Tag Archives: Fair trade

Sustainable Clothing vs. Fast Fashion: Why You Should Care

Now more than ever, there is a fluorescent light being shed on the fashion industry and its thumbs-down impact it has on our beloved planet and people. While oil still remains the most polluting industry in the world, the fashion industry comes in at a close second. The reason for this comes down to two crippling words: fast fashion.

Sure, the low price points associated with fast fashion can be tempting for any consumer, but the overall price of fast fashion is wreaking havoc on our world, in more ways than one.


According to a recent study conducted by Greenpeace, around 400 billion square meters of textiles are produced every year, of which 60 billion meters are left as waste on the cutting room floor.  80 billion pieces of clothing are produced worldwide, and 3 out of 4 of those pieces will end up in landfill or be incarcerated. Unfortunately, only one quarter will be recycled.

Water Consumption and Pollution

Water scarcity affects more than one billion people on a global scale and every drop of water should be precious. Disturbingly, just one pair of jeans requires 7,000 litres of water to produce, and 2 billion pairs are being manufactured every year.

A whopping 2,700 litres of water is used to make just one t-shirt… that’s the amount of water one average human will consume over 900 days!

And what about water pollution? Beyond a garment’s vibrant print, statement embellishments and glistening finish lies countless toxic chemicals. After agriculture, textile dyeing is the world’s second biggest polluter of clean water. 1.7 million tonnes of mixed chemicals are used in garment production – most notably, dangerous chemicals like PFCs, leaving a detrimental and lasting impact on our environment.

The People

A 2016 Oxfam report revealed more than 60 million people work in the garment industry to churn out cheap, replicated clothing. More than 15 million of those people are based in Asia and over 80% are female, underage and from poorer, rural regions. They work unbearably long hours and earn as little as 39 cents an hour to produce garments sold to fast fashion giants, for mere cents apiece. Their less-than-fair wages do not even cover basic living costs, like food and accommodation.

How You Can Help

The inconvenient truths about fast fashion, our endangered planet and unethical industry practices have finally emerged from under the rug, and are gaining media attention and becoming topics of conversation around the world.

New, informed and sustainable fashion labels are emerging every day and ethical fashion is starting to thrive. Pre-existing brands are joining the sustainable wagon to reduce their carbon footprint and improve social conditions, and more people are donating their clothing.

There are simple steps you can also take to help make a positive change to the fashion industry. If more people boycott fast fashion, there will be less of a market for it.

  • Invest in environmentally friendly materials. Learn more here.
  • Download Good on You – a conscious shopping app providing ratings on fashion brands based on their ethical, environmental and social impact.
  • Support ECA-accredited brands and encourage other brands to get accredited.
  • Shop at op shops and markets – one person’s trash is another person’s treasure after all.
  • Recycle, repurpose and buy garments on buy/swap/sell websites and on Etsy.
  • Learn to DIY or turn your old clothes into something new by altering them.
  • Shop sustainable brands! Well Made Clothes is a great online marketplace for local, sustainable and fair trade brands.

*The facts and statistics in this article were sourced from Greenpeace, Oxfam and Solidarity Center.

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Check out the upcoming challenges on our calendar!

How To Have an Eggcellent and Ethical Easter

Everyone’s favourite holiday is fast approaching, and while Easter is a time to spend with family, it’s also a pretty indulgent excuse to eat a lot of chocolate! We don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but the majority of those shiny sweets may be impacting a lot more than your blood sugar levels.

So before the hunt begins, we’ve rounded up a few helpful tips you can pass onto the Easter Bunny this year.

Hand out (or hide) fair trade eggs

Shopping during Easter is an especially tempting time. Supermarket aisles are filled with brightly wrapped chocolate eggs, bunnies and hampers – all just waiting to be gobbled up. But sadly, a dark side lies beneath the animated shelves. According to the Food Empowerment Project, around 70% of cocoa beans come from West Africa, where children, many between the ages of 12-16 – and some as young as 5 years, old are taken from their families to work as labourers in cocoa harvesting.

This is unjust and we can help make a difference by purchasing  chocolate that is free from the use of forced child and trafficked labour. It can be tricky to navigate the various labels and certifications, but we’ve found the Found Empowerment Project chocolate list to be comprehensive.

Opt for palm oil free Easter eggs

It’s always a good idea that the Easter Bunny is mindful of what ingredients are being used in their delicious handpicked treats. Unfortunately, a lot of hot cross buns and chocolate eggs sold across Australia contain palm oil (some traceable and some not). Palm oil growth is sadly one of the main causes of deforestation, negatively impacting the habitats of endangered species such as the Sumatran tiger, Sumatran and Bornean orangutan, Bornean pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhinoceros and the Malayan sun bear.

To help save these endangered species and preserve their natural habits, try to source your eggs (and food) from manufacturers who are palm oil free.

Try dairy-free chocolate and baked goods

Did you know that going dairy-free is not only beneficial to your own health, it is also beneficial to the environment? The dairy industry puts great strain on our beloved earth, as it is both land and water intensive, producing a huge amount of waste product such as methane and excrement.

Also, unbeknownst to many dairy consumers, approximately 700,000 dairy calves, also known as ‘bobby calves’, are slaughtered every year in Australia. They are purposely born so that their mothers keep producing milk. Sadly, it is standard industry practice for these calves to be taken from their grieving mothers and slaughtered before they reach a week old.

Going dairy-free means you are giving these beautiful animals a better quality of life and reducing your carbon footprint.

Make your own ethical Easter basket

This is a great chance for you to not only show off your creative flair but also kick start your sustainable, ethical Easter tradition!

You can use a traditional wicker basket or a DIY Easter box. Fill it with a handpicked selection of ethically sourced Easter eggs, bunnies and bilbies. If your basket is for kids, why not add some plush organic toys and decorative straw. For adults, turn it into a pamper hamper by adding certified organic candles and body care products.

Our office Easter Bunny will sourcing delicious eggs from the following producers and suppliers:

With a holiday vibe on the mind, why not check out the upcoming challenges on our 2018 calendar and find your next adventure!