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The 5 Pillars of Sustainability

INTRO

The fashion industry has a significant impact on the planet’s inhabitants and resources. Underpaying and overproducing, choosing cheap materials and flying textiles around the globe, the room for improvement is vast. 

Assessing the footprint of production at every step of the value chain is what sustainable brands do as part of their core business. Staiy is able to perform an objective, fact-based evaluation of the degree of sustainability of each brand, linking it to our five pillars: Water, Air, Materials, Work Conditions and Commitment. 

WATER

Water is one of the key elements to life. Its cycle determines entire ecosystems’ equilibrium, access to it signifies survival. Earth’s freshwater supply only represents 1% of the total water in the globe. The fashion industry is strongly dependent on water, from harvesting to dyeing and washing. It is the second-largest consumer of the world’s water supply.

The misuse of water in fashion arises in different areas: from sourcing to discharging, processes at industry level are often not treating water with the appropriate parsimony or respect. Highly water stressing processes often increase the risks of water crisis in the exporting countries. Toxic discharges are frequent especially in the dyeing phase, releasing chemicals and polluting the nearby streams, affecting entire ecosystems both locally and far downstream. Sustainable brands choose producers that monitor their water consumption, that reuse water where possible, and opt for waterless non toxic solutions when possible.

We support brands that respect our water, for the life that depends on it. Brands that score high under the water pillar understand the plurality of stakeholders interconnected with it, and take the appropriate measures when producing. We stand with them for the attribution of the right values to our most precious resource. 

AIR

The earth is surrounded by air, a mixture of extremely important gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Air is fundamental to living beings: a person takes about 11,000 liters of air a day. The air we breathe, though, is polluted: the levels of CO2 (carbon dioxide, the most dangerous and prevalent greenhouse gas) are at the highest ever recorded. One of the most significant consequences is on climate change, particularly global warming and its effects.

The fashion industry plays an important role in carbon emissions: it releases more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined, and accounts for 10% of all humanity's carbon emissions alone. Long and international supply chains are fueled by the chase of cheap labor at every step of the value chain: from harvesting, spinning, dying and crafting, clothing items fly several miles before arriving in our wardrobes. The remaining overproduced and unsold inventory is often shipped to landfills or incinerated, contributing to additional emission.

At Staiy, we dig into what each brand does to lower their emissions. From local production to renewable energies implementation, our brands that score high under the Air Pillar have significantly reduced the carbon footprint of their production when compared to the average producer. We stand with them for a better air quality worldwide.

MATERIALS

Materials are the tangible touchpoint between the brand and the final customer. They play a key role in determining the quality, looks and durability of a clothing item, as well as the satisfaction of the end customer. The textiles that are in touch with our skin on a daily basis all have different characteristics, yet their footprint is not visible to the client. From the usage of the chemicals to how much water it took to grow, wash and dye, every step in the choice of materials has an impact.

Textiles production requires an intensive input of resources, from oil to water to energy. Choosing the right materials is important - the consequences extend to soil, freshwaters, natural resources, and overall environmental balance. The industry’s use of resources is not optimized, especially for materials - of the total fiber input used for clothing, 87% eventually ends in landfills or is incinerated, with a lost opportunity of more than USD 100 billion annually. Such inefficiencies harm the planet both economically and environmentally, and can be easily resolved at the root.

Our brands choose to produce their garments organically, with innovative materials, improving the item’s quality, its pre and post-purchase footprint, and minimizing waste and discharges. Techniques such as upcycling and recycling, together with a conscious materials choice, are what we look for in our partners. Whether organic, upcycled or created from previous waste (such as plastic bottles), our partners craft their pieces giving thought to the choice of materials. We stand with them for a conscious choice of materials, maximization of resources and sustainable innovation.

WORK CONDITIONS

Work is at the root of the social structure, and represents the means for humans to satisfy basic needs such as food and shelter. Under the proper work conditions, populations can gain independence and empowerment, access to resources and wealth, develop and thrive.

The fashion industry has a major role in the labor market. Known to be one of the global largest low wage employers, it is also one of the most female-dominated industries in the world. For these women, development is closely linked to their conditions at work: gaining a decent pay, working under dignified conditions and having basic work security represent a chance of moving out of poverty, being able to provide children with education and to become more independent.

Safe working conditions, regulated plants, fair wages and access to empowerment and education for all workers is what we stand for. Commitment to respect human rights and effective abolition of child labor is necessary. Our brands that score high under the Workers Pillar have achieved significantly better working conditions when compared to the average producer. We stand with them for better opportunities for the workers of the fashion industry and of the world.

COMMITMENT

Good is contagious. Supporting major causes with a higher goal is a beneficial experience. When we are able to give to others, not only we do spread good: we open doors to opportunities, education, resources, independence, innovation and growth. This is key to lead the change for a better future.

The fashion industry destabilizes the world’s equilibriums in many ways: polluting wastewaters, emitting 10% of the world’s carbon emissions, opting for the wrong materials, incrementing economic disparity between classes. A times, carelessly acting. Many though are the players that recognize the bigger picture and are willing to become better producers.

Our brands not only commit to producing in a better way, they also place aside to give back to the community and environment. Contributing and donating to relevant causes and social projects, they represent sustainability in its most complete form: economical, environmental and social. We stand with them to channel worldwide efforts towards the creation of opportunities, increasing quality of life and supporting innovation in the respect of our planet.