These days, it seems harder than ever to be 100% green. Whether it’s a decision to buy organic food, ethical clothing or environmentally friendly products, it becomes pretty clear that theory and practice are still oceans apart. It’s all about having awareness and using it to change our habits on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. And if it takes 30 days to form a habit it must be worth doing!
Leather is probably the most ancient fabric used by humans and is a multi-billion pound global industry. The demand for leather goods is growing along with growing criticism concerning the environmental impact which drives a keen interest in sustainable alternatives like Jambo.
Like all hides, ours are treated or “tanned” to preserve them and in the case of leather, cleaned of hair and finished with a specific coloured dye or embossed. Our small manufacturing team will then turn this basic product into our bags and fashion accessories here in Kenya.
The best arguments for choosing ethical and green products have to be based on ‘holistic benefits’ and the care of our planet. So how are these different and what goes into ethical fashion items?
In general, those who sell “green” products consider every aspect of its manufacturing from source to customer. This includes sourcing, employment, packaging, recyclability, and transportation. Although this means that we all benefit from this attention to detail, it also means that it becomes a crucial part of our brand message here at Jambo.
Many products in the ethical fashion sector show great foresight. This is why ethical fashion is being espoused by many big-brand companies.
Environmentally friendly household products can be found on the shelves of every supermarket and have become more mainstream.
Even banking and investment companies can be chosen for their green and ethical policies. Energy can be bought from companies investing in renewable sources and even Fairtrade flowers can be sent to your loved ones.
Aircraft engines have become more efficient and can be offset with the help of a carbon offset scheme often offered by travel companies.
For those who care about their children and grandchildren’s future, the choice of green and ethical products and services have never been as available as they are today.
One of the great achievements of the green movement is that fairly traded produce, once a niche market sector and now stocked in almost every supermarket and many smaller outlets.
Fairtrade has had a huge global impact in peoples’ lives who are paid a fair price for their produce and where profits are reinvested into the communities. This is now becoming mainstream for multinational companies like Fairtrade coffee, tea and chocolate are available from household brand names. These corporations recognise the power of the “green pound” and now take corporate social responsibility more seriously than ever before because of demand.
How green are we?
Generally, products you buy to clean your home and to wash your clothes have become increasingly chemical-based over the past century – many ingredients have a detrimental effect on our health and our environment.
Many of our favorite cleaning products contain ingredients like benzene which is toxic to inhale as well as being carcinogenic. They can also contain phosphates which damage river and marine life and nasties like naphtha, which has been proved to be a cause of central nervous system dysfunction. This also goes for the kitchen and toilet cleaner and when you notice how many damaging chemical ingredients they contain.
Now is the time to choose as many green products as we can. This really is a shared responsibility. We need a serious re-think and need to go back to traditional cleaning ingredients which clean just as well but rely on natural, old-fashioned and easily sourced ingredients.
Many people have become hypersensitive to cleaning ingredients in soaps as well as household cleaners because their immune systems have become exhausted over time, resulting in allergies and even extreme reactions. Looking for products with no artificial perfumes or colours which might harm your skin and that aren’t tested on animals is a good start. Products that are packaged in recyclable containers and are sold in large and refillable packs are now becoming more mainstream but we still have a long way to go.
The good news is that most of our major supermarkets and online delivery stores stock green alternatives, including their own-brand products. We are definitely better informed and demand for alternatives is growing daily.
Natural air fresheners are really coming into the mainstream now, previously a cause of many allergies when used over a long period. Biodegradable bin bags are a must as we look at alternatives to landfill. Plastic in our everyday lives is being highlighted as causing a major marine crisis. Positive things are happening at last!
Good News for Fashion?
The good news is that the fashion industry is gradually catching up with environmental issues in many areas. Some designers won’t use animal products unless they’re responsibly sourced as our bags and accessories are. Many companies are now choosing organic cotton, as conventionally grown cotton is one of the most sprayed crops in the world causing environmental damage. Like Jambo, there are lots of boutique Fairtrade online and offline retailers, who ensure that the people making these products get fair pay and, in some cases, share in the profits. Many, like Jambo, sell online and you can also find us at events, festivals and fairs – see our event schedule here.
In conclusion we all need to play our part as guardians of our beautiful planet. It is easier than ever to find high quality but responsibly sourced leather products. In our case being part of a responsible process is cruicial because having an awareness of work ethics in the fashion industry means that our clients think twice before considering to buy from countries and high volume factories where forced labour still exists.
To browse through our responsibly sourced African bags and accessories click here
Thank you and have a lovely day!