Founder's Column: Transparency Matters
Posted on March 10 2020
Worldwide material consumption has expanded rapidly. Although, digital age has given people access to more information and consumers have started to place more importance on honesty and openness, there is still a lot of work to do towards a fully transparent fashion industry.
The reality is that fashion produces more carbon emissions per minute than driving a car around the world six times and already more than half of British adults are not aware that fast fashion is damaging to the environment, according to new research published by Oxfam in 28th of August 2019. Since December 2016, over 1,400 local governments in 28 countries have declared climate emergency (as of 23 February 2020) and urged all countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions. To put it simply, governments (and administrations) must take measures to try and stop human-caused global warming and all of us must get used to thinking twice before buying something new.
I believe that secrecy in business is dead and at some point all consumers demand more than just the required product information on a product’s label, want brands to help them make a difference and stay loyal to those that provide more detailed insights. The Fashion Revolution has already been campaigning for years for radical transparency in the fashion supply chain and is launching the world’s biggest clothes swap for Fashion Revolution Week 2020 (20th-26th of April) to encourage all of us find out and swap something that we own in order to keep them in circulation the longest time possible. I think this is an amazing initiative that helps to promote sustainable consumption globally, encourage everyone to be curious and support a good cause.
Transparency is a useful tool for change that can make people think differently about what and how they consume. I see that curiosity can lead us to greater transparency that is needed, so, that consumers could understand better and value higher all of the efforts that go into making every product they purchase. All of that is essential to achieve a better and more sustainable future for the benefit of people and the planet, in order to end poverty and ensure good health, well-being, sustainable consumption and production. We need to live and work towards to the Sustainable Development Goals that address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. Unfortunately, lack of transparency can only weaken executing the Sustainable Development Goals.
The deadliest collapse of the Rana Plaza factory in Bangladesh brought the world’s attention to worker safety in 24 April 2013 with a death toll of 1,134. Lack of transparency costs lives because workers in developing countries live in hardship and companies can not make sure that human rights are respected, fair salaries are paid or that safe and hygienic working conditions are provided.
I am driven by a dream of a better world where fashion is fairly made and has irrelevant environmental impact. I have contributed into sustainable development for years now and see that choices made in the beginning of a design phase have an enormous impact. In my opinion, the visual design is important but not the most essential part in a product design as there are so many things that merchandisers and designers can directly influence in order to increase the transparency, durability and circulation of clothing. For example, designing for longevity has been identified as the single largest opportunity to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing in the UK. Researchers have found that extending the average life of clothes by just 9 months would save £5 billion in resources used to supply, launder and dispose of clothing(Design for Longevity, Wrap). While designing better is the one important thing that we are considering at KiRiVOO, I am are also working on launching our our circular closet and making products lifecycle fully transparent and traceable item by item cases.
Like brands and retailers are making moves towards radical transparency, I am asking you to join the revolution and play your part in transforming the fashion industry better for the people and environment. Finally, I would like to share an inspiring video message from the Extinction Rebellion and supermodel Arizona Muse who speaks out against fast fashion and urges people to make eco-conscious consumption decisions:
- Fashion Revolution, https://www.fashionrevolution.org/about/transparency/
- Oxfam research, https://oxfamapps.org.uk/shop-blog/sustainable-fashion/new-shocking-facts-about-the-impact-of-fast-fashion-on-our-climate/
- Wrap research, https://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Design%20for%20Longevity%20Report_0.pdf
- UN Sustainable Development Goals: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300
Firstly published by Ines Karu-Salo at Medium: https://medium.com/@INESKS/going-green-transparency-matters-78d7bfd53019
The story was published in Estonian by Bioneer: https://www.bioneer.ee/mõtle-roheliselt-—-läbipaistvus-tähtis
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