Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Social power = social responsibility

The lovely Tia at NOTWeeds featured one of my mug cozies in her blog post this week that was focussed on 'Going Green'. To be honest, I hadn't even considered my mug cozies to be a 'green' product, until Tia pointed out the many cups of tea that are wasted because they go cold before you get to drink them (and therefore you have to boil the kettle again, use another tea bag, use more water etc etc).

Despite this, the sustainability of my teapot and mug cozies has been on my mind for a little while (I am studying business sustainability, after all). I look at sustainability from a triple bottom line view - that is, the environmental, social and financial outcomes. The environmental is about the resources (water, energy, raw materials) that go into making your product. The social is about the communities your products effect, and the outcomes for them. The financial is about the ongoing viability of your business to sustain it in the long term.

With all this in mind, I am starting to make the transition towards more sustainable stitchybritt products, starting with fabric because this is the main material that goes into my products. I have just purchased some fabric from the wonderful Ink and Spindle, who specialise in ethical and sustainable (and beautiful) textiles. It's always irked me a bit to buy from those big chain stores whose fabrics are usually so cheap and nasty - it's sadly likely that they are produced using toxic chemical processes in countries with poor labour conditions. I feel much better about buying from a supplier that actually gives a damn.

It's my belief that with social power comes social responsibility. As a customer you have some degree of social power, to make decisions to buy ethical products and influence the producers. As a small business, I have a social responsibility to ensure my products are not effecting the environment or communities in a negative way. And big businesses... well, it's time to acknowledge how much responsibility really lies in your hands.

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