Sustainable vs. Ethical: What to Know
Lately, we have been seeing the words sustainable and ethical tossed around in almost every sphere of life, but we realized that many could not tell you what the difference between the two were if asked. They seemed to be used almost interchangeably to inspire a more conscious lifestyle, and yet nobody knows what they really mean.
So what's the difference between being sustainable and being ethical?
In short, sustainability focuses on the effects the product has on the environment, whereas ethically produced items focus on how the product was made and the treatment of the people behind it. Let’s break this down further!
Broadly speaking, being sustainable means being aware of the environmental impact of the product you are buying, the processes behind its manufacturing, and the consumption of this product by the consumer. A sustainable item is both kind to the customer and the earth; it is more durable and better quality because it is made of more natural elements and aims to reduce the waste that fast fashion and materialism is creating!
Sustainable fashion often focuses on repurposing garments, recycling fabric, staying away from harmful dyes, and aims to reduce the negative effects that the fashion industry’s mass production has on the earth. This is the same with textiles, skincare, and packaging of items. Every aspect of the product aims to leave the best possible effect on the earth, instead of producing more unnecessary waste.
While the fashion industry employs millions of people, it also is a major contributor to harmful environmental effects, one article even stated that the fashion industry is “responsible for 10% of the global carbon footprint, negative environmental effects including water pollution, the use of toxic chemicals and high levels of textile waste, and poor working conditions for millions of workers, primarily women”.
By shopping sustainably, you are contributing to the reduction of textile waste and toxic chemicals in the materials you use. The product will last longer and be better quality!
When someone says a company or product is ethical, this often encompasses sustainability, which is why the two terms are sometimes used in conjunction. While sustainability focuses on the product’s environmental effects and aims to reduce waste, ethical fashion focuses on how the clothing is made and how the workers are treated. This means ensuring fair wages, guaranteeing the workers’ safety, making sure the materials were created/gathered/grown with the wellness of the earth in mind. Buying ethically encompasses everything about the production of the item, prioritizing fair and healthy conditions for both the worker and the earth.
When products are both ethically produced and sustainable, both the worker and the earth are treated with care!
Today more than ever, ethical fashion brands are taking a step away from mass consumerism and materialism, and instead are focusing on fair wages, equality for workers, and ensuring that every part of the process of production is treated with kindness and care.
We hope this inspires you to be more aware of the purchases you are making and how they affect the world! Here at Memod, we want to ensure the quality of each product, which means making sure it is both sustainable and ethically produced. As a company made up primarily of women, we are always learning, growing, and aiming to create an environment that prioritizes sustainability, equality, and empowerment.
If you have made it this far, thank you for reading and learning with us!
Your friends at Memod!