Having trouble working out just what to look out for when trying to shop sustainably? You’re not alone.
Here are three things to look for on your clothing label if you are looking to be a more conscious buyer.
1. GOTS Certified
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is one of the leading certification standards for the sustainable production of textiles.
Clothing that is GOTS Certified has met both strict environmental guidelines and minimum social criteria in relation to the treatment of workers throughout the supply chain. Only textiles consisting of a minimum of 70% organically cultivated natural fibres are awarded the GOTS label. The standard also covers chemical additives such as colouring agents as well as the handling and disposal of waste water and other waste products.
So, you can be sure you’re doing the right thing by the planet if your clothing is GOTS certified.
An increasing number of brands are now using bamboo to manufacture clothes, and with good reason.
Bamboo is a naturally pest resistant renewable resource— growing around 3 feet each year. It does not need spraying with harmful pesticides to thrive and regenerates after harvesting within 3-5 years.
Even better for Singapore’s sweaty climate, bamboo is silky soft and has natural sweat wicking properties.
3. Organic Cotton
Simply put, organic cotton clothing is made with cotton that has been grown without the use of chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
Organic cotton is also treated using safe peroxide for whitening, scoured with soda to get a PH closer to pure water and dyed using lower impact dyes than traditional cotton fibers.
Be aware, though, that while organic cotton is better for the environment and for your skin than conventional cotton, cotton remains one of the most water and pesticide intensive crops to farm.
The good news is that more and more global brands are now embracing organic cotton with H&M, Nike, Muji and Zara launching collections in recent years. So, it has never been more easy to shop consciously.
By Melanie Yap, January 2017
Melanie Yap is the founder of corporate social responsibility agency A Very Good Company Singapore, which works with businesses to create and implement strategies that bring financial and social impact.
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