Thursday, May 8, 2008

How Green are Clothes?

"Thurulie, Sri Lanka - Prove it! That's how consumers ought to respond when presented with "guilt-free, socially responsible" products.

Spurred by consumer interest (and "green" profits), retailers now fill their stores with everything from No Sweatshop garments to sustainable timber. You can feel good about buying a T-shirt made without using child labor, or in purchasing ecofriendly detergent, fair-trade coffee, even "responsible" jewelry.

But judging competing social and environmental claims isn't so easy, and the task is getting more complex now that companies like Britain's Marks & Spencer are taking on climate change directly with a "carbon free" lingerie factory in Sri Lanka promising a garment produced entirely with renewable energy.

Yes, "green lingerie" is here, but should the retailer emblazon the item with a "carbon free" label and expect consumers to fully understand and accurately evaluate – let alone be receptive to – purchasing such a product?

Just how "green" is that shirt, dress, or blouse?"

Read the article