Do you know the process that went into the creation of your favorite clothes? By this, we're asking if you truly understand the journey that raw materials took before they ended up on the shelves of your local retail store.
It's all too easy to breeze past this question as we shop the latest styles, but it's still important.
Are you looking for some new footwear to add to your collection? Whether you need new sandals, slippers, casual shoes or sneakers, you can find responsibly sourced shoes made by a variety of well-known brands.
What does this mean and why does it matter? Today, we're diving into the topic of responsible sourcing, helping you make a wise and eco-friendly decision the next time you shop!
What Is Responsible Sourcing?In short, companies that practice responsible sourcing have made a critical, voluntary commitment to do things a little differently. Specifically, they've taken vast measures to consider both social and environmental aspects as they choose and manage their supplier relationships.
What does this mean? It means they follow ethical business practices not only at the most public level, but throughout their entire supply chain. This covers the way they approach:
- Labor standards
- Employee health and safety
- Environmental impact
Responsible Sourcing vs. Fast FashionHave you heard of the "fast fashion" concept? Put simply, it's the process of manufacturing clothing and accessories at the cheapest rate possible, with the output being equally low-quality. It's what's usually at work when you see an article of clothing marked at a steep discount in mega stores around the country. Fast fashion is focused on cool. It's focused on trendy. Unfortunately, it's decidedly not focused on ethics. Sure, everyone loves a $5 shirt or a $10 pair of athletic shoes. However, there's often a less desirable manufacturing system at work behind those low dollar amounts. They're made at breakneck speed and without care or caution, which explains why most of them wear out sooner than you'd like. Fast fashion manufacturers closely watch the catwalk and fashion houses to determine what's currently on trend in the fashion space. Then, they take any measure necessary to replicate and reproduce these items at a price point that's virtually impossible to ignore. Rather than focusing on worker safety or product integrity, they dedicate their resources to mass production.
The Standards That Define This ApproachMost of the main cornerstones of responsible sourcing center around making sure employees are treated fairly and with respect. This practice is also focused on reducing the overall enviornmental impact of production and protecting the land rights of ingidenous communities. A few of the common standards you'll find include:
- Conducting business lawfully and with integrity
- Ensuring work is conducted on a voluntary basis
- Ensuring workers are an appropriate age
- Ensuring workers are paid fairly for their work
- Setting realistic work hours
- Protecting the health and safety of workers
- Embracing sustainablity and eco-friendly practices
What Are Responsibly Sourced Shoes?As their name implies, responsibly sourced shoes are shoes that are made following the business standards and practices described above. They might cost a little more than the fast fashion ones you can pick up on your lunch break, but the quality is higher and the manufacturing process is more humane. Today, more retailers than ever before are embracing the sustainable fashion model. Sure, you could go to your local big box store and find a relatively inexpensive pair of sneakers or casual shoes, pay for them, and go about your day. However, this kind of customer experience does little to reveal the many steps that the product goes through before it hits the shelves. Unless you intentionally seek out brands that are committed to responsible sourcing, you could be indirectly contributing to an unethical or socially unjust business model. Of course, this explanation isn't to cast blame, but to reveal that there's a better, easier way.
Different Styles AvailableDo you think that your choices are limited when you're seeking sustainable, responsibly sourced footwear? You might believe that since this term is somewhat new, your options may be few. Increasingly, the exact opposite is becoming true. As big-name athletic brands come public and declare that they're now developing products with sustainability in mind, they're also taking a closer look at their sourcing practices and vowing to improve them. For you, that means your selection is now more vast than you imagined, covering everything from toddler shoes to men's sneakers. On our site, we make it easy to shop by companies that follow this business model, offering selections from established favorites, as well as new and emerging brands, including: