As a sustainable online store, our aim at Weekendbee is to operate as environmentally friendly way as possible. But all organizations have operations that cause CO2 emissions that can't be avoided. Our goal is to be climate neutral organization which means that all the emissions that can't be avoided, will be compensated. We joined efforts in this mission with Karbonautti who will be calculating our CO2 emissions during the year and at the end of the year, the emissions will be compensated by directing the compensation money to Gold Standard Certified projects.
We asked Janne Haila from Karbonautti to reveal the inconvenient truth about the fashion industry and how we can do it better.
Warning: this post begins with some inconvenient figures.
The fashion industry is responsible for more CO2 emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. If nothing changes by the year 2050 it uses 26% of the world's carbon budget. Only 1% of all material used to produce clothing is recycled to make new clothing. The fashion industry has also decided there are 52 seasons instead of 4.
End of inconvenient figures.
Obviously, an enlightened consumer doesn't just close their eyes from the truth but instead tries to find out what they can do about it. Since humans don't have fur, going nude is not a sustainable way to proceed. Luckily there are other options that are pretty far from rocket science, for example:
Prefer recycled materials. They are not a marketing gimmick but a genuinely better option from the perspective of both greenhouse gases and other questionable substances. As an example the carbon footprint of recycled polyester compared to its virgin counterpart is like comparing a normal consumer to Bigfoot. Also, big players have discovered the bliss of recycling and are turning sustainable values into a sustainable business, and I don't see any controversy there.
Buy quality. As Coco Chanel has allegedly said, poor people cannot afford to buy cheap – meaning that in the long run investing in quality becomes more affordable. What applies to the poor also apply to nature lovers – do not buy shitty quality clothes. Prefer durability and style that you can live with also the next season. A free tip: all shades of black are usually safe and when it comes to outdoor you can go totally crazy with toned greens and browns… well, you get the point.
After the great decision of purchasing a sustainable piece of clothing for your vital need, only one questions remains: where from? A traditional bricks-and-mortar store of course, since though more expensive, they are less demonic than online stores that promote excessive consumption by making it too easy and by transporting each T-shirt separately from China to your doorstep with a Jumbo Jet?
Not exactly – welcome to the 21st century.
Weekendbee asked Karbonautti to calculate their carbon footprint, taking into account transportation, storage and business operations. Even sustainable manufacturing is a far bigger polluter than all other elements combined, and transportation of lightweight items, like clothes, is just a fraction of their carbon footprint. One also has to remember that a garment doesn't move itself to a traditional store either.
Comparing the environmental impact of traditional and webstores includes so many variables, that depending on the source you are sure to get slightly different results. However, when shopping for clothes there's no point feeling the climate anxiety based on the shopping method itself. But you should dig out the facts about the manufacturer and product – or let a responsible reseller do that for you.