An Innovation Birmingham start-up has launched an online platform to enable shoppers to see the impacts of their clothing purchases on people, the planet, and animals more easily.
Interest in ethical living has grown substantially in recent months and years, with the ‘Blue Planet Effect’ bringing in a string of new regulations around plastic usage, and the growing vegan movement meaning that more and more people are looking at how the everyday items they buy are being made.
Clothing is an area of our lives which we often pass-by, but which can potentially have huge negative impacts on the world. The textiles industry is the second largest polluting industry in the world, producing more CO2 than maritime shipping and air travel combined (Forbes, 2015).
Around 0.5-3% of the cost of an item of clothing goes to the worker who makes it, meaning the vast majority of garment workers are paid below a living wage (Good on You, 2017). 10-20 thousand litres of water is used to manufacture just 1kg of cotton, causing water scarcity at the local level in places like Pakistan and India, where our clothes are made (The Guardian, 2015). And these are only the tip of the iceberg.
‘Buybetter’ aims to tackle these issues head-on by giving shoppers the information they need to make educated decisions about the clothes they buy. Clear ratings for brands for ‘Labour’, ‘Environment’, and ‘Animal Welfare’, provided by Good On You, allow the shopper to see how brands are doing at having a positive impact in each area.
The platform allows easy comparison between similar products from different brands, therefore enabling you to find the item which not only fits with your style and price-range, but also with the issues you care about.
Early customer, Alex Dickens, has called it "a great resource and shopping site for those who want their fashion sustainable and ethical”.
‘Buybetter’ was set up by Chris Brees, Ella Ross, and George Dibble, who joined Innovation Birmingham's e4f programme in March 2018. The team’s combined background in social action projects, social enterprise start-ups, coding and social media has given them the motivation and ability to create a tool, and a brand, which is not only “highly useful” but also has the “potential to have a lasting impact on the world”. Chris Brees said:
“I found that wanting to ‘do good’ with my money extended beyond giving to charity or supporting good causes. I wanted to help people even when buying everyday things like clothes.
“Amazingly there’s a host of like-minded people out there who have started brands which are doing just that! Our idea was to make it easy for people to see the difference between these brands and high-street brands we all usually shop at.
“By doing this we really empower people to do more than just buy into what’s usually put in front of them: people can buy into doing social good. It’s revolutionised the way I think about how I spend my money, and I hope it can do the same for you too!”.
Hop on over to www.buybetteronline.co.uk to see for yourself!