This week was all about educating people on social and eco-friendly textiles and buildings as well as understanding the perceptions people have on these things. “Social and Eco-labeling of textile and clothing goods as Means of Communication and Product Differentiation,” by Malgorzata Koszewska, was the article that kicked-off our week. According to this article the public has a growing desire to see more transparent information on textile labels. The most important information going into consumer’s buying decisions include the assurance that the garment was made with fair pay, in good working conditions, without child labor, without animal testing, etc. Most of these things are included in the ‘social’ category. The eco-labeling demands include information like fabric composition, environmentally friendly textiles and dyes, etc.
However, even garments that have this information on their labels cannot always be trusted. Some companies provide untrue information on their labels, while some labels are completely counterfeit. This is only a small part of the problem with labels nowadays, which is why it is so important to implement effective label certification systems so that the public can trust the products they are buying live up to their personal standards. Since standards are rising and awareness is growing on social and environmental issues it is more important than ever to provide certified and transparent information on labels or less and less consumers will buy that product, which could ultimately lead to the demise of a company.
I believe that providing this information and gaining the trust of consumers is the key to success for companies in the textile and clothing industry. You may not be suffering yet, but with concern growing, you soon will be.
The second topic that we learned about is LEED-certification, which in summary is building an environmentally friendly building. “The Greening of Southie,” a film following the ups and downs of building a LEED-certified company as well as the community’s perceptions of what this building is supposed to do for the environment. LEED-certification apparently has different levels of environmentally friendly buildings, with the top being gold. Gold is what this apartment complex was aiming for. While the building did achieve ‘gold’ status, I feel that a lot of environmental damage was looked over during the process of building. Materials had to be transported from around the world multiple times, which counteracts the good that the building is doing for the environment. A lot of money and time was put into this building, and it wasn’t without environmental damage, so I’m not sure that LEED is looking at the whole picture. And on another note, it apparently costs a lot of money to even get LEED-certified, and after spending all that money on the building itself is it even worth it?
I know that since this film was made a lot of improvements have been made, but I don’t think that the requirements of being LEED-certified, and at the gold level for that matter, will ever stop growing and improving. This isn’t a bad thing at all! If we stop trying to improve, then we will never be able to reach the ultimate goal of creating a completely sustainable world. As long as improvements are being made, in every industry, then we are on the right path!