11 Sustainability Buzz Words You Should Know
The sustainable fashion industry is booming, and with it comes an inventory of vocabulary words to keep up with. Here are the most important 11 terms and phrases that we think you should know.
Conventional manufacturing, selling, and using of a product means that the resources of that product only appear once to each of those stops before the end of its life (AKA in a landfill). A circular system aims to bend that trajectory after the primary user back to the start of the process. By doing so, a product in a circular system asks more from each stop along the way
For example, a manufacturing and/or design process that takes into consideration alternatives to the landfill at the end of a product's life by intentionally producing a recycled product in the first place. The ultimate goal with a circular system is to have nothing end up at a landfill.
Closed Loop Production:
While circular systems look to an industry as a whole, closed loop production is concentrated within manufacturing. Closed loop production basically means that any waste created is recycled and reused. When we reference closed loop here at Aventura, we are most often talking about TENCEL™ Lyocell or Lenzing™ fibers, both of which are made in systems that recapture over 99% of solvents and water used to transform pulp into fiber. Learn more about these closed-loop fiber production processes here.
This is the idea that companies make sure their employees are covered with humane wage and working conditions. Decent work is often an issue in developing countries where workers are forced into unfavorable working conditions by poverty. However, decent work is a buzzword to watch out for because a third-party company in a foreign country may claim they act in an upstanding way but act differently. Make sure claims are backed with a standard like fair trade which verify a company’s actions.
Did you know that rayon (and all of its aliases like viscose) is made from trees? Its natural background is how this little fiber snuck into the hearts and clothing of Americans. Beyond pollution issues in its production process, rayon has been associated with deforestation. Deforestation is defined simply as the cutting away of trees and is often minimized because trees are a renewable resource.
However, Rainforest Action Network sites that over 70 million trees are cut down each year for clothing production and are nearly impossible to trace, meaning that some most likely come from vulnerable rainforests whose delicate ecosystems cannot be replaced even if regrown.
Global Recycled Standard & Global Organic Textile Standard:
In the fashion industry, supply chains are enormous, complicated, and often outsourced abroad. Even more so, an organic cotton or recycled polyester shirt feels exactly the same as a conventional cotton or virgin polyester shirt. That’s why certifications like the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) are important. They provide transparency and ensure both to companies like us and to consumers like you that we know exactly what we’re getting.
Vague terminology, such as natural, are keystones to greenwashings manipulation of consumers. Because sustainability is such a fast-growing market, companies with no intentions to better the environment utilize subtle terminology, design, and even packaging colors to trick buyers into thinking their products have a healthier impact on the planet. Be mindful when shopping and look for certifications like GOTS and Fair Trade USA for truthful and measurable ways companies are making a difference.
Each of these certifying bodies ensure that workers are given fair wages and safe working environments. We partner with Fair Trade USA. We love the annual audit garment factories undergo to maintain their fair trade status. These audits ensure that the workplaces are harassment-free, provide safe working conditions, protect fundamental human rights, offer paid sick and maternity leave, and manage their funds fairly.
According to a 2017 study from the International Union for Conservation of Nature, clothing made from synthetic fibers (polyester, elastane, etc) is the second leading cause to microplastic pollution in the ocean. It’s an unintentional action and it happens every time we wash our clothing. Microplastic are hard to see, measuring about as small as the lead of a #2 pencil. However, the consequences are large: a 2020 study estimates up to 15.86 million tons of microplastics are littering the ocean floor.
rPET, or recycled polyethylene terephthalate, appears frequently in the sustainable fashion market. What it basically means is the recycled form of strong plastics such as water bottles, soda bottles, or food jars. In terms of clothing, rPET appears as recycled polyester. After transforming plastic waste into a fiber, recycled polyester wears and moves just like virgin polyester (but without all the guilt!).
The Textile Exchange is global non-profit rooted in created a cleaner fashion and textile industry. The organization defines itself as being a “guide and support to a growing community of brands, retailers, manufacturers, farmers, and others committed to climate action toward more purposeful production, right from the start of the supply chain.” Fun fact, our CEO John Kirsh was a founding member of the organization!
Traceability means that we can verify down to the exact cotton field our Arden V2 Jacket originated from. It is a concept that is talked about a lot in sustainable fashion because it allows the consumer to make the best decisions for not only themselves but for the planet and the people who produced their goods. Traceability is accounted for by certifications like GOTS and Fair Trade USA.