From my days working for various footwear suppliers, after graduating with a Materials Engineering degree in Product Performance and Safety, I have always had a keen eye for materials and their uses. I have a particular interest with issues around sourcing and eco sustainability. I have also become quite selective when it comes to footwear and uncompromising on comfort and quality. In fact, before I went to University I didn’t even own a pair of flat shoes and that has somewhat changed now with 3 children and quite a different lifestyle now!
With exploring the ideals of living sustainably, it is the realization that we as consumers we have the power to make choices and by doing so, we have a voice in pushing for change in this area. Although supporting local business is really important, there are larger retailers that also trying to be be more ‘green’ too and when shopping it is always a good idea to check out a company’s sustainability statement to see what they are doing, and we can make informed choices about where and how we shop.
When looking at these larger brands and retailers, I personally appreciate honesty. This is much better than claims to have it sorted and when you look into it, they are often a bit flaky or sound good but not quite as they seem. I find this frustrating, like claiming to be ‘carbon neutral’ and this isn’t always the best way forward (for another post). The fashion brand FatFace is just one example of a retailer that is committed to the journey of becoming more eco conscious and I resonate with that. In their sustainability mission statement, they say:
We’re not there yet, but our destination is on the horizon and our aim is clear; to make the most sustainable choices for our product, our planet and our community.
This statement is also true for many people and a summary of what I am trying to achieve with this blog journey. I find it refreshing that there is acknowledgement of the importance of making little eco steps without claiming that they are there yet.
Their sustainability mission statement is three-fold: product, planet and community. For example, at present, the cotton garments they sell are sourced responsibly with the membership of the Better Cotton Initiative. The certifies that the cotton is organically grown without the use of harmful pesticides and chemical. It is also supporting the cotton farmers with working conditions. As a company, they are also committed to reducing environmental impact like sending on-line orders in paper bags rather than plastic and generally reducing single use plastics. In 2009 they set up the FatFace foundation to support a whole range of charities through fundraising events for the community.
I do really like FatFace clothes and see them as a real treat. Recently I purchased my second pair of Sustainable Sneaks. Not only are the uppers made from sustainable cotton but the soles are made of 100% FCS rubber too that is sourced carefully from rubber plantations that are properly managed. Buying with this in mind is making a positive eco choice.
There are many other retailers out there that are also doing what they can, this is just one example. My hope is that in reading this post, it helps to do some more reading around where and how are garments are produced and your feet might wander in a new more eco direction!