal knowledge of where their products come from or of who is involved in their production. They must rely on a complex set of standards, rules, and regulations to ensure that performance of a good or service will be consistent with some minimum expectations formed at the time of purchase. Today's advertising consists of "disinformation" by design. Most people involved in current production processes, including dispassionate stockholders, have little individual control over the ability of final products to meet consumers' expectations nor are they committed to the long term success of the economic enterprises in which they invest. They expect to shift their investments and employment with shifts in a company's ability to generate profits and growth."
-- Anonymous, September 18, 1999
Well, It's been a while since I was last contributed to this group and was quite surprised the debate my comments made. I was pleased with this reaction as there are some quite polarised views expressed. I always enjoy a good debate.
Generally we all agree, a company must make a profit to suceed. However, they way in which they market a product and they way in which was produced may be quite different.
We seem to be trying to understand the companies objective and defend their position. Perhaps we should be examining our motivation for purchasing. Sarah is right we continue to purchase because we like them or look cool. Given the amount of waste we already produce this is disgusting but human nature. Recycling is a valid choice, but now we have the technology to produce long lasting stain resistant fabrics. Why don't we just produce a set of clothes that will never wear out and require little maintenance. We could all look cool. And all this waste would be avoided. Not a very good solution as we all need to feel we have some individuality. The need for someone to retain individuality but be able to blend into a group (safety in numbers) is a survival mechanis and arguably the biggest driver of the fashion industry.
We also all seem to agree that buying green is preferred over buying unsustainable goods. Thea and I seem to have some skepticism of the marketing which convince us only to find out later we were misinformed. Extending Thea's observation of the legislation of the made in australia campaign. Perhaps we need a green product campaign. For this to work we must have a definition of what is sustainable or green. Reduced, reused, recycled, reclaimed, reinvented...
From this discussion it is clear we all have differing opinions on what is sustainable/green: I have a question for everyone. Is this an example of a sutainable industry. Emu's are native Australian animals, the have evolved to survive native insects and predators, they are disease resitant. Therefore chemicals suchs as drench and antibiotics are not required. Furthermore Emus do not have a solid foot such as horses,goats, cows or sheep so the resultant erosion in a dry continent is minimal. The food they naturally eat is of low quality so survive and prosper on lower quality pasture (ie fertilisers are avoided). They amount of water consumed in comparison to traditional farm animals is low. The majority of the animal can be used: Feathers, leather, oil (in cosmetics)and meat. I ask is this a more sustainable fashion material than wool, cotton or cow hide.
-- Anonymous, September 21, 1999
Travelling through the Green Pages Store I too was wondering why these products are not more readily available. If these products are as good as the produces say they are then why isn't there mass advertising of these products. I think its because a lot of people are not ready for it yet. Yes we have the cosmetics that are not tested on animals and hemp which is an environmentally friendly product, but nothing big is really taken off in environmentally friendly products. I really don't know and would like some feed back if anyone has any ideas about it. Maybe the producers just don't think we are ready for mass slogans, but i think we are. By producing large advertising slogans we would endever to become a more environmentally friendly country and i think we really need this. What would be the harm in going out and having like Belinda sadi a "Green Product Campaign." I thinks its a great idea. We should try and makes these products just as popular as Levis or Nike afterall Red Earth are doing really well in the cosmetics sector but we need to introduce something environmentally friendly into fashion, something that people can get really excited about. The Green pages teels us that there products must have "a social and environmental impact of the product." An advertising slogan that talked about the "social" and "environmental" impact of the product may introduce a product which would be both safe to the environment and fashionable to wear. If the majority of people began to wearthese clothes it would surely urge Australia in the right direction. In response to Belinda's question. I think the emu would be a more sustainable fashion material than wool, cotton or cow hide in the respect that they don't do us much damage to the environemt and are resistant to bugs, however the cost of buying or importing these animals is enourmous and may deter companies considerably. Its something to think about though.
-- Anonymous, September 22, 1999
Emus are not expensive to buy in fact they breed so well farmers are letting them out because the return on thier investment is not enough to cover cost. As for Importing Sarah, these are native australian animals we already have them here. They are an excellent industry australia could set up as an export business and earn valuable income for australia with little dammage to our natural resources. The problem is emu products aren't fashionable, so there is no demmand. Low demmand means low price. Low price means low return, low return means the animals are destroyed or let out. At least letting out 1000 emu is less dammaging to the environment than letting out 1000 goats or sheep.
Animal produsts in terms of textiles are ideal as they are renewable. Sythetic fabrics which use petrochemicals are not. To produce sythetic fabrics vast amout of energy and chemicals are consumed with pollution produced. Animal products can be minimally treated albeit with less glamourous results and still provide warmth and protection. But which is more socially acceptable an animal product or a polluting synthetic product.
-- Anonymous, September 23, 1999
Sarah, I agree with your statement that we should be supporting these companies who are saying that they at least acknowledge that there is an environment. In doing so, we encourage these organisations to continue looking after the welfare of the environment. Without our support and encouragement they may decide not continue with their efforts. By purchasing their products we are telling them that we too are concerned with the welfare of the environment and are doing our bit by purchasing these products. If we, the consumers do not purchase these products and show support, how can these organisations continue to strive for a better environment?
I also agree with you when you state that Belinda and Thea are quick to jump on Ecodeco. At least we are giving them the benefit of the doubt Belinda and Thea, you are both crucifying this company without knowing with certainty whether they in fact are or are not adhering to what they are proclaiming with regards to ecological issues.
Thea, in response to your statements.
Where you say that the harm is companies consciously using false or misleading marketing ploys to sell green products. In the case of Ecodeco this is not the case. They actually provide quite an indepth disclosure of their ecologically sound techniques. In answer to your question as to whether I would object to companies making a profit out of selling a product that wasnt ecological or sustainable? My answer to this is no, I would not object. Why? Because although their products may not be 100% ecologically sound, it appears that they are attempting to make inroads, but rely on our support to continue to do so. Those that claim to use ecologically sound techniques, do so to varying degrees. Unfortunately, environmentally friendly concepts are still quite new in the fashion and textile industry, and will therefore take a very long time to implement ecologically sound techniques on a larger scale.
Where you refer to Belindas evidence that pesticides and herbicides are still being used, I acknowledge that procedure, but she does refers to two methods of growing organic cotton the IPM (which uses these chemicals) and the organic method (which I presume doesnt).
Thea, I found that excerpt from Toward an Economics of Sustainability quite interesting. In particular Consumers no longer have any personal knowledge of where their products come from or of who is involved in their production. I do not agree with this statement. You just have to surf through the various web sites to realise that this is not entirely true. These web sites provide a lot of information as to the materials used, where the materials have come from, where the labour comes from (ie. fair trade), details of the companies behind the products and so on.
In conclusion, I'd like to say that it seems quite obvious to me that many organisations (including Co-op America, Ecodeco etc) are out there trying to do their bit with regards to ecological issues, albeit to varying degrees. As I stated earlier, the fashion and textiles industry has a long way to go in implementing ecologically sound techniques, but at least there is a huge effort being made, as shown throughout the web sites. But I believe that successful implementation requires amongst other things, consumer support.
-- Anonymous, September 26, 1999
In response to Sarah's comment that "nothing big has really taken off in environmentally friendly products", I think that the reason for this is because there are little companies out there equipped enough to be producing such products. Currently, the number of companies producing goods in an environmentally conscious way forms only a minority of the numerous manufacturing entities. Consequently, the only way such a minority is going to get recognized is if strong advertising campaigns take place- however, the problem here is that such entities do not have enough financial backing to be able to sustain such advertising.
Therefore, in an attempt to encourage eco-friendly production processes, I believe the government should step in and provide subsidies to all manufacturing entities. These subsidies should go towards improving manufacturing processes in all entities and to launching the "Green Product Campaign" as proposed by Belinda & Sarah.
Ultimately, this would lead to an environmentally aware society and thus eco-friendly goods will become the "in-thing". Eventually, the public will be demanding these goods and the manufacturers and storeowners will have no choice but to satisfy society's needs.
-- Anonymous, September 26, 1999
A good debate is often ruined by emotive reactions as soon as fluffy little animals or rainforests are involved.
Lets be bruttaly honest.None of us can prove eco-deco is an environmentally dammaging copmpany, nor can any of us prove that it is an ecological company. Opinion should not be based on the way a company wishes to portray itself to the public but also informed independent views. These views are difficult to find. I agree who heartedly with you Daniela and Sarah we should be supporting companies which at least are making an effort but I still don't think that harvesting native rainforest seed to make Jewelery (an item which has no other use but adornment and status for which alternative ecological products can be found) is environmentally friendly. It just reduce the chances of propogation in a delicately balanced eco- system. As for the use of african physically impaired in a workshop. I just hope they are being paid a fair percentage of the exorbaniant prices the finished items are being sold for. It is the exploitation of developing countries by developed countries that cause social and ecological dammage. Look at the woodchipping industry in Indonesia and South America.
As I have said numerous times. The problem with many so called Organic crops is that the majority have been gentically modified (GM). This genetic modification in cotton in particular increases water consumption. This is environmentally dammaging. GM rice has the same problem and has caused large problems in developing countries where there is not enough clean water to drink let alone pour on rice.
Daniela. I think you have missed the point that Thea and I are trying to make. Be discerning. Just because a company tells you something doesn't mean it is true you need independent views. MacDonalds Thats what advertising is about selectively show a product in a good light. Look at the body shop example in my first entry. A company choses what they want to tell a consumer. The issue is not what we choose to consumer rather why we are choosing to consume. We should be choosing to reduce consumption.
-- Anonymous, September 26, 1999
I agree with Sarah that we should not be so quick to criticize companies who are at least making an effort to address ecological issues, unlike many other companies. I beleive it is OK for Ecodeco to sell their ecological stance just to make a profit because at least they are making an effort. Alright we must accept that their products are going to be a bit more expensive but this is due to the cost of their research.
The fashion and textile industries are to blame for a lot of unneeded waste produced. The companies advertise constantly the new looks of the season, and you are not cool unless you own some of these. This makes us unhappy with the perfectly good clothes that we already own, and we go out and buy some more. At least if we buy clothes from companies who care about the environment and are taking measures to reduce their harmful effect we are also caring for the environment. I must admit though, that before looking through the Green Pages Store web site I did not realise that these goods existed. I agree with Pina De Lorenzo that these products should be advertised in magazines and television more, otherwise how are the public going to know that they exist, and that they can do something to help the environment.
To help reduce the amount of waste that we produce everyone needs to make a more concerted effort towards recycling. The big companies also need to be more willing to use recycled products, even if they do cost a bit more, because we dont want to see our beautiful earth end up as a rubbish dump. We need to be supportive of companies like Ecodeco, because we need more like these if we are ever going to reduce our waste, and the damaging effects caused by producing a product.
-- Anonymous, September 27, 1999
The manufacture of textiles on the scale that is required today, that is to be economically viable, is a pretty dirty process. One of the most basic fabrics we use is leather and it is absolutely clear that this has had devastating effects on the environment since day one. The problem is that in the modern world we haven't got time to weave our own individual garments which use wool from our own sheep. We don't like the idea of wearing, let alone manufacturing, these types of outfits - and these are the only sort that are truly environmentally friendly. The idea that someone can market garments (I'll stick to clothes) using an environmentally friendly theme is a good one. In this modern society we all love the idea that we should do something for the environmnent that we have ravaged over the last century in particular. But seldom does anyone want this to impinge on the lifestyle we have. It takes a very dedicated hippy to actually go to the lengths of living the sort of life that impacts the least on the environment. This is a society that has good intentions but little application. The garments that are being marketed as being entirely environmentally friendly are a really good idea - for those who are selling it. i doubt sincerely that the sort of organisation that would go to the trouble to ensure that every step of the garment manufacturing process is environmentally sound has time to waste on clothes when there are many more problems which impact the environment directly. By selling these products on the pretence that it's good for the environment will earn a lot of money from people who think that wearing vegan doc martins is actually meaningful. I'm sure that the only requirement for a company to call themselves "ecologically sound" is to put the product in a recycled paper bag instead of a krill-look-a-like-whale-killing plastic bag.
-- Anonymous, September 29, 1999
I don't quite agree with Cathal that "the only requirement for a company to call themselves ecolog- ically sound is to put the product in a recycled paper bag". In the Green Pages Store they state that "every supplier is screened by Co-op America, a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a socially just and environmentally sustainable society." They also state that the businesses on their site are "Green businesses promoting fair trade and fair labor standards, advancing renewable energy, producing recycled products and rebuilding economically depressed communities." I mean this is all fine, but Thea Crookes brought up a good example of how the public can be misled (the Made in Australia label that was misused). Should we believe everything that they say? As caring for the environment is becoming such an important factor in a lot of peoples lives, the ecological name should not be allowed to be misused by companies who are not really environmentally friendly. We need to make sure that there is strict guidelines on when a company can claim to be ecologically and environmentally friendly.
-- Anonymous, September 30, 1999
Tania, I know what the "mission statement" that these sort of organisations have put up. However I can't help but feel that they're rather vague and can be open to considerable interpretation. Statements which use the word "promote" and the like don't necessarily mean that these people have contributed time and or money to the cause, but they may just support it, the way I support the Hawthorn Football Club, in name only. I have to stick to my guns, I doubt that a bunch of business-minded hippies have got together and created a business that is actually good for the environment. The mentality for environmental inprovement and business enterprise are mutually exclusive. Unfortunately people do little in this life of ours to further any cause other than their own. Due to our currency based capitalist society, people really are after the almighty dollar. I know that these people say that their product is good for the environment, but it may only be better for the environment. There is a considerable difference.
-- Anonymous, September 30, 1999
Lets talk about the waste of the advertising sector. A point was made that environmentally friendly products should be advertised more. Doesn't this defeat the whole purpose of creating a business online: To reduce the costs and infastructure required by a conventional company. A company can advertise through the web without printing millions of copies of flyers which end up in the Garbage (or recycling if you remember). So in the case of companies like Eco-Deco it would be hypocritical to publish adds in print media.
-- Anonymous, September 30, 1999
Cathal I agree with you when you say that a lot of statements made by companies are "open to considerable interpretation" (and your example of the word "promote"). That's why I believe that there needs to be strict guidelines (like there is now for Australian Made labels) to ensure that companies are not stating that they are environmentally friendly when they are not.
However, Cathal I don't agree with your harsh broad generalisation that "people do little in this life of ours to further any cause other than their own." There is a lot of good hearted people out there committed to helping others, and saving the environment to no benefit of their own. Cathal how can you be so critical of companies who are at least making an effor to reduce the damaging effects of producing their product and the product itself. Cathal as long as companies are producing products that are better for the environment (maybe not good) it is still a step in the right direction and they need to be supported.
Belinda, your arguement that advertising in the print media defeats the whole purpose of developing an online company is not very sound. I mean how is the large majority of people going to find out about companies like Ecodeco. The number of people who shop on the internet is increasing, but it is still a very very small percentage of the population. The problem of even finding these types of sites still exists especially if you are not very experienced at using the internet. To raise the awareness of green products these companies can advertise on radio and on television which will not result in "millions of copies of fliers ending up in the garbage" as you say.
Everyone remember green is better!
-- Anonymous, September 30, 1999
This idea that advertising on the internet is a better option than printing fliers and the like is a bit misguided. The internet is a system which relies on many computers being connected at all times. These computers actively suck huge amounts of electricity out of the system to maintain, in this case, a shopping enviromnent. The electricity that is being consumed is either from fossil fuels or nuclear power, I doubt sincerely that there is a measureable contribution from environmentally sound electric sources. I don't want to go on about this, but I think that pinting ads on recycled paper is a better option than devouring fossil fuel supplies and causing enormous amounts of pollution. Getting back to the idea of environmentally sound fashion. From day one we have been damaging the environment for clothing, if we take biblical representations Adam and Eve were pulling leaves off vines so that they could show some modesty. Ever since our effect on the environment has been increasing. It has had a devastating effect, but I don't think that it is something that we can actually stop, but maybe we can minimise it. It is for this reason that I condone businesses which try to do their best to reduce the environmental effects of production. I also believe that this is a reasonable stance to take to promote sales. However I have to remain a sceptic; I don't know to what level the enterprise would implement their ideals. It would be quite an easy theme to adopt for any business that wants to jump on the band wagon. I doubt that there are stringent laws to prevent this. Another important factor for consideration is that clothing choice is directly dependent on the fashion of the day. For a business to achieve appropriate sales to remain afloat, they would have to fit into the fashion. It would be easy enough if the fashion itself was the wearing of ecologically considerate clothing. Otherwise the product made with minimal damage to the environment would have to mimic their ecologically unsound counterpart. The reason modern, unhealthy techniques have been developed is due to their effectiveness in producing the desired product. The weave in a T-shirt is hard to emulate with a ball of wool and a couple of size 8 knitting needles. Unfortunately people won't wear environmentally healthy clothing if it means wearing a coarse cotton weave poncho.
-- Anonymous, October 01, 1999
When looking at our world today there are many different people different cultures and different fashions. There are also very differet opinions. I believe that we shold encourage thos who are having a go as Daniela said by supporting small companies so that we can make them big. But i can also see where Belinda is coming from. We do have to be discerning, but to a certain degree. For example we should support some of these companies who say that they are environmentally friendly, not whole heartedly, but with some caution. But also we should be more discerning about those who say nothing. I agee with David Tongs, we are a society that werars clothes because they are fashionable. The leather jacket, using his example is not environmentally friendly, I agree, but many still wear it. I think that to make this country more environmentally friendly, we need to make it also trendy. But i agree with David, people have not got time to sit and weave their own materials and neither are people going to wear T-shirts that have a rough texture. I don't know exactly what we have to do, but we have to continue to experiment, give items a go and try and support those that say they are having a go. Even if they are crooked, they may be doing less harm than those who say nothing.
-- Anonymous, October 03, 1999
Having a good look through the Ecodeo's website, I was rather convinced they played a good part in showing their concern in the ecology system and at the same time creating awareness among us individuals. Before I start commenting on this issue, I would like to bring this phrase, which I feel should not be taken too lightly, to everyone's attention. "We are loosing one Poland's worth of rain forest a day with irreparable damage not only to our environment but also to all the people who depend on the rain forest for their livelihood". The rain forest is not there for decoration purposes. Do keep in mind that there are people, perhaps families, who rely solely on the forests to survive, just as people who rely on their office job to keep the monthly income rolling in. Mother Nature placed all these flora and fauna around us for a few good reasons. Part of them would be food, shelter and clothing which happens to be human's necessity in life. This is where I agree with Sarah and David's entries. In the olden days, all clothes were hand-made from plants and animal skin. We would not regard this as cruel, would we? If your answer to this is yes, then where would we possibly obtain our protection from? Therefore, clothes are partly created from the Eco system around us, until an advanced enough technology comes into the picture to replace the need for plants and animals. As a matter of fact, we already have some synthetic products in existence, but not many though. But on the other hand, there is the other extreme to this situation. People nowadays tend to overuse whatever natural resources they can see or get their hands on. This is where all the problem arises from. Plants and animals go extinct from this earth. We, human, just make use of things that appear in front of us, and expecting it to reproduce by itself. We do not take into consideration the time it takes for it to reproduce or the impact that it has on the entire Eco system, until its too late. Referring to Sarah Ann Robert's entry date 12th of September, I totally agree with her saying that Ecodeo is having a go to save the environment. Just have a look at what effort they are putting in. They are recycling waste that may have caused pollution to the Eco system. They made use of recycled glass and recycled Sterling silver for jewelry. They even make recycled bags. Ecodeo honestly admitted that "We believe deeply in ecology but we also believe in making a profit". But if you continue to read on, they also mentioned that they do give their profits away for ecology needs. From the sales of Ecodeo T-shirts and pins, they contribute towards saving the environment. So, have a good look around us and learn to appreciate nature's gift to us. Take a peep into your own wardrobe. Do not feel guilty if you happened to have a some "natural" clothing. But, if one too many, better think twice if you are abusing your freedom of choice!
-- Anonymous, October 04, 1999
Today, after visiting www. sustainabilitystore.com , it is very obvious that these days, fashion companies are putting a reasonable amount of effort into being "green" which was defined as businesses that are responsible for their workers, their communities, their customers and the environment. At least they are not sitting back and letting nature take its course, which will lead up to disaster in the end. Together with Tania, Belinda and Sarah, I believe we should acknowledge these companies hard work, although I am a little doubtful when some companies mention that they are a "non-profitable" organisation.
With regards to Tania Siegert's entry saying that there are still very few Internet shoppers in today's population, I tend to disagree. I would say that these companies are planning ahead. Advertising in the Internet is a good way to get the message across to the public these days. From my own point of view, more people that I know off are purchasing goods off the Internet. Take Australia for example, the number of Internet users flooding the channels' capacity has increased by half in the past 6 months. I would assume that with more people surfing on the Internet, the number of Internet shoppers would also increase proportionally. Besides, having these messages appear on printed materials would only mean more resources wasted and more recycling to be done.
I'd definitely give credit to Sustainability Store in their "sustainability" attempt to merge ecology and economy into one system. Not only that but they are also turning waste into a useful product (clothing and accessories) like parts of plants that are of no use to us. I would also like to bring forward some of their meaningful aims like renewing resources at a rate equal to or greater than the rate at which they are consumed, which I would call in simple terms, recycling. There is one objective though that I find it hard to fulfill, that is "sustainability means living within the resources of the planet without damaging the environment now or in the future". Just compare the amount of natural resources used to the amount available or the amount replenished manually.
It would take more than just campaigns and advertisements to have the 3 system (human, nature and economic) balanced. When one of these factors is disturbed, the other 2 suffers its consequences. The effort has to come from every individual in order to sustain our eco system.
-- Anonymous, October 05, 1999
Today's fashion world is taking a different approach, although a bit slow moving, to preserve the eco system. I agree with David saying that today's generation is better at having intentions ( and coming up with good ideas) but very little will implemenent it in whatever bussiness they are indulged in. In most countries, to be accepted in the society ,one has to be "up to date" in their appearance. If otherwise, they tend to be looked down upon. If that is the case, fashion companies should make use of this advantage. If they can come up with something that appears "cool" (or at least start the trend) to the public, naturally more and more of us will catch up with the in-fashion.
Of course, we should not pick too much on the "eco companies" that are taking a big step ( and risk as well ) to create some eco awareness into the society. Every single business have to generate some means of profit to keep on going. Like Pina said, "making a profit does not mean engaging in cheaper unethical environmental practise". Give them a little credit.
Cat Carney Ecological Fashions create clothes from hemp fabrics. I find this an upcoming industry and found it really "weird' at first, knowing that this plant is in fact a narcotic drug. Two totally different uses altogether. Anyway, they had a range of cool fall collection, I would say. The Hemp Times magazine had some cool looks as well. So, who said that we cannot be fashionable and ecological at the same time?
-- Anonymous, October 06, 1999