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While figures were announced this week that the milk industry lost approximately 240 million in sales for the previous year, the rise of vegan alternatives for meat, dairy and other products continue to grow.
Tesco’s have stated that the demand for vegan alternatives to ready meals and snacks has soared to over 40%. People who identify themselves as vegan in the UK have soared to 500,000.
This is all exacerbated by the rise in the celebrity vegan, from Brad Pitt to Miley Cyrus taking up a meat free diet and being open about the cause on social media.
We are so honoured to have won the Best Green category at the Independent handbag awards in New York. It was the ever popular Bailey Black Saddle that won it and thanks must go out to Lucy Housman, Sophie Bailey, Eeva Rinne, Lucy Orr Ewing, Emily Eden and Jordan Delarosa. A special mention also to Ali Abbas a Wilby website designer who tragically passed away last year and to Martin Housman who has obtained a serious injury and has been a massive supporter of Wilby.
We are glad the efforts of the Bailey collection have been noticed as not only are they vegan but they are sustainable; they are made from new technology cork whereby the cork bark is peeled from the tree and subsequently regenerates. All bags in this collection are hand made in the UK.
Wilby has been nominated for the Independent Bag Awards under the Basic Adhesives Green Bag Award. We would like to say a big thank you to Emily and Marina at the Independent Bag Awards for all of their help and support. It is an honour to be recognised for our green ethics and design and the Bailey Saddle bag (the bag that is nominated) is made from sustainable cork and eco – friendly glue, it is also made in the UK and has been worn by well known vegan celebrities such as Alicia Silverstone.
We are also in the running for the Instyle award where you can vote for the Bailey Saddle bag below:
Many of you may have seen in the news this week that the Oscar-winning actor met the meme sensation ‘Salt BAE’ real name Nusret Gökçe, while dining out in the Dubai branch of his steakhouse chain.
Salt Bae captured the moment on Instagram in a picture which shows him seasoning DiCaprio’s steak as the actor looks on. You are now probably wondering why a vegan fashion brand is writing about this celebrity fuelled moment: The issue is with the steak itself.
We are a big fan of Leonardo at Wilby; with him being an avid environmentalist, who has even divested from the funding of fossil fuel companies and has released a documentary. But he needs to be informed (or reminded) that one of the most harmful things an individual can do for the environment is to eat steak on the regular. Although there is a strong possibility that the steak was wonderfully organic and bred on a small scale, it goes against the tone we are setting as environmentalists and it is not the first time he has been filmed with meat.
It brings a larger issue that is seen in such documentaries as Cowspiracy, that many environmentalists are still obsessed with C02 and only C02. They still do not realise that methane (animal agriculture a large contributor) and other gases are far worse, trap more heat and something that would be relevant for Leonardo: It is the largest contributor to deforestation in the amazon.
This combined with the amount of water, energy and land it takes to consume a meat based diet, the health benefits of veganism and vegetarianism, it is time for all environmentalists to jump on the bandwagon and denounce regular meat eating.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has approved plans for fracking at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site at Little Plumpton in Lancashire. Environmentalists and local campaign groups reacted angrily, saying that it was a denial of local democracy.
It means, for the first time, UK shale rock will be fracked horizontally, which is expected to yield more gas. Last year the Lancashire County Council refused to permit fracking at the site last year due to noise and traffic impact. The fracking companies (of course) appealed.
What is shocking is that neither the community or the council are supporting the shift but the move still continues. The Communities Secretary continues the onslaught of horizontal fracking, not for the good of the communities (which ironically is his job title) but for the good of the businesses looking to do the fracking.
There is of course the trouble with paradigms: The government seem to believe that in order to solve energy issues, we can replace fossil fuels with another fossil fuel (If you take a trip to Heathrow airport you can see the various advertisements explicitly explaining this in a shameless promotion of fracking). This concept is persistent despite the the non renewable concept and despite the danger and reduced life quality of the communities having to endure it.
As we know, a major obstacle for the for brands that have forms of ethical sourcing and trading is that they continuously compete with fast fashion. At least 40% of clothes are purchased from value retailers. With fast fashion, it is also a quantity based market and it shows: Women are buying 33% more clothes than at the turn of the century and 4 times as many items as in 1980.
The real pressure in this environment of course is handed to the garment workers in Bangladesh , Sri Lanka and many other places where their production targets may only just remain within human capability. The conditions are, a lot of the time, not worthy of any carbon based life form. So what can we do to defeat the fast fashion business model? It’s simple buy from transparent companies with humane factory conditions and buy less.
Our vegan bags at Wilby for example, are mainly made in the UK (two ranges are made in China with strict factory protocol). Materials are organic where possible which is important for a whole other range of issues. We also recommend looking on the Ethical Fashion Forum and other great companies such as Beyond skin who have great vegan shoes that are made in Europe.
Of course another issue is pricing. In a world where the speed is ever increasing, when in a rush do we have time to pick and choose or is it easier to pick up the five pound top on the way home? Prices are locked down by cheap labour which puts pressure on companies that have a more expensive and organic process. Many brands with a conscience still have to outsource abroad at times.
With all the talks of the consequences of Brexit, the majority of people and politicians are avoiding the most important issue of our time: Environmental progress.
We have just heard that Siemens will be freezing further UK wind power investment and the Country has a bad track record of proactively approaching domestic environmental issues. We hope that the Paris agreement will remain a target.
As a member of the European Union, the U.K. is signed up to the Renewable Energy Directive, which requires the EU as a whole to “fulfil at least 20 percent of its total energy needs with renewables by 2020″, according to the European Commission.
Amber Rudd, The Secretary of State for Climate Change, seemed to assure the green-conscious after the referendum result:”We’re still committed to making sure consumers have secure, affordable and clean energy now and in the future.” But this statement is vague and seems to stress the importance of affordable energy rather than the environmental targets that have already been put in place.
It will simply be a case of seeing what happens, look at your local green projects and if cutbacks are announced, it’s time to write to MPs.
We all know that the answer to clean energy is not to use other fossil fuels. At Wilby we believe in the idea of striving and achieving sustainability and with so many alternate sources of energy evolving, we wonder if the current government will utilise them. In retrospect, we are delighted with the news that solar powered energy has doubled in the U.K in the last two years in the U.K.
Here is the acclaimed actor Mark Ruffalo, calling out the Prime Minister on his fracking policies. In his words, you are making an ‘enormous’ mistake.
One of the main factors of high quality fashion brands is sustainability: whether it be the durability of the product or the continual tendencies of trend and style. However, the viability of fashion seems somewhat minor in the vast scale of global sustainable issues as environmental concern has seen a complete tumult in the last 50 years. Our self -sufficiency as a planet has become the fixation of the millennium and there are forever more and more gadgets and methods to prolong our renewable existence. Moving towards sustainability as a global concept is a target that entails ‘international and national law, urban planning and transport, local and individual lifestyles and ethical consumerism.’
Only in the late 1970s did the 1979 energy crisis in the US cause a crucial reorganisation of energy policies around the world, and since then we have seen the uprise of alternative energy sources, particularly naturally replenishable substitutes that provide an eco friendly answer to so many pressing matters.
In the list below we can see the top 10 most sustainable countries in the world in terms of air pollution, water quality and the effectiveness of each countries climate change policy. (It’s important to note the Costa Ricas sustainability levels have increased dramatically in 2015)
3. Costa Rica
However, it is clear looking at the top 10 that these countries are not necessarily the most economically powerful countries in the world. Is that a sacrifice that the industrially ambitious countries have to take or is there a future for the mutual alignment of the two?
For example, if we look at China’s sustainability issues, it is evident that its economic development is a vast and growing hindrance. It transgresses from solar panels and hybrid cars to ‘cancer villages’ and the famously toxic air pollution. Despite a now prosperous middle class, China’s sustainability is hinged on the widening abyss between its rich and poor and its evidently critical environmental problems.
This is just an example of how sustainability is not just an economic capability that can keep itself afloat but a harmony between environmental durability and a prosperous socio-economic balance.
By Lucy Orr-Ewing