Going sustainable is hard work
A friend of mine, mother of two little ones, was just trying to find a natural option for fleece for the kids’ winter wear. They live in Northern Finland, where it can get -20 degrees Celsius in the winter and kids need a mid layer between their indoor wear and padded overall.
As it turned out, there isn’t much choice if you don’t want to buy fleece, a known micro plastics polluter that was just chosen as the most harmful vanity by the Finnish Nature magazine. And this is in Finland, where you’d think everything imaginable is available in terms of winter gear.
We’re busy – and lazy
Merino wool or regular wool is the best and natural option for fleece. However, handy jackets and pants made of them are scarce even here, at least in your average high street and hypermarket chains. Sure, you can maybe find some if you google hard. For a busy mum however, no matter how conscious, ease of shopping does matter. If going sustainable is too much work, not many bother with it.
This is reality now with everything in the clothing industry. Although consumers are generally more and more conscious, it’s hard to find sustainable choices that are both practical and reasonably affordable.
Should we genuinely have more choice, most consumers would pay a premium for sustainable goods. A recent study by Nielsen showed that consumers’ willingness to pay premium for sustainability is up 55% from 2014. 66% of people are positive towards a premium on conscious items – as many as 73% of millennials.
From niche to everyday
Committing to sustainability would definitely pay off for brands. In fact, I would say it will be the no. 1 competitive differentiator for most brands. Problem is, the most sustainable materials aren’t yet truly available.
Companies like us are working hard every day to make this happen. We also hope that once commercialized, textiles made of sustainable fibres are not just luxury items. However, the journey from niche to everyday takes time.
To speed things up, much cooperation, investment and a pinch of courage is needed from all industry parties. What we need is for the entire textile industry to have the same goal as the consumer, as my friend – real aspiration for sustainability.
It’s up to us to make it less work for her.