The secret of “sustainable apparel companies”
Many companies are trying to improve their image by promoting themselves as environmentally friendly and human rights conscious. In particular, this trend has become very active in the apparel industry over the past few years. In response to this, it is necessary for consumers to be aware of the need not only to take seriously all the claims made by companies but also to ensure that appeals for environmental and human rights considerations that are only intended to appeal to consumers do not exonerate businesses that are not actually sustainable.
In a society where “good cost performance” is important …
You already know that apparel companies generally make a business by stimulating consumers’ purchasing desires and making them buy products.
In Japan, YouTube and SNS posts introducing trendy products have become extremely popular, especially among 10- to 30-year-olds, and in many cases, these posts have led to consumer purchases. Many companies request PR from popular creators/influencers. The popularity of manufacturers whose products are in a price range that even teenagers can easily afford is rising in Japan.
However, most inexpensive clothing is produced in developing countries, which in most cases presents low wage problems and worker health issues. If an apparel manufacturer were to do everything in its power to help a sustainable society, it would be difficult to make a profit and not easy to sustain operations.
What do you imagine when you hear the term “cosmetic products?”
Is the price lower than the value of the product, and is it long-term?
Different people value different kinds of things. But how much time (conceiving the design, preparing the order, producing and shipping, etc.) and sacrifice (labor issues, environmental impact) went into that product?
It is difficult for consumers who just pick up that product to see the story of the product. It is not desirable for them to see a story that is inconvenient for a company that sells a product, especially one that is mass-produced and unusually inexpensive.
It is also not generally a good idea to buy only products from companies that promote sustainability in the dark.
Please take a look at the websites of popular large apparel companies in Japan that introduce the SDGs. Even if the company’s website has a big appeal with phrases such as “Let’s move the world in a better direction,” the pages that describe what the company actually does or how the company solves problems are not introduced. You cannot confirm specific solutions or activities supporting these claims.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies like that in Japan. There may be “things” that companies do not want to disclose publicly about what they do to deliver affordable, quality, and cost-effective products.