Ocean’s Angels- Are they really answering our sustainability prayers?
As summer is well underway, many will now be diving into continental seas, or perhaps dipping tentative toes into slightly colder water here at home. For those of you making a splash, now seems a good time to raise awareness concerning the high levels of waste plastic in our oceans; and point to those who are making waves in innovative technology and design to overcome our ocean’s burgeoning problem.
Plastic waste now accounts for up to 80% of the total debris in the oceans. It is the number one source of pollution in the oceans, and is symptomatic of the disposable lifestyle many are defined by. Killing over a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals every year, tainting the natural beauty of coastlines across the world, and disrupting an entire eco-system, our throwaway use of plastic is not sustainable. However, there are now designers (like here at Ruby Moon) trying to wean themselves off what ethical designer Cyrill Gutsch’s calls, the plastic “drug”- by using recycled ocean plastic, fishing nets and debris in their products.
Adidas and Stella McCartney : Parley Ultra Boost X Trainers made from Ocean Plastic
Adidas, (who in the past have been known for their unethical practices) have teamed up with sustainable fashion pioneer Stella McCartney, and environmental group Parley for the Oceans, to create a running shoe. While it is currently only the upper that is made from recycled ocean plastic, each pair of shoes does contain up to eleven plastic bottles. The trainers signal a change in direction for Adidas as a brand and the trainer industry itself. In a clever marketing move the first 50 pairs could not be bought, but had to be won in a video competition requiring entrants to demonstrate their commitment to ending single use plastic items.
Following the success of this enterprise, they have joined forces again in creating a collection of swimwear made from upcycled fishing nets and debris.
G-Star RAW- Pharrell Williams
Similarly, Dutch denim company G-Star RAW have launched a collection of denim garments made from recycled ocean plastics. In collaboration once again with Parley for the Oceans, as well as textile company Bionic Yarn, the tag line: “Turning the tide on ocean plastic pollution” indicates a change in the fashion world and the insurgence of recycled plastic as a breakthrough material. Their partnership with singer Pharrell Williams also signals the ever-increasing presence of celebrities in the fight for sustainable fashion. (See recent blog post on 10 Celebrities endorsing ethical fashion).
While such efforts by G-Star and Adidas do exemplify a positive new trend developing among fast-fashion brands; questions can be raised about the genuine intentions of such marketing- and the actual sustainability of products. Using plastic to make denim for example, whether recycled or not, fails to consider the future of the product within the cradle-to-cradle design structure. Recycled plastic still ultimately remains non-biodegradable. 100% organic cotton could be considered as a more appropriate or sustainable material for making denim.
Such a failure to consider the life-cycle of a material, could point to the possibility of these products, which are marketed under the guise of sustainability; being sold simply to fill the gap in the market, and jump on the sustainability ‘band waggon’ that is increasingly gaining momentum.
Similarly, the Adidas trainer (as mentioned before) is marketed as being “Made from Parley Ocean Plastic”- yet only a minor part of the shoe is made so. If we are to be purists about the sourcing of materials and the actual sustainability of them, (as we are here at Ruby Moon), these factors then have to be considered.
Spark- Recycled Plastic Beach Huts
Parley for the Oceans work with Adidas and G-Star has now also influenced architecture designers. Spark’s series of beach huts in Singapore resemble giant pine cones, and are also crucially made from recycled ocean plastic. Their location along the East Coast Park not only works practically by providing shade for tourists, but act as bold visual reminders of the effects of ocean plastic.
Terazzo Effect Table- Brodie Neill
Brodie Neill’s terrazzo effect table is carefully curated from small pieces of plastic, recovered from beaches in Tasmania, Hawaii and Cornwall. The blue, white, brown and green chips of plastic merge beautifully into a speckled top resembling the ocean. Neill’s work was commissioned for the London design biennale in 2016, the theme being centred around ‘Utopia by Design’. Neill’s use of the recycled plastic for his work in relation to this theme, interestingly highlights the role this material could play in the creation of a better world; Utopia meaning an imagined place where everything is perfect.
Lush- Green Spun Knot Wrap:
Lush have introduced a more old-world way of packing products- that does not involve wasting paper. The innovative and sustainable mode of knot wrapping something, pays homage to the Japanese tradition of “Furoshiki”. Wrapping a product in a beautifully decorated piece of reusable material, not only looks more presentable when giving gifts, but saves the planet. They can also be used to wrap your lunch, act as an individual hair scarf, or an impromptu picnic blanket- who knew one item could have so many potential uses?
Sustainable Development Goals ARE ‘Life Goals’
You may have heard or seen the phrase, “#Life Goals” splashed across social media recently. A fabulous, minimalist mansion with pool overlooking Californian coastline. A model-esque couple camping in scenic countryside with absolutely no sign of rain, cows, or cow dung. A woman doing yoga and drinking a fruit smoothie and posting about it on social media, at the same time. The posts captioned “Life Goals” (always accompanied with the heart eyes emoji), as inspirational as they can be: fail to include a bigger, and more pressing picture.
I would like to highlight a new set of ‘life goals’ that should be taking precedence and getting more attention on social media. With our climate situation growing ever scarier, and extreme poverty rates and inequality continuing to persist across the world, it’s time to discuss the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. If there ever were a set of goals aimed at creating a good life for all, and that work at “transforming our future”, these are it. Having been mentioned in a blog post on Ruby Moon last year, let’s return to this important step one year on and see how things have changed.
In September 2015, the UN introduced a set of 17 goals for countries to adopt, all aimed at driving towards a more sustainable future. These goals include; No Poverty, Zero Hunger, Responsible Consumption and Production, Decent Work and Economic Growth and Gender Equality. Doubtless, some are slightly more ambitious than others, yet the provision of a solid set of targets for countries and businesses to follow is a step in the right direction.
Prior to their release, it should be mentioned many of these goals were already at the core of Ruby Moon’s values. We can proudly say that we officially align with 6 of the targets, which are listed on our products tags. Needless to say, we aim to uphold all of these tenets, with sustainability at the very heart of the business.
Our sustainable six are:
No Poverty, 2. Gender Equality, 3. Decent work and economic growth, 4. Responsible consumption and production, 5. Climate action, 6. Life below water
It’s been 2 years since the goals were put into place- how effective have they been?
Surveys taken in 2016 showed that businesses were being slow to take on the goals effectively. There is still a disparity between those businesses who have sustainability at the helm of their business plan, and those who still see it as an inconsequential ‘add on’. In fact, fewer than half of global businesses plan to even engage with the goals (Ethical Corporation’s State of Responsibility Report 2016), particularly in the US.
An article in The Guardian revealed that subsequently there appears to be an increasing trust issue between consumers (interestingly, especially with ‘millenials’) and businesses; with 81% of millennials believing it is the task of the business to achieve these SDG’s, yet they fail to.
There still appears to be an imbalance between attitude and actual action. What has to be considered however, is the very breadth of the goals and the difference in urgent need for them depending on the country.
For example, it was revealed that some goals have been more successful than others. Climate action was paid the most attention by businesses (63%), yet the broader and as mentioned, slightly more ambitious goals such as zero hunger and zero poverty, were less supported (20% and 22% respectively). This may have something to do with the priority the goals have, based on the individual countries need for them. In developed countries, such primary issues such as hunger and extensive poverty may be less of a pressing issue than in developing countries; instead more focus might be placed on more post-consumerist issues such as climate change.
This considered, the SDG’s are still getting out there, with certain companies such as Siemens, Marks&Spencer, Danone and and UniLever being praised for their action on specific SDG’s- their very creation serving as a universal acknowledgement for a need for them. They do say admitting there is a problem is the first step in fixing the problem.
So how can you make these your new ‘Life Goals?
The Sustainable Development Goals website offers ‘The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World’. You don’t have to be part of a business to help save our future, you can simply do it from your couch! Tips and tricks like turning off lights, using refillable water bottles and buying clothes sustainably are all easy and accessible ways that you can help.
These Sustainable Development Goals should be everyone’s ‘life goals’.
Guardian article: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/sep/30/businesses-ignore-un-sustainable-development-goals-survey
An ethical summer holiday packing list
Summer is officially here and it’s the perfect time to take some time off work and head away to sunbathe by the sea, whether that’s your local beach or a plane’s journey away! As with any shopping spree, we’ve got to remember to shop sustainably when looking for some last-minute holiday purchases. Here’s a compilation of brands you can look to for all your summer essentials!
The number of days you’re going away for will determine just how much you need to pack in terms of clothing. Remember to bring a jumper for the cooler nights, and bear in mind that you’ll often be wearing little more than your swimming costume so there’s no need to bring your whole wardrobe!
Recycled or second-hand clothing can be bought from websites like People Tree, Bushbells, Rokit or Beyond Retro, or you could try Ebay or your nearest charity shop to pick up some new pieces at a fraction of their original price. For comfy but light closed-toe flats, we recommend Toms, and recycled tyre flip-flops from The Whale Company if you’re looking for something a little lighter.
You’ll obviously be needing some swimwear to soak up the sun in, so head over to the Rubymoon website and sign yourself onto our mailing list to receive 10% off your order. Try some recycled denim sunglasses from Mosevic, and you’ll need a beach towel such as the above pictures organic cotton towel from Etsy seller BloomOfCotton.
To carry all your makeup, try a makeup bag from Neema. Non-animal tested makeup can be purchased from Barry M, The Body Shop, Soap and Glory or Natural Collection. You’ll be needing more cruelty-free toiletries such as natural deodorant from Earth Conscious, sunscreen from Kiss My Face, soap from Lush and shampoo and conditioner from Yes To Blueberries.
On top of everything else, it is also useful to bring a portable charger like this one from Ethical Superstore, a reusable water bottle from One Green Bottle, and some bamboo pocket tissues from Who Gives A Crap.
Once you’ve packed all of this, plus your tickets, passport and foreign currency, you are ready to go with a suitcase full of ethical and sustainable products – have a lovely holiday!
HOW TO: Host a Vegan Summer Garden Party!
It’s no secret that summer is our favourite season. Days by the beach, walks in the sun, and of course – evening garden parties. But at RubyMoon, we love animals just as much as parties, so have been doing some research into which kinds of foods to serve to make sure our evening do is cruelty-free.
So, here’s a collection of some of our finds! There’s a section for everyone; whether you’re health-conscious, short on time, looking for some unique ideas or catering for the whole family – we’ve compiled our FAVOURITE vegan recipes for your summer garden party!
HEALTHY: At just 35 calories each, these egg-free mini quiches seemed too tasty to say no to!
EASY: A must-have for a garden dinner, this tomato pasta salad looks pretty simple to make.
DIFFERENT: Mexican potato skins, again relatively easy but quite unique.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY: And for the kids, smoky mini pizzas that can be topped with anything you fancy!
HEALTHY: A relatively healthy option, fruit salad – again, easily changeable to suit your tastes.
EASY: With just ten minutes prep time, lemon tarts are another summer favourite.
DIFFERENT: Banana and coconut cookies – an interesting combination of three ingredients that really works.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY: The combination of orange and carrot in these fruit juice lollies adds a few more vitamins into pudding!
HEALTHY: Although cocktails will never be overly healthy, this recipe for a pinot grigio melon ball spritzer contains four different types of fruit!
EASY: Here’s a mango and pineapple rum punch which only needs mixing together and you’re good to go!
DIFFERENT: A cocktail with only a hint of alcohol, pomegranate gin fizz is a lovely light choice for summer.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY: This two-step passionfruit syrup cocktail can easily be converted into a mocktail for the children.
And your final three ingredients? Plenty of iced water, a chilled music playlist (we’re loving this one), and some good company!
Ten Celebrities Endorsing Ethical Fashion
The ten household names that you may not have realised dress sustainably!
1. Emma Watson
Of course there couldn’t be an article about ethical fashion without mentioning Emma Watson, one of the most notable celebrities using their platform to incite positive change worldwide. Emma runs a website, Feel Good Style, promoting sustainable fashion and beauty brands, and has worked with fair-trade brand People Tree on three collections of organic, fair trade clothing. She signed up to Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge in 2015, vouching that every piece she wears on the red carpet will be sustainable.
Emma Watson in a jumper from Zady, a brand aiming to combat child labour, CO2 emissions and the throwaway nature of fast fashion, and Veja trainers made from recycled plastic and wild rubber.
2. Livia Firth
Film producer and wife of actor Colin Firth, Livia is arguably one of the biggest names in ethical fashion. As the founder and creative director of the brand Eco Age, Livia works with fashion businesses to develop sustainable solutions to the working of their company. Eco Age awards the Green Carpet Challenge Brandmark to brands in recognition of sustainable pieces or collections and encourages celebrities to wear these pieces to high-profile events, thus raising the profile of sustainable fashion within the public eye.
Livia Firth in Sergio Rossi’s shoes and bag, both of which were given the Green Carpet Challenge award.
3. Gwyneth Paltrow
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has quite a history in creating ethical and sustainable fashion, having worked on eco-friendly fashion lines with names such as Ecoalf and designer Stella McCartney. A notable collaboration was her fashion line produced with Amour Vert, consisting of shirts made from organic fabrics and low-impact dyes, where each sale corresponded to one tree being planted in the Tahoe National Forest.
Gwyneth wearing a jumper from a line of sustainable knitwear she created with Chinti and Parker.
Singer and producer Will.i.am has teamed up with Coca Cola to create Ekocycle, a brand aiming to emphasise the importance of recycling to the younger generation by turning old aluminium and plastic waste into clothing, luggage and bicycles. Ekocycle has collaborated with multiple household names to produce sustainable products, including Levis’ Waste-Less jeans, Beats headphones by Dr. Dre, and a range of outerwear with Adidas.
Will.i.am wearing an Ekocycle shirt at the brand’s New York launch.
5. Sir Richard Branson
Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand, has publicly spoken about the necessity of sustainability initiatives within business. In 2014, he and Vivienne Westwood launched a new range of Virgin Atlantic uniforms for pilots and cabin crew, to put his ethical fashion values into practice within his own company. The uniforms are all made from recycled materials, mostly a recycled polyester from old plastic bottles.
Some of the eco-friendly uniform options for Virgin staff.
6. Anne Hathaway
Although this has not yet spread to her entire wardrobe, actress Anne Hathaway has recently been noted to only wear vegan shoes at public events. She has endorsed ethical shoe company Beyond Skin in multiple photoshoots, personally requesting that her footwear be from this brand, and ensured that during production of 2012 film Les Miserables, her character Fantine was always dressed in animal-free shoes.
Anne wearing cruelty-free stilettos by designer Giuseppe Zanotti at the 2013 Oscars.
7. Natalie Portman
Vegan actress Natalie Portman mirrors her ethical diet in her clothing choices. She publicly wears ethical and sustainable fashion brands on red carpets, including dresses by H&M’s Conscious range and eco-friendly designer Stella McCartney. In a 2015 short film for Miss Dior, Natalie requested that her Dior shoes were re-designed to be leather-free. Most profoundly, her wedding ring is ethical; it is entirely made from recycled platinum and conflict-free diamonds.
A close-up of Natalie Portman’s wedding ring at the 2012 Oscars.
8. Pharrell Williams
Pop singer Pharrell Williams has used his profits to create positive change through becoming the company director of the brand Bionic Yarn. The company tis to reduce plastic pollution in oceans, using recycled coastal and marine plastics in its fabrics, to create functional and aesthetic clothing pieces. Pharrell is also involved with a denim line, RAW for the Oceans, which also uses recovered plastics from oceans and sustainable dyes to create blue denim jeans.
Pharrell dressed in a Bionic Yarn jacket.
9. Christy Turlington Burns
Supermodel Christy Turlington Burns recently worked on Amber Valletta’s series of short films, Threading: Driving Fashion Forward, which aimed to raise awareness of the issues of waste, violations of human rights, toxins and environmental impact within the fashion industry. Her non-profit organisation Every Mother Counts assists women in developing countries, describing the garment industry’s abuse of workers for the purpose of profit as a ‘failure of conscience’.
Christy in a dress by designer Stella McCartney, who uses organic fabrics in her designs and renewable energy in her stores.
U2 singer Bono is the founder of ethical fashion brand Edun Apparel, which he co-owns with his wife Ali Hewson. Their aim was to prove that a for-profit business can still treat its workers well no matter what stage of the production chain they are at. Edun has a strong trading relationship with multiple developing countries in Africa, supports community-based initiatives and is partners with many African artisans and artists to create fashion pieces.
Bono and wife Ali wearing Eden x Louis Vuitton bags for the Louis Vuitton Core Values campaign.
Why Straws Are For Suckers!
RubyMoon has seen a lot of press lately with regards to the detrimental effect of plastic straws pollution- from creating hazards to marine life in our oceans to clogging up landfill sites. Who can forget the facebook post of the turtle, in pain and bleeding, as a nasty straw was removed from its nostril? There is simply no need for plastic straws when biodegrable paper ones and re-usable ones are so readily available. We also heard about a great scheme in Brighton that is ending plastic straw use by innovative pledging across the city. Or- as Treehugger suggests, by introducing a tax on plastic straws ?
Which option do you think is better to change behaviour?
Twitter link to #StrawsAreForSuckers
Proud To Be Featured!
RubyMoon is thrilled to be featured in the online ethical publication Pebblemag.com
Lots of new active wear and swim wear companies coming online with great new products!
Come and join RubyMoon at the Open Market Brighton and get your #VeganMoonCake
The Modest Collection
Socially conscious active and swimwear brand Ruby Moon releases ‘The Modest Collection’ to celebrate all women, everywhere.
The mission behind RubyMoon is to make high quality, affordable products that are ethical and sustainable and empower women across the globe. Their designs are vibrant and full of life, using bold colour and fluid prints. The designer reflects all these attributes in their Modest Collection. Made up of long sleeve modest tops, leggings, shorts, sports bras, crop tops and surf tops; there is something for everyone in this collection. Each piece has been optimised for wear during both exercise and water-sports, enhancing a unique freedom for the wearer.
During this summer’s news of the burkini ban in France; RubyMoon were supporters of the #wear whatyouwant hashtag that flooded social media and standing proud, displaying banners on the front of Brighton beach. Not only accommodating Islamic fashion, RubyMoon’s Modest Collection celebrates a full spectrum of diversity, providing a choice for each women to ‘wear what they want!’
Made with care, Ruby Moon uses ECONYL – a sustainable material made from recycled fishing nets and other waste materials. Their swimwear has been validated to produce 42% less emissions compared to other high-street swimwear. AND what’s more, 100% net profits are lent out as small loans to empower women entrepreneurs! So far, Ruby Moon have made 170 loans; empowering families, communities, and women in 12 different nations – a change that will last for generations.
The Modest Collection is made up of four ‘exotically spirited’ prints, as well as using four block colours to deliver a punchy and dynamic active and swimwear collection. Ruby Moon has successfully delivered a marvelous product, accessible to each one of us, and helping us to play our part in bringing positive change.
Partner with Healthy Seas
We are delighted to become a partner with Heathy Seas 🐋They recover fishing nets from the sea and regenerate it into high-qualty ECONYL® yarn, which is turned into our Gym to Swim range and every purchase you make we give 1% to Healthy Seas. In 2013, 2014 and 2015 they have recovered and recycled 160 tons of nets from various countries in Europe.
Check out the link for more information: http://healthyseas.org/partners/