Incredible news for all sustainable style fans in the region – Dubai-based marine conservation organisation Azraq has launched the first UAE Sustainable Fashion Directory. Giving visibility and accreditation to sustainable fashion labels, multi-brand stores, outlets and artisans, the launch of the directory marks Azraq’s continued efforts to help guide and educate the community to a more sustainable way of living whilst supporting local businesses in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact.
Created to educate, motivate and activate the region’s buyers by further highlighting the environmental concerns within the fashion industry, Azraq’s mission is to increase knowledge about the ongoing problem of microplastics, creating a conscious community of consumers who want to shop sustainably for their fashion requirements. Reports from the UN Alliance state that the fashion industry contributes to 10% of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater, while an additional 35% of microplastics in local waterways come from synthetic fibres used in clothing, impacting not only marine animal health, but our own.
“In the UAE, Azraq is seen as one of the main marine conservation organisations, taking action to conserve and protect local waterways,’ said the organisation’s founder and director, Natalie Banks. ‘We are passionate about acting as an advisor to brands and companies that are looking to increase their sustainability efforts, and the UAE Sustainable Fashion Directory creates a platform of impact and action, driving a change for positive behaviour from both businesses and consumers towards their carbon footprint and its effect on the oceans.”
Brands are accredited via four tiers on the directory. Tier one, the top level of accreditation, represents companies that meet eight of the following criteria: slow fashion, ethically made; the use of natural fibres; no use of plastics in materials; no use of plastics in packaging; the use of natural dyes; compostable hang-tags; carbon-neutrality; supporting the CSR efforts of an environmental agency; promote cora balls or guppy friends wash bags or microplastic filters and lastly, champion the recycling of clothing. Tier two hosts brands that meet seven of the determined criteria, tier three represents businesses that meet six of the outlined criteria, and tier four at least five.
“With Azraq’s operations team’s vast knowledge of sustainable fashion and the impact of microplastics on the health of local waterways, we are more than qualified, not only to compile a directory on this issue, but also determine the tiers that each brand sits within, so they may be acknowledged and promoted accordingly as part of their and our sustainability mission,” explained Natalie.
Businesses looking to register for verification must complete the questionnaire. On successful completion, the directory will link to the online store or social media page of the business and illustrate the achievements and actions they are doing to offset the negative impacts on the environment, with a ‘Blue-Tick’ tier system showcasing the level of sustainability of each business. The format of the directory starts with the most sustainable brands visible at the top, scrolling down to reveal the rest of the tier, encouraging brands to want to increase their visibility.