Blog: A little too sunny for saving money?

Joe Ayling | 21 May 2008

The tricky balance of providing good value, top quality fashion products on a regular basis is evermore dizzying in today's business environment, thanks to sustainability.

Yesterday (20 May) just-style attended the ASBCI's annual conference, where speakers presented a host of burning issues facing the fashion industry. 'Flip-flops or Fleeces? - Weathering an unpredictable fashion climate' was the theme for this year's event, at Dunchurch Par Hotel, Rugby.

Short-term weather fluctuations are a retail consideration, especially for fast-fashion high street retailers able to react in time, but the wider concern is the long-term damage that greenhouse gas emissions could have on the world's climate.

The conference started with a "weather forecast" from Royal Meteorological Society's chief executive, Professor Paul Hardaker, and at first I was thrilled by predictions that the UK's summer would be hotter than average, with cooler spells in between.

However, it was a little disconcerting to then hear that global temperatures are set to rise 2-5°C by 2010 as a result of global warming.

Most governments and businesses are clearly doing their utmost to minimise further damage to the environment with sustainable business models and greater transparency. But the difficulty seems to be achieving this without damaging something else - profit.

Having said this, yesterday's event highlighted a number of working solutions for the apparel sector, including the use of recycled polyester, organic cotton, hemp and wool. US climbing gear specialist Patagonia even wants customers to send back their old cotton T-shirts and fleeces to be recycled into new products, while Tesco is running a hanger recycling initiative...

The pollution caused by sourcing from countries thousands of miles away remains, and will continue to do so with depleted manufacturing bases closer to home. But adopting a sourcing hub that is a little more expensive but a lot closer helps readdress this difficult sustainability balance.

By Joe Ayling, news editor.


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