"You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, & you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make"
The most often quoted definition of sustainability comes from the UN World Commission on Environment and Development: “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainability presumes that resources are finite, & should be used conservatively & wisely with a view to long-term priorities & consequences of the ways in which resources are used.” In simplest terms, sustainability is about our children & our grandchildren, & the world we will leave them.
In June 2019, Ireland became only the second country in the world to declare a climate & biodiversity emergency. W&E was born out of a search to take responsibility & to do things differently.
The clothing industry currently accounts for 8% of global emissions, & the continued rise of fast fashion means that by 2050 clothing could account for as much as 25% of total emissions. Sportswear is very much part of this rapid growth.
Sustainability is not our marketing ploy, it is the bedrock of what & how W&E do things. All our sportswear is made inline with the highest ethical standards, using materials that minimize environmental impact, while W&E strive to unearth better alternatives.
Our journey will be long & it has only just begun, but W&E believe this is the right path.
The single most important thing you can do to reduce the impact of your sportswear is to buy less. When it is necessary, buy natural or recycled materials, and extend it's life as much as possible.
Synthetic materials make up 60% of all textiles produced & due to their unique attributes (lightweight, versatile, quick drying etc), it is a challenge to switch away from using them entirely. While natural fibres do not use non-renewable resources, switching to fabrics made from 100% natural fibres would place a huge strain on global land & water use.
So when synthetics fabrics are necessary W&E believe that a good compromise is to use materials made with recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) or in simple English, up-cycled plastic bottles. Not only does this negate the requirement for virgin polyester it helps to keep waste plastic bottles from ending up in landfills & oceans.
Converting rPET into recycled polyester uses less water & energy than it would to produce virgin polyester. It is estimated that 60% less energy & 94% less water is used in this recycling process.
In addition, CO2 emissions are reduced and additional non-renewable resources (oil and gas) are not required.
Within our control is the choice of fabrics, our manufacturing partners and suppliers as well as our transport providers. Every decision affects the sustainability credentials of our clothing.
W&E have taken time to know our partners, meet their staff, and visit their facilities. To date all our partners are based in Europe, keeping an ability to control every element of our supply chain, to maintain the highest standards and to restrict our carbon footprint as much as possible. Naturally, our choices to date have also been based on quality and performance.
W&E believe our partners share the same ethos and are helping us evolve to find more sustainable solutions.
In addition, relationships with sustainable pioneers and universities allows W&E to constantly evolve our offering.
Recycled materials are a first step forward but w&e are committed in finding more sustainable solutions in our journey