Friday, May 9, 2008

My friends Liz Claiborne and Eddie Bauer

A while ago I called it quits with Eddie Bauer, my long-time beau. It was the classic case of irreconcilable differences; I care deeply whether or not my clothing was ethically and sustainably produced, and Eddie -- well, he talked the talk (all that outdoorsy stuff), but it was hard to tell where he stood, and there were, as the old song goes, "Too many fish in the sea". A lady does have choices, after all.

The other mainstay in my wardrobe was Liz Claiborne. She's my go-to gal for work and dressy attire, mainly because her ability to balance classic styling with fresh details. Given the tendency of most "green" lines to be either too-casual or outrageously priced, it was important for me to know where my friend Liz stands on the issues close to my heart. The company faired so-so in the recent Climate Counts scorecard, mainly losing points on lack of public information about its practices. Yet they were recognized for "making efforts towards...reducing the company's impact on global warming"; it seemed to me that Liz Claiborne, Inc. shouldn't hide its light under a bushel, but let consumers know more about whatever good things they are doing.

So I wrote to the company and got back a nice (though, of course, not very personal) response providing more detail about their efforts:

Our sustainable policy includes two major components to help minimize
our impact on the environment and achieve our environmental objectives:

* Waste Reduction and Recycling - Helping to preserve the
environment by using the principles of reducing, reusing, and recycling.

* Resource Conservation - Focusing on improving energy
efficiency in building design and construction, energy conservation best
practices in existing and future facilities, reducing energy costs
through environmental controls and identifying opportunities in new and
innovative programs offered through utility companies and with local,
state and national agencies.

Additionally, we recently formed an environmental working group within
our company to review our environmental practices and policy on an
ongoing basis to ensure we are moving forward on that front.

Looking deeper on their website, I found that Liz Claiborne is also a participating company in the Fair Labor Association and has made a commitment to decent and fair working conditions for the people who make their clothing. This is good news, and certainly helps me feel more comfortable about my next Liz Claiborne purchase. Even better -- Eddie is on the FLA list, too! I was able to find more information buried in the Eddie Bauer website.

One of the reasons that Climate Counts publishes it score card is so consumers -- and stock holders -- can encourage the so-so companies to keep up the good work and do a little more. If you have a favorite brand or retailer, do a little homework on them, and let them know that ethical fashion matters to you as a customer. And a lady does have choices, after all.

1 comment:

cath said...

Thanks for posting your thoughts. As another nice white lady interested in a greener lifestyle, I have found it difficult to locate clothing, for my middle-age body, that is attractive and green... Eddie and Liz have been in my closet in the past - but - not sure now. So I got out my sewing machine and am playing with redesigning what I have...

I am looking forward to learning more from you through your blog.