Incorporating Sustainable Business Practices
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By Audrey Taylor
As of 2021, the global need for social and environmental responsibility is greater than ever. As awareness spreads around the world, consumers are becoming more cautious of which businesses they are loyal to based on company values and ethics. In many cases, they are turning their trust to local retailers as opposed to major chains because transparency seems more achievable in these settings.
However, as a small business owner looking for ways to incorporate more sustainable practices, you might find yourself asking “where do I even start?” Oftentimes when ordering fashion inventory, the products have already gone through many steps in the supply chain before they reach the retailer. At that point, it is hard for an independent store owner to gain full transparency throughout that process themselves.
Typically, when people think of sustainable fashion, they tend to focus on where the clothes are made and the materials used to make them. While these are both important considerations for ethical and sustainable fashion, they are only a portion of the bigger picture. According to the >> EPA, 11.3 million tons of textiles were received by landfills in 2018, and only 13% of clothing and footwear were recycled by Americans that year.
Rather than feeling overwhelmed by aspects that are out of your control as a merchant, focus on more sustainable practices that you CAN control. Some of these practices are things that you can start implementing immediately. Reducing textile waste in our landfills is an effort that you and your customers can easily partner together to achieve.
For the past 15 years, OFFPRICE’s official charitable partner >> SOLES4SOULS has been empowering the fashion industry to get involved and make a meaningful difference environmentally and socially. By offering a variety of ways to get involved, wholesalers and retailers who partner with S4S are able to implement meaningful practices that reduce excess garment waste while simultaneously helping developing economies around the globe.
Many small businesses already host clothing/shoe drives or donate excess inventory to local charities. However, the advantage of partnering with >> SOLES4SOULS is the ability to not only donate gently used clothing and/or excess new inventory, but also support the creation of jobs in developing communities through their >> MICRO-ENTERPRISE program, which helps hard-working entrepreneurs start their own small businesses selling the donated clothing and shoes.
Partnering with S4S enables you to be more transparent about your business’ sustainable practices and get your customers involved in the efforts. With over 1,200 non-profit partners who help distribute donations, S4S is truly making a global impact through the fashion industry.
Download their How to Get Involved guide >> HERE, and stop by their BOOTH #2311 at OFFPRICE Las Vegas, August 7-10