Close
 

Ethical purchasing: Why we feel guilty purchasing from Kmart

  • Opinion
  • November 29, 2018
  • Hemma Vara
Ethical purchasing: Why we feel guilty purchasing from Kmart

In Auckland city, a passionate group came together for a talk on Ethical Fashion by New Zealand industry experts. The event was organised by Outliv, and sponsored by Grid AKL. 

The panel was hosted by Natalie Cutler-Welsh, and featured editor of Good magazine Carolyn Enting, sustainable blogger Ethically Kate, founder of OKI for all Kerith McKenzie-Brown, and Laurie Foon, founder of the Sustainable Business Network. 

The talk started with a robust discussion around the problem with fast fashion. Kerith noted that the main problem for consumers is appreciating why a t-shirt should cost more than $8. Kate says that people sometimes apologise to her when they say they bought a cheap Kmart t-shirt. Kate doesn't want people apologising to her. It's not her that they're harming, but those being exploited throughout the supply chain. 

The Rana Plaza tragedy was something the industry and consumers could not unsee. As Carolyn puts it, everyone has to wear clothes, and a pivotal shift in thinking is attributed to portrayals in the media of poor working conditions and discarded textiles in rubbish dumps. Now that people are feeling guilty when they purchase an $8 Kmart t-shirt, their mindsets are slowly shifting towards consuming more ethically.  

Turning to the impact of fashion on the environment, the apparel industry makes up 10% of the world's global carbon emissions. After oil, it is the second largest industrial polluter. With this in mind, Kerith believes we should give clothes a new life after wearing them. As a business owner, she says it's wise to offer a product rebate to control where her clothes end up, which also allows her to repurpose them for a second life. The circular economy is at play. 

So, what's the deal with shopping with fast fashion retailers? Will they change and adapt? And should we boycott them? 

Laurie says that when we buy from retailers, we consent to their production practices. So, for the likes of H&M, we should support their Conscious Collection. This signifies to them that this is what the customer wants - and they will then be motivated to improve their practices across the board. On this basis, we should also utilise H&M's Garment Collection Program for used and unwanted clothes, although the irony is that H&M's fast fashion practices combined with mass consumption by consumers assisted in creating this excess waste in the first place. 

Laurie proudly says that she recently bought pants from Country Road made of eco-friendly material REFIBRA™ (recycled cotton). We need to actively support these types of decisions, in order to encourage these companies to do more. We should engage with the staff in-store, as well as at a higher level. The likes of H&M and Country Road are the companies that have buying power, and the ultimate ability to improve working conditions and environmental processes. 

Helpfully, Kate reminded us that we also shouldn't flat-out boycott particular types of stores. For example, if everyone bought from an op-shop and never purchased anything new, it would ultimately be unsustainable for the economy. Kerith says that we shouldn't stop purchasing products in from other countries, as this is harming nations from developing. We need to diversify our approach if we want our impact to be broad and effective. 

Ultimately, New Zealand companies have a long way to go when it comes to innovations in sustainability. We need to take more risks, and invest in R&D.

Although the talk could have gone on forever, all good things must come to an end. It ended on a high note, with the message that we must be the change. Feeling inspired, we left armed with knowledge to push for better industry standards. 

​ ​

This is a community discussion forum. Comment is free but please respect our rules:

  1. Don’t be abusive or use sweary type words
  2. Don’t break the law: libel, slander and defamatory comments are forbidden
  3. Don’t resort to name-calling, mean-spiritedness, or slagging off
  4. Don’t pretend to be someone else.

If we find you doing these things, your comments will be edited without recourse and you may be asked to go away and reconsider your actions.
We respect the right to free speech and anonymous comments. Don’t abuse the privilege.

 

Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: How multi-level marketing works

The $200 million-plus direct sales economy contains many lessons retailers can use. As part of a wider look at this thriving corner of retail, we created a quick explainer showing how this business model typically works.

Read more
 
 

Direct sales: Meet the upliners

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the upliners

We profiled different participants in the direct sales industry to find out what retailers can learn from them. Meet Isagenix distributors Adam Nesbitt and Bianca Bathurst.

Read more
 
 

Direct sales: Meet the business builder

  • News
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sarah Dunn
Direct sales: Meet the business builder

As part of a wider story looking at what retailers can learn from the direct sales industry, we profiled Isagenix distributor Ben Frost.

Read more
 

Social scoreboard

Zavy and The Register have worked together to create a scoreboard that compares how the top 25 traditional media advertising spenders in New Zealand have performed on social media over the past 30 days, updated in real time.

 
topics
Concept to closet
Business coverage of New Zealand Fashion Week.
Town centres
A positive retail environment over the past 12 ...
Amazon Arrival
Keeping up with all things Amazon as it ...
The Retail Yearbook 2017
As we battle our way through the busiest ...
Hospitality enhancing retail
Some think food and integrated hospitality offerings will ...
The future is bright
We spoke with four retailers in their twenties ...
Spotlight on signage
At first glance, the humble in-store sign might ...
Red Awards 2016
The Red Awards for retail interior design celebrate ...
Auckland Unitary Plan
Auckland is changing. The Unitary Plan will decide ...
How to open a store
Sarah Dunn considers what it would take to ...
All things to all people
Kiwi retailers share their omnichannel strategies.
Rising stars
Retail's top young achievers.
Delivering on your promises
The sale isn't over until your item is ...
Retail in heartland New Zealand
Retailers keep the regions pumping, but how strong ...
Sisterhood
Women in retail help one another. We spoke ...
The changing face of retail
Shifting demographics are creating big changes in New ...
The retail yearbook
With the help of experts in the retail ...
Retail rogues
We put the spotlight on staff training. Jai ...
Here come the giants
Topshop has arrived in Auckland’s CBD, David Jones ...
Window shopping: A spotlight on social media
Sarah Dunn and Elly Strang look at how ...
From retail to e-tail
Ecommerce has become part of the way mainstream ...
Loyalty in the digital age
How are retailers maintaining loyalty? Sarah Dunn, Elly ...
The Innovators | In partnership with Spark Business
Technology is rapidly changing the retail industry as ...
 
News

Leveling up: Exploring multi-level marketing in New Zealand

Is the $200 million-plus direct sales economy retail by another name or something different? Regardless, what can we learn from it?

 
 

A spectrum of retailers

  • Opinion
  • April 18, 2019
  • David Farrell
A spectrum of retailers

In recognition of April being Autism Awareness Month, retail commentator Dave Farrell considers the role of those on the spectrum in retail.

Read more
 

How on-trend is your retail business?

  • Sponsored Content
  • April 18, 2019
  • Sponsored content
How on-trend is your retail business?

New insights from Visa highlight five evolving trends emerging from savvy retailers around the world. We’ve taken these global trends and looked at how they are playing out with merchants in New Zealand, and we’d now like to hear what you think of them.

Read more
 
Next page
Results for
Topics
Jobs
About us.

The Register provides essential industry news and intelligence, updated daily. And the digital newsletter delivers the latest news to your inbox twice a week — for free!

©2009–2015 Tangible Media. All rights reserved.
Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy policy.

Advertise
The Register

editor@theregister.co.nz

Content marketing/advertising? Email anita.hayhoe@icg.co.nz or call 022 639 3004

View Media Kit

}