Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Green Fashion Stores by Oxfam

In London, NGO Oxfam has redesigned it's stores to become eco-fashion hotspots. Located in trendy areas, they sell donated designer items, and a mix of fair trade and organic clothing including chic stuff from Chloe, Stella McCartney and Junky Styling. "Re-invented" pieces designed by fashion students ad an extra vintage fashion touch. Cool concept!

Via Treehugger

Monday, 21 July 2008

Eco Fashion Network Meeting in Berlin

Last weekend during the Berlin Fashion Week we organized a network meeting with Karmakonsum for the German eko fashion scene. 35 designers, shop owners and bloggers got together in Bio Restaurant Diwan and had an inspiring and fruitful evening. It was fun, next time we'll be probably more again... the scene is growing...

On the pictures: Magdalena Schaffrin, 500Godz, Bransparent, Jovoo, Armedangels, Karmakonsum, Slowmo. More pics of the meeting at Karmakonsum's Flickr

The Premium exhibition was rather disappointing. Less green brands than last time, and less international. The Green Area does not have a policy on which brands are "green", so everyone can buy a green spot. And is a bamboo floor really the right thing? If the Premium wants to keep the green thing going, they have to invest in it big time. Otherwise they might miss the boat.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Korrekte Klamotten: Meeting the German Eco-Fashion Scene

Under the name Korekte Klamotten a group of German eco-fashion labels have started a collective blog to share their news about new collections and upcoming events. The blog is started by the shirtlabel Fairliebt and until now Slowmo, B-Green and Gluecksstoff have contributed to the blog.

It shows that currently the ecofashion scene in Germany is developing dynamically. This weekend it's Berlin Fashion Week and this Saturday we organize a Network-meeting for the eco-fashion scene together with Karmakonsum. In a few days all forty chairs were booked, and we realize how much is going on at the moment.

We have Noel and Christoph from Karmakonsum and Sjörn from Konsumguerilla over for a little Konsumcamp and will hit the Fashion Week with a green guerilla all together. Be aware!

Image: new collection by Gluecksstoff

Thursday, 10 July 2008

DDT Threatens Organic Cotton in Africa

In Uganda spraying of the highly controversial insecticide DDT has spoiled organic crops in Uganda. As Ecotextile News states in their report, over 11,000 farmers in Uganda are now stuck with cotton after it was rejected by buyers from the Dutch organic cotton firm BoWeevil due to DDT spraying in the area.

Marc van Esch from BoWeevil, who I met in Uganda last November when I visited organic cotton farms there (see my blog-report), said if the Ministry of Health continues spraying DDT where they have their programmes, they will close down their businesses and industries. “Many export commodities will not be able to find Western markets any more. The consequences will be enormous and disastrous,” he told All Africa. “Although we think that there are better alternatives than DDT. Eventually more people will die of poverty.”

In Europe and USA the use of DDT is banned since the sixties, when the book Silent Spring raised awareness on the disastrous environmental and health effects of pesticides. DDT has been banned worldwide under the Stockholm Convention, but usage in agriculture and malaria prevention is still a widespread practice in development countries. There are also voices to allow a careful use of DDT to combat epidemic spread of malaria. But meanwhile the use of DDT itself makes mosquitoes more and more resistant.

But who is actually producing and selling this DDT? Chemical companies who might not be too said to ruin the market of organic cotton. Because they are the same companies who have a large interest in selling their pesticides and insecticides on the global market. And who might even be involved in the medical industry, an industry still preventing Africa from getting affordable malaria medicines. What game is actually going on here?

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Greenpeace Goes Grey!

We all know Greenpeace from their mediagenic actions against Walehunting and other environmental crimes. Over the last couple of years, the activist multinational has gone a new way with some own business initiatives where they take responsibility for the issues they target.

It is part of a trend where nowadays activists have grown up and have become eco-entrepreneurs. But who will tackle the dirty businesses when the most professional activists have moved to the business table? Can Greenpeace still be as sharp in it's critics when it is part of the same game?

In Germany, Greenpeace Energy offers us "honest" energy. Let's be honest then. Alltough Greenpeace promises that we as customers can take part in building new, clean energy power plants, the reality is that this only counts for a very small part of the energy, as one can easily read from their website.

The largest part of this German Greenpeace Energy comes from hydro powerplants in Austria and Norway. Some of those powerplants are older than Obama, so where's the change, really?

Is hydro power energy from abroad really the solution, Greenpeace? I've seen a lot of hydro power plants fucking up with nature, and although it is preferable above nuclear or coal, it is still an industry that's disturbing our nature. And what guarantees are there that the Norwegean energy I buy from Greenpeace is not exchanged with German nuclear power to a Norwegian costumer, in the end?

A wave of critics on eco-energy in the media is coming along with a comeback of nuclear energy in Europe. This kinds of critics does not really help us forward to clean energy either, but the only way to keep the green movement alive is to keep it trustworthy. So in this case it is better beating the critics than ignoring them.

As the German newspaper Zeit argues in a critical article, just buying certificates from abroad does not necessarily bring anything. The fact that half of The Netherlands changed to green energy because of a taxbonus did not do anything to the 85% dirty energy.

Okay, it is complicated for an independent eco-energy businesses to offer German produced eco-energy in Germany because of a complicated system of renewable energy support. But since the rise of a market for eco-energy it has brought us all but the promised rise of green energy. In the end we seem to be greenwashing our own energy bills.

We, conscious consumers, are mislead and made stupid. In the end, joining the international trade of certificates or byuing clean energy from abroad is maybe a handy means for governments or business to polish their green image, for Greenpeace it should be different.

I just want to have honest clean energy, Greenpeace. If you think you're big enough to get me that, well, go ahead and offer me that über-honest energy. Locally produced and sourced energy, possibly supporting a system where cities and municipalities become responsible for their own energy production. Without mixing and trixing. It's time to move forward...

In the meantime, I would suggest Greenpeace to sell that Greenpeace Energy and come over to the other side: to get on the barricades for a more honest and cleaner energy policy without being part of the tricks that keep consumers stupid.

Or should we some day come to Greenpeace and chase them with banners and ships and all?

A critical consumer of "green" energy

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Upcycling Goes Big with Kraft

Greenwashing or not, Kraft Foods stepped in to a cooperation with Terracycle, a creative upcycling company that takes packages and materials "that are challenging to recycle and turns them into affordable, high quality goods".

As the press release states, Kraft will become the first major corporation to fund the collection of used packaging associated with its products. Well, that's great, but off course they might be able to do more about reducing waste as well...

At least those Terracycle bags are great looking and the effect of such a large scale project shouldn't be underestimated.