We are delighted to have won "Ethical Brand of the Year" by Consider Beyond+ and have been inundated with messages asking us how we formulated our approach. The quick answer is, "It’s not simple.'' Even as a seasoned professional in the sourcing and product development world, the conversation on sustainability can sometimes be overwhelming and confusing with so many differing opinions and views. At In Our Name, we have demystified the hard science and focused on quantifiable data, transparent supply chains (knowing exactly where all the raw materials are coming from), and social impact (empowering our artisans in Africa economically).
"Sustainability" simply refers to responsible practises in the procuring, processing, and manufacturing processes. That said, we should never forget that behind all these activities are people; people who craft, make, lift, pack, transport, and move everything that we wear. In other words, viewing sustainability in isolation from the people behind the products is a disservice to all the hard-working people who play a key role in ethical and responsible practices. At In Our Name, we take a holistic view of these interdependencies and by doing so, we have implemented effective and authentic social impact and sustainable strategies.
So, what does that mean? At every touch point along the development and production process, we critically review the environmental and social impact, the longevity of the products (aka slow fashion), every fabric, button, zip, transport, our CO2 emissions for everything, from couriers, freight to our own travel, paying a fair price, economic sustainability for artisans (our 100% Initiative) and our small producers in Africa. We consider how customers should look after the garment so it lasts longer and ensure that at the end of its life can be recycled or biodegraded (aka "circularity").
We have opted for the tougher, more challenging approach by tracing and measuring the impact in a meaningful way rather than merely stating that ‘fabrics are sustainable’ or that it is a ‘sustainable product’ without an auditable, traceable supply chain. Yet when you look at a majority of the products in the market, most are made from polyester and nylon, which begs the question, why is there still such a reliance on fabrics derived from fossil fuels without a transparent chain of custody? Yes, manufacturing practices and technology have improved, but for retailers and brands ’hiding’ behind a token strategy is both unfair and misleading to the consumer. That is greenwashing plain and simple. It is a privilege for brands and retailers when customers buy our products, but we need to be respectful to our consumers by not blatantly misleading and or lying to them.
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