Collaborative purchasing of eco-friendly fabrics

I’ve been speaking to Rise Up Productions about manufacturing our first range. One of the challenges is that labels need to commit to spend a lot of money up front on eco-friendly/Fairtrade textiles and fabrics – as the minimums for these are quite high (e.g. 300 m2 for a single fabric).

Rise Up is trying to aggregate demand for such fabrics to enable smaller labels, such as myself, to be able to access such fabrics more affordably, and in smaller quantities.

I spotted this press release in a trade publication the other day, but couldn’t find it online, so I’m reproducing it here to help “spread the word”.

Opportunity to collaboratively purchase eco-friendly fabrics

Rise Up Productions is looking for designers interested in working collaboratively to source eco-friendly fabrics from around the globe.

Managing director Bronwyn Darlington said she hoped designers would collectively purchase eco-friendly fabrics to secure more reasonable pricepoints.

“By buying collectively, we might be able to introduce these fabrics into the market,” she said.

And she stressed the fabric sources she used offered a high quality that could easily be sought by after by local designers.

“We don’t deal with people who are working with experimental handicrafts, we are working with those who have been supplying Europe for years,” she said.

“The fabrics perform excellently and offer exceptional printability. We are also able to specify exactly the make-up of the fabric and we look at every step in the production process.”

She stressed volume buying was essential to secure an affordable price.

“Sustainable fabrics are not the cheapest,” she said.

Darlington is also determined to build a profit-for-purpose business creating clothing labels that have a minimal environmental footprint.

For example, pyjamas in the Rise Up range are made in Australia from Fair Trade certified cotton from India and any profit from their sale will be put towards an Oxfam donation. Similarly, sales of hoodies in the collection will lead to profits going to Opportunity International.

“The concept is eco-sustainability and a minimum footprint and that we give all our profit away,” Darlington said.

She plans to soon launch a second higher end fashion label called Ayoka.

Darlington suggested the significant consumer spending dollar was larger than funds competed for by charities.

“The consumer dollar is much bigger and we need to think more creatively to channel those funds into worthy projects,” she said.

EthiCool

I received an email the other day from Suzanne at EthiCool – she’s a member of ActNow and she’s started up an ethical clothing label.

The EthiCool range is primarily organic cotton tees and shopping bags, both featuring Suzanne’s graphic illustrations. All of the products are sweatshop free – the EthiCool site has a page that features the producers of the items, including edun, Ali Hewson and Bono’s famous brand. (It seems that edun have launched a blank t-shirt service).

It’s really cool to see more options, especially Australian-run, coming onto the market. And props to Suzanne for getting this off the ground – speaking from experience, that’s not small feat…

Tesla’s CARB presentation

Hilarious: High CARB diet.

However, we are actually delighted by the way this [fuel cell] bias finds implementation in the ZEV [Zero Emission Vehicle] mandate. For the results of this mandate is that all of our potential EV competitors – all the big car companies – remain mired in non-productive, deeply-expensive fuel cell programs, keeping them out of the EV marketplace, and indeed out of the serious ZEV marketplace entirely.

Cost/opportunity – the sustainability equation

I’m a believer in the idea that sustainability doesn’t have to mean increased costs. Particularly in business “extra cost” is raised as a roadblock to making sustainable choices.

If we focus on the costs of doing what we currently do, but more sustainably, often this is the case. But if we instead focus on the opportunities that being more sustainable presents, then perhaps we can turn that equation around.

Treehugger has a brief article on Bags from Keen Shoes which is a great example/case study.

They have managed to recycle much of their excess material – which previously would have been considered waste – into bags. And they’re looking to raise the amount of recycled material in the bags from 40% to 100%.

Branson

I wonder – if Richard Branson is splashing all this money around to reduce climate change, why doesn’t his airline have an “offset this flight” button when you book a flight?

People that want it can get it easily when they’re booking the flight. People that don’t simply uncheck the box.

Ang had a similar idea for insurance companies. Insurers are well aware of the risks of climate change. If they have a retail arm that insures cars, they have most of the information they need to provide offsets. All they’d need to add to the bill is a check-box and the distance traveled during the billing period (e.g. the last year). Send in the bill with your cheque and you’re done – or provide an online payment service.

They could outsource the fulfillment to an existing carbon offsets provider (like Climate Friendly).

Two simple things that would help effectively reduce emissions.

Latte Lexuses?

David over at Oikos posts an excellent overview of car efficiency standards in the US, and how they might apply in Australia. Café standards for cars: Espresso Excels and latte Lexuses.

Al Gore mentions efficiency standards in An Inconvenient Truth, and they are also referenced, from memory, in Who Killed the Electric Car. David’s piece gives a good overview (including the costs to manufacturers) and also suggests that such standards wouldn’t be as effective in Oz.

Update 26-Jan-2006: Martin Eberhard responds to the energy portion of Bush’s State of the Union speech with specific discussion of CAFE standards.

How many bloggers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

Seth Godin on the issues of marketing compact fluros.

CF lightbulbs have a story problem, plain and simple. They need to stop looking so weird, being so expensive and being so hard to open. Either that, or we could just grow up, suck it up and deal with it.

I assume the “being hard to open” is because the ones you can buy in the supermarket are often blister-packed – which are a PITA to open.

P.S. you can get CFLs online at Neco, or in bulk here and here.

(As a side note – can anyone tell me why neco.com.au doesn’t default to the shop rather than the silly splash screen?)