The central ethic of De Uria is sustainability. But what does that mean?
After more than a century of pursuing progress and profit at the expense of all other factors, we are coming to recognize the importance of ethical, environmentally friendly business practices. Every choice that we make influences the world. Our purchasing habits, the waste that we produce, even on an individual level, our habits have an impact. When we take it onto the level of business, these choices have even more influence. What we do in business has a profound impact on the global economy and ecology.
One of the things that inspired the birth of De Uria is our awareness that the textile industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world. Textiles are used by both individuals and businesses, and most companies create vast amounts of pollutants when processing and treating their fabrics. That’s only the beginning. Think about the source of the fabrics themselves. Vast fields of cotton or other fabrics are treated with pesticides and chemical fertilizers which eventually make their way into the water table. Polyester and nylon are just a couple of the synthetic materials used, and the production of these materials results in a wide range of non-biodegradable byproducts.
One of the best answers to this issue is to use natural products, but these products can be more expensive. So, for the companies that take profit as the central goal, synthetic and chemically supported products mean better business sense. But that won’t work in the long run. We only have one world. The impact that we have upon the world reflects back into our own health, especially in the health of communities near the fields and factories related to production of these textiles.
The environmental aspect of sustainability means having values that extend beyond profit. We have to make decisions that work not only now, but ten years from now, a hundred years from now. If we are willing to use our brand as a means of change, we can use the massive impact of business to improve the environment. We can reduce our carbon footprint, stick to production processes that have no negative ecological impact, and even help to reduce toxins in the air, soil, and water through the production methods of a company.
That’s just the beginning, though. Sustainability relates to people as well. Most companies pay the lowest wages possible so that they can get the highest dollar value from their products. Once again, this can work well in the short run, if all you care about is the amount of money in the account. The problem is that this can lead to the exploitation of workers, keeping them slaving away while they suffer through challenging conditions. This is a major problem when work is outsourced to developing nations. Many companies take advantage of the people in these countries, offering the very least they can, and even destroying the local economy to make sure that the new factory is the only choice for these communities. It’s a sad truth, but when we ignore everything but profit, human life becomes cheap.
This doesn’t work in the long run. Sustainable brands take into account the impact that they have upon the workers as well as the planet. It’s a matter of values. Are we willing to take human life as cheap and ignore our impact on the planet in favor of short term profits? Or do we really care about human life and ecological health? We only have one planet, and we all have to share it. And when we disregard the life of others, it cheapens life everywhere.
De Uria has spearheaded a new approach to sustainability by connecting with communities in developing countries and offering them ways to live healthier, happier, and with less financial burden. Taking it one step further, we know that every culture on the planet has developed traditional handicrafts and techniques that are worth preserving. Rather than cutting corners, we work to keep these practices alive, offering better wages for natural communities to practice their traditional arts while giving everyone involved a better life.
This is sustainability at its deepest level. Sustainable materials. Sustainable labor. Sustainable distribution. Sustainable purchasing. For this to work, these values have to be honored at every step of the process. One of our central values is responsible consumption and production, and we hope to stand as a beacon and inspiration for other companies. Our highest mission is to lead the way to more ecologically friendly practices, those that value the quality of human life, for our company and all others, as we move forward into the future.