A question we are often asked is what sustainability is?
Sustainability is defined as meeting the present’s needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet theirs.
Sustainable fashion is partly about producing clothes, shoes and accessories in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners and engaging in more sustainable consumption patterns and use, involving conscious shifts in individual attitudes, mindsets and behaviour.
A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose of) keeping resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, and then recover and regenerate products and materials end of each service life.
Textile reuse is the most extensive reuse activity in Ireland.
Charity shops are the main drivers of this reuse activity. 2021 will see the rise of consumers using sustainability in fashion as an action in the fight against climate change. NCBI promotes Sustainable fashion by offering preloved items for reuse at affordable prices. We work to keep preloved items out of the landfill and in circulation.
We promote the “conscious consumer” helping them to reduce their carbon footprint and encouraging circular fashion. Three months of extending a garment life can reduce the carbon water and waste footprint by 5-10% each (WRAP). One wash of clothing can release up to 700,000 microfibers into our water systems. A polyester dress will sit in a landfill for 200- 450 years, the same as plastic.
Communication with the environment in mind
2019 and 2020 began a conscious shift within NCBI to make the public aware of the work carried out by our organisation to become more sustainable and spread the word of how our customers, staff and donors can too.
NCBI Messaging on sustainability within our organisation is simple: donate and purchase at NCBI to keep clothing in circulation and lower your carbon footprint. Purchase preloved to do your part for the climate crisis. Use your consumer power to fight fast fashion. We want the message of our mission to be at the forefront of our store marketing.
Re: Newed for NCBI
In December 2020, we launched Grafton streets first-ever sustainable pop-up shop. Everything in the shop made from recycled products and materials with the entire interior moved and used in other stores throughout the country after. The marketing and messaging for the Re: Newed for NCBI was simple, buy sustainably, help the planet while also contributing to a great cause. Our aim for NCBI retail is to, not just, act sustainably and educate and facilitate our costumers on how they can do the same. We incorporate messaging on sustainable fashion and charity. We are mindful not just to focus on the services that NCBI provides for those living with sight loss but also on our planet. This targets an entirely new market of consumers who may not have shopped in a charity shop before, shifting perceptions of a charity shop. This shift is not unique to our Re: Newed pops up model but will be rolled out throughout our 119 shops nationwide. Everything from reclaimed tills, to sustainable messaging, we are committed to sustainability.
Sustainable shopping online
With the closure of the 118+ shops being closed nationwide for the majority of 2020 and 2021 (thus far), we have teamed up with Thriftify.ie to continue sales of our clothing, shoes, and more. Not only does this provide much-needed funding for NCBI services, but we hopefully help to put a stop to the consumption of fast fashion sites that are ethically and sustainability questionable. We hope through our hashtag #keepitcircular we can reach more consumers.
Becoming as sustainable as possible is the only way to survive, as a charity and as a species.
NCBI is the second-largest charity retailer in Ireland, and we feel it is essential to be at the forefront of this movement.