Why do we care about sustainability?

'Business' comes from the Old English word 'bisignis', which eventually evolved into 'busyness'. And what business isn't busy?

But maybe the question should be refocused: what businesses are busy changing and improving?

Whether we recognise it or not, businesses bear a huge portion of the responsibility for nature on their shoulders because we are able to create the biggest impact. So at Cornelia James, we see it as our duty and privilege to be a part of Prince Charles's Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI).

The initiative has given the opportunity for business leaders of all industries to come together and discuss the environmental issues we are facing. It cannot be denied there have been plenty of priceless advancements given to us by nature's resources. The problem lies, however, with how these resources are being taken.

What have we learnt so far?

At the plastics roundtable in March 2021, leading business people from a variety of industries discussed the advantages and disadvantages of plastics. Among other advantages, it was found that plastic products allowed for energy savings equivalent to 53 million tonnes of fossil fuel. Plastic packing's low density reduces fuel consumption in transportation and keeps food fresh for longer, reducing food waste. These are some incredible benefits, but plastics aren't without their faults as we now know.

Producing, manufacturing and recycling plastics uses a lot of energy which largely comes from fossil fuels, directly generating greenhouse gas emissions. Copious amounts of plastic waste are discarded or put into landfill. Not to mention, plastics can eventually enter the food chain and damage animal life. The banning of plastic straws was a step in the right direction to protect sea life, but more needs to be done. It is high time we start to give back and prioritise our planet. The SMI’s Terra Carta aims to do just that by giving nature its deserved fundamental rights.

What about the fashion industry?

The fashion industry, like most other industries, can affect the environment terribly. For example, washing garments made from synthetic fabrics releases around 1,900 microfibres into the water, which ultimately end up in our oceans. Small aquatic organisms ingest the microfibres, who are eaten by small fish, who are then eaten by bigger fish. This is one way plastic finds its way into our food chain. Another huge issue within the fashion industry is the amount of textile waste produced every year by people disposing of their old clothes, as well as companies discarding unused materials and faulty items.

How are we helping?

We know that there are better ways of structuring and conducting business that don't have to compromise the future of our planet. By putting nature at the forefront of our business plan, we put life at the forefront of our business plan - the best profit we could hope for.

The best way to do this? Quality craftsmanship, of course. And luckily, we have specialised in this since 1946. We have always used ‘eco-friendly’ fabrics, like organic cotton, leather, cashmere and wool, reducing the contribution of plastic into our food chains as well as the amount of greenhouse gas and carbon emissions it takes to produce the fabrics.

Our glovemakers have years of expertise under their belts and pride themselves on making gloves that will last, providing they are properly cared for. You won’t need to throw them out and replace them every year because as well as being exceptionally well made, our range of timeless designs means you will never be out of fashion.

So while you’re buying beautiful, quality gloves made from the best fabrics, you have peace of mind that you are also making the move to sustainable fashion. For us, it just makes sense.

A challenge...

It's time to come together - businesses and customers - and change course. Uniting as a team will only make us stronger in the fight for sustainability. A global team is needed for global change. These changes can sometimes be difficult to implement and we are always learning, but what matters is that we all try. It isn’t a matter of ‘if’ or ‘when’ — our mission starts now.