The answer lies in the soil

The answer lies in the soil
British comedian Kenneth Horne's radio show "Beyond Our Ken" featured a gardener called Arthur Fallowfield, played by Kenneth Williams. His response to any question was always, "the answer lies in the soil".

It probably ages me that I even know about that little piece of trivia or that Kenneth Williams was part of the “Carry on” movies team, so let me explain our interest in that.

The science is clear in stating that the primary cause of the climate crisis is an excess of carbon dioxide and other gases that trap heat in the atmosphere.

The Sustainable Business network and ‘Usedfully’ (A Wellington based Group focused on the reuse of unwanted clothing and textiles, preventing them from going to landfill) have presented the Government with a six-part plan to prioritise the reduction of emissions within the clothing and textile industry in New Zealand.

Their report focus is on the significant amount of landfill rubbish that is made up of textiles.

So, the answer lies in the soil, at both ends of the supply chain.

The garment industry is deeply implicated. From petroleum-based synthetic fabrics, polyester threads, to waterproofing treatments and shipping clothes in plastic mailbags, we are enmeshed in carbon emissions. So, there is a lot to change, but we are working on it.

Global Culture has set an ambitious, but attainable goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 across our business. We have also started the process of becoming B Corp certified.

It is a great goal to have, but we haven’t made a lot of noise about it because, well, some of it’s going to be really hard to achieve, and we prefer to talk about stuff we’ve actually done.

When we started the journey we held a common misperception that much, or most, of our carbon pollution came from transportation. In fact, 86% of our emissions come from the raw materials we use and their supply chains. So, for us the path from the farm to our Merino garment is an example of a really important step.

This year we have shifted Merino products to a New Zealand supplier who knits our 100% merino fabric here in New Zealand and then uses New Zealand labour to manufacture our garments. They then walk the finished product across the road to our factory in Christchurch in reusable cardboard boxes. Now that’s a step worth taking.

Step one of many.

Each week on TV1 in New Zealand they broadcast a programme called Country Calendar. The programme highlights the huge strides being made by the farming community to reduce their footprint on the land they farm. They are planting native forests, reusing waste or by-products from their winery, or mussel farm, fencing of protecting waterways and generally caring for their soil. ‘Usedfully’ advocates that products made from synthetics be considered plastics and levied for the harmfulness at end of life. Garments made 100% from natural fibres should be treated as organic as they pose a significantly reduced risk to our soil.

Now that might be another great step for us. Then the answer will lie in what we as an industry return to the soil.

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