The future of our planet depends on how quickly and how effectively we change the way we live.
So Kingly has taken a leaf out of nature’s book. In the natural world, there are few straight lines but plenty of virtuous circles. Kingly has made a deliberate choice to implement closed circular loops in manufacturing, and to make every aspect of their business environmentally sustainable.
Raw materials are ethically sourced and they’re choosing to design out pollution and waste.
In the last century, the clever answer to big political questions was usually, “It’s the economy, stupid”. True enough, but we also know that a healthy economy is a false economy if the world is sick. We need a healthy planet too.
Traditionally, industries have used a straight line model of production. That means extracting or growing, using, and throwing away. And the target minimum price usually means maximum cost to the environment.
In contrast, the circular economy is based on responsible use of resources, reusing, re-purposing and recycling. It’s a deliberate choice designed to reduce pollution and regenerate natural systems.
It’s one of the most powerful ways to bring about change. Everyone can help.
A circular economy creates value through efficient use of resources that have been responsibly sourced. It includes restorative action in the landscape and the replanting of beneficial crops. It ensures continual use and products re-purposed into new life cycles.
Thus, demand for the production and consumption of exploitative raw materials is constantly under pressure to reduce. The trend gains momentum. Already, in Japan, it is obligatory to re-cycle all household appliances. This will spread, naturally, into other sectors.
Kingly want that to happen in the garments industry. Today.
The fashion and clothing industry has long been guilty of irresponsible sourcing of raw materials, high levels of pollution and extra-ordinary amounts of waste. And ‘fast fashion’ is in the darkest shadows of this tradition.
The sector consistently fails to replenish what it takes, wastes much of what it overproduces and dumps surpluses on developing economies, undercutting their jobs. It overuses toxic chemicals and harms both the environment and human health.
Opportunities for change are enormous.
Kingly Ltd are a leading producer of retail goods and promotional merchandise including socks, T-shirts and towels. And Kingly is pioneering the closed circular loop in their sector. They’re leading the charge to make clothing production environmentally sustainable.
It’s founder and CEO, Rob Armour, had a successful career in the garments industry. But he became increasingly frustrated with the disregard for the environment shown by so many producers. He knew there was a better way. Starting his own business seemed the obvious solution.
Resources are ethically sourced and in production, all surpluses, waste and trimmings are recycled or upcycled. Organic cottons come only from regions where water consumption does not impact on local need; and synthetic fibres (polyester and nylon) will be 100% post-consumer from April 2021. For other products, for example, hand sanitizer gel, bottles are 100% recycled plastic – 100% R-PET.
One of their ground-breaking products is up-cycled socks sold in compostable bags, which won the prestigious 2020 Promotional Gift Award. One pair of upcycled socks saves a staggering 711 litres of water per pair and no dyes or chemicals are used in the upcycling process. Cartons and boxes use Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified cardboard, and item tags are also FSC certified card.
This way of doing business has clear benefits. Initially it reduces waste, then cuts it to an absolute minimum. It’s cleaner. Ecological impact is cut and the use and value of goods is increased. Over longer periods of time, significantly fewer resources are used. When waste is regenerative, keeping the loop closed is easier and more efficient.
And for the sceptics? Kingly’s ethical approach has led to an increase in sales volumes and profitability.
For maximum benefit it is essential to work collectively. Individual businesses must reach out to all partners and establish virtuous and purposeful eco-systems. It can be hard, but it can be done, even if it takes time. All stakeholders have a part to play, regardless of size or market share, and it can work all the way through supply chains.
As the process snowballs, big corporations have an important part to play. They can insist that multiple-life cycles, longevity, and restorative value, are deliberately designed into all new products. A good example is how Mercedes Benz, Porsche, BMW and Renault have already moved to using eco-friendly materials for their car interiors, including ECONYL® Regenerated Nylon.
Large companies can persuade each other and governments to adopt sustainable policies that have real teeth. Everyone can insist on the application of the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals.
If there is any doubt that this is achievable, look at the year 2020. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has made us re-evaluate our priorities. Faced with dreadful circumstances, the scientific community has created effective vaccines at a speed no-one thought possible.
If this can be achieved, is there any reason on earth why we cannot close the circular loop for responsible manufacturing?
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