Sometimes unpopular, yet sustainable, decisions!
My last newsletter article highlighted the negative impact of fast fashion on the workers and the environment – an industry that is not sustainable.
Last Saturday evening, many of us enjoyed the celebration of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s marriage and the internet has been awash with images, articles and opinions since. Disappointingly, there was much criticism of the outfit chosen by the Duchess of Cambridge, not only because some regard wearing white or ivory to someone else’s wedding a faux pas, but also because she has worn it before. How refreshing! A woman who is prepared to wear her clothes more than once, even when she has worn them to significant events and has been much photographed (Princess Charlotte’s christening, an official visit to Belgium and at the Trooping of the Colour) – what a role model to our young people who can be averse to wearing things more than once because they posted to Instagram. Adding to this, the now Duchess of Sussex chose Stella McCartney to design and make her evening dress, a company that prioritises sustainability and features this in their mission statement.
People, Planet & Profit: Triple Bottom Line business model
At times, the term sustainability is used synonymously with conservation of the environment, but it is more than that. True sustainability occurs when development addresses all priorities of the Triple Bottom Line business model (shown by the overlapping circles in the above image): People, Planet & Profit. The United Nations have refined this model to include five critical components: People, Prosperity, Peace, Partnership & Planet. From this, the UN’s 17 Goals for Sustainable Development have been born.
In the lead up to Loreto Day, the team of students on the Sustainability Committee have been working hard to review practices to reduce the impact of the day on the environment, while still raising significant funds and thus addressing the overlap of Prosperity (Profit) and Planet. This week in Conversation Period with Year 11, three students from the Loreto Day Sustainability Committee spoke with confidence and bravery to their cohort to deliver the news that the traditional Loreto Day screen-printed white t-shirts were going to be retired, effective immediately. Prior to this decision, the committee members had been trying to source ethical t-shirts. They discovered there was not a truly ethical option available when they considered the environmental degradation and exploitation of workers involved in the manufacture of white t-shirts (as summarised in this video), especially when these t-shirts are worn once, on average. This bold decision about changing a tradition (for which they are congratulated) considers the overlap between People and Planet. As the image shows, the challenge in addressing these components is whether the change is bearable and indeed it is!
Mrs Elizabeth Cranfield