Welcome to Business with Purpose – I am your host, Molly Stillman of stillbeingmolly.com and this show is all about bringing you the stories behind the brands, companies, and small businesses that are changing the world. Each week I interview an entrepreneur, a CEO, non-profit director, community leader, or just all-around amazing person who is trying to make a positive impact not only through their personal life, but also with their career. My goal is to show you that no matter what you do for a living, you can make an impact right where you are… This is episode 180 which means it is time for another SOLO episode!
I love connecting with you in a little bit of a different way during these solo episodes to either answer a burning question that you have, talking about a timely topic, or educating you on something that I think might be helpful… So this week, I am doing a little combination of answering a frequently asked question and doing a little education.
One question I have received often is, “There are so many buzzwords and phrases thrown around like “ethical fashion” “fair trade” “conscious consumerism” “social enterprise” etc….. WHAT DO THEY ALL MEAN? What is the difference?
So today, I am going to be like your own personal Webster’s Dictionary: ethical edition and share some of the terminologies with you that you might hear on this podcast or out in the world and what it is they mean!
A couple of things I wanted to share with you before we go over the terms and definitions…
After over 3.5 years of doing this podcast, I continue to be blown away by your encouragement and support. I know I can talk all day about this show, but I wanted you the listener to hear from FELLOW LISTENERS on which episode is THEIR favorite and why they love the show… so here are a few:
[TUNE IN TO LISTEN TO THE LISTENER TESTIMONIALS!]
Conscious consumerism is a way of saying that we are able to retain the awareness of our purchasing power no matter what is going on in the world around us. … The conscious consumer is one that seeks out ways to make positive decisions on what they buy, and solutions to the negative impacts caused by consumerism.
Fair trade vs. fairtrade
When used as “fair trade,” as two words rather than one, this refers to the general movement advocating for trade on fair terms for the environment and people involved. However, the largest and most globally recognized fair trade organization is Fairtrade International, the umbrella organization of the international system that our partner Fairtrade America belongs to.
Listen to episode Episode 139 with Marc Choyt – right around the 31:50 mark we talk briefly about this!
Ethically made / ethical fashion
Ethical fashion is an umbrella term that includes fashion design, production, retail, and purchasing. The exact definition is vague but overall ethical fashion is understood to indicate an active approach to creating goods that positively impact the environment and the lives of those making them, reducing poverty through non-exploitative (fair pay, good conditions) employment. In reality, it’s virtually impossible for a brand creating new products from new materials to ever be completely ethical as it just does not positively impact the environment. It is, however, a good reference point for brands to have in an attempt to better their production practices.
Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused.
A social enterprise is an organization that applies commercial strategies to maximize improvements in financial, social and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for co-owners.
As you would expect, slow fashion is the opposite of fast fashion. It’s about rejecting consumeristic impulses and embracing a slower, more mindful model of consumerism. While this doesn’t eradicate shopping entirely, it refers to only buying things you actually need and items of quality that will last.
Circular fashion refers to the entire lifecycle of a product and centers on a circle of create, use, recycle, rather than create, use, dispose. It looks at products beyond their original function and timespan and focuses on how their materials can be consistently utilized and repurposed. Circular fashion takes in to consideration everything including the design, sourcing, transportation, storage, marketing, sale and disposal of the product.
In fashion it means that all new clothes are made from preexisting clothes and textiles, The Guardian explains. Once an item has fulfilled its use, it can be broken down through an environmentally sound process and turned back into yarn/fabric and then recycled into another garment. This forms a “closed loop” in that an item would have an eternal life cycle and therefore eliminate waste.
Cruelty-free means that companies did not test ingredients or products on animals during the production phase. Cruelty-free, therefore, also means that no animals were killed or harmed anywhere in the world during production. Items that meet this standard normally carry a heart symbol. Cruelty-free does not mean, however, that animal ingredients are avoided.
Eco-friendly, like sustainability, is an all encompassing term that takes many factors into account. “Eco” is short for ecology, the study of interaction between organisms and the environment. Therefore, eco-friendly is about minimizing anything that would negatively affect that balance.
Fast fashion is the term used to describe clothing that is produced quickly and cheaply. Brands and retailers that engage in fast fashion often create products based on seasonal trends directly inspired by the runway. Fast fashion brands are generally associated with overproduction, low retail prices, mass waste, poor working conditions, and negative environmental impact.
If an item is FSC-certified it means that the fabric is made from tree fibers that come from sustainable sources in that they do not originate from endangered or ancient forests. TENCEL and MONOCEL products, for example, are often made from FSC certified eucalyptus and bamboo.
Paying someone a living wage is to pay workers from all aspects of the production process a fair salary so they are not trapped in poverty. A living wage varies greatly from country to country and that is also taken into consideration.
Standards differ as to what “organic” means from country to country but generally speaking, organic fashion refers to the materials used and how they’re grown. Basically this means that the materials are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge, ionizing radiation, or other chemicals.
Social responsibility means that a company adheres to a business framework that values people and the planet as well as profit. It’s about benefiting local communities and their environment. Unfortunately, brands claiming social responsibility can’t always be taken at face value. This term is often used in greenwashing.
Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP), formerly Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production, is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing around the world through certification and education. The WRAP certification program mainly focuses on the apparel, footwear and sewn products sectors.
Certified B Corp
B Corporation certification is a private certification issued to for-profit companies by B Lab, a global nonprofit organization with offices in the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and a partnership in Latin America with Sistema B. To be granted and to preserve certification, companies must receive a minimum score on an online assessment for “social and environmental performance.”
Okay! That’s it! I hope this was helpful to you! And remember, if you have ANY questions at all, you can email me – email@example.com or find me on social media – @stillbeingmolly or @businesswithpurposepodcast. And if you share the show on social media, you can use the hashtag, #businesswithpurposepodcast.
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This show is edited by my amazing husband and “executive producer” John Stillman and the music is by Marc Killian of Third Wheel Media.
Thank you SO much for listening and go do something good with purpose on purpose!