We are conscious of climate change and the impact that we are having on our planet. When looking for ways to reduce our impact, a great place to start is with our wardrobe, given the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world.
With the rise of fast fashion today (clothes produced in high volumes, at low cost), most of the clothes are made in developing countries where labour is cheap. This has many negative impacts including:
- Human Rights Violations
Many garment workers are paid as little as AUD $0.62/hour, well below a living wage, which is defined as enough money to cover essentials including food, housing and healthcare.
- Toxic Production Processes
Synthetic chemicals are used in the growing of raw materials such as conventional cotton, as well as the dying of various fabrics. The contaminated waste water run-off from these processes is often dumped into streams in surrounding areas, polluting local waterways.
- Climate Change
The production of fast fashion contributes to approximately 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to long supply chains and energy intensive production, consuming more energy than the aviation and shipping industry's combined.
We have put together a list of definitions of the key terms that are often used with ethical and sustainable fashion, so you can feel more confident next time you go shopping!
The Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is a not-for-profit organisation whose purpose is to make global cotton production more sustainable, benefiting both the environment and farmers.
Biodegradable is when something can be broken down either by bacteria or living organisms, therefore reducing its impact on the environment. Our jeans are packaged in compostable mail bags sourced from the Better Packaging Co that will biodegrade in approximately 180 days.
This is measured by the amount of carbon dioxide which is released into the atmosphere from the activities of either individuals, organisations or communities. At KEEPER Denim use Sendle as our primary postal service as they are 100% carbon neutral.
Cruelty-free is an animal rights movement. You will see this label on products when it contains that don't harm animals.
Ethical Clothing Australia (ECA®) ensures that clothing, textile and footwear businesses that manufacture their products in Australia, maintain a transparent supply chain, ensuring their workers are paid fairly, receive all their legal entitlements and work in safe conditions. KEEPER Denim has recently been accredited by ECA!
To be ethical means to avoid activities that cause damage to individuals, animals or the environment.
A focus on the social impacts of the fashion industry, ensuring garment workers are paid a living wage and have safe working conditions, it also includes a focus on animal welfare.
Fairtrade supports farmers and working communities in developing countries by ensuring they work under safe conditions and receive fair prices for their products.
The Fashion Revolution is a global not-for-profit organisation that advocates a transparent fashion industry, changing the way our clothes are sourced, produced and consumed. It was founded in April 2013, after the Rana Plaza collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh, where 1,138 garment factory workers were killed.
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) sets both social and environmental standards for the whole textile supply chain, based on the use of certified organic fibres. A variety of criteria must be satisfied throughout the production process, from the growing of the crop, through to the final product. The organic cotton used in both our KEEPER Denim jeans and tote bags is GOTS certified.
Greenwashing is when companies provide misleading information to consumers about their products, suggesting they are more environmentally friendly than they really are.
The OEKO-TEX® certification confirms no toxic substances are contained within a product, ensuring maximum safety for consumers.
Organic crops are grown without the use of synthetic chemicals commonly found in fertilisers, pesticides and insecticides.
Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic synthetic chemicals and uses a lot less water than conventional cotton. It also reduces the exposure of farmers and their families to harsh substances both on the farm and through their food and water supplies.
The term Slow Fashion refers to a movement where consumers purchase high quality clothes, in smaller quantities, that are made to last a long time. They also consider the impact of their clothes on both the environment and the people involved in making them.
Sustainable products have social, environmental, and economic benefits throughout their lifecycle (from raw materials to final disposal).
Clothes that are produced with a focus on reducing the impact on the environment and the people involved in making them, across all stages of the supply chain.
We hope these definitions will make things a little easier when it comes to looking for ethical and sustainable fashion. It can certainly be overwhelming at times and here at KEEPER Denim we are all about making it easier for you!