Go Captain Planet!

Fashion comes to the rescue of Planet Earth

Issue: Sep 2009

Despite the gloomy global economy, the light of responsible green consumption still shines brightly on the retail front here in Singapore.

According to a recent study by Havas Media's new research and measurement framework - Sustainable Futures 09, nearly half of today's consumers are willing to pay a 10% premium for goods or services produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way.

One such shopper is forward-thinking Lee Hui Ling, 22. When spotted buying organic food products at Carrefour in Plaza Singapura, she said that "a few cents more is a small price to pay for something that would be healthier and less harmful to the environment in the long run."

Likewise, retailers are beginning to jump onto the sustainable practices bandwagon as well, with more attention and funds being deployed to eco-friendly activities as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives.

Love Your Body

The interior of the new The Body Shop concept store at ION Orchard.
The interior of the new The Body Shop concept store at ION Orchard.
With over 2,500 stores in over 60 markets, The Body Shop is internationally recognised for their efforts in raising awareness of green issues. They recently took it one step further by pushing the environmental envelope in the opening of their new concept store located at ION Orchard.

A showcase for its commitment to be eco-friendly, no expense was spared in ensuring that The Body Shop's latest addition significantly reduced its ecological footprint. From recycled materials to energy saving LED lighting, it is a bespoke store that looks nothing like the existing 37 stores scattered around the island.

Daisy Tan, The Body Shop Singapore's Head of Brand and Values said, "The Body Shop has always been a powerful advocate of running business in a sustainable manner. We consider our environmental impact in every decision we make, and at all levels of the business, allowing us to protect the only planet we have got for future generations."

Looking to protect the planet and enhance the customer shopping experience in one fell swoop, they aim to reduce waste and carbon emissions through the new store design, by cutting power consumption by 70% via the installation of energy efficient LED lamps. Providing a brighter and crisper quality of light, it costs more to buy and install, but The Body Shop sees it as a worthwhile investment for the future.

The fittings in the store are also built with recycled wood from discarded pallets typically used for carrying crates, which would otherwise have been thrown away and incinerated, contributing to further air pollution and general waste.

Japanese Innovation

MUJI puts leftovers to good use with its line of drop cotton apparel
MUJI puts leftovers to good use with its line of drop cotton apparel
Another major retailer (also found in ION Orchard) who has long been championing the recyclable cause would be MUJI. Distinguished by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, and avoidance of waste in production and packing, they have long been flying the banner of responsible waste reduction.

For example, drop cotton products such as T-shirts and other cloth items are made from the small cotton fibres that are removed from the manufacturing process of cotton threads. Using these drop cotton shreds, MUJI has created a range of comfortable and stylish apparel.

While recycled material often leads to itchy, scratchy fabric, MUJI's cotton cloth items are comfortable. MUJI takes the organic path, buying cotton from fields that have not been used for agricultural purposes or treated with chemical fertilisers for more than three years. This ensures the cotton has no toxins.

Running The Good Race

Timberland has upped the recycling ante with its new range of trail running shoes
Timberland has upped the recycling ante with its new range of trail running shoes
One more multinational corporation that has a heart of green would be Timberland. With stores nestled in major shopping malls such as Raffles City and VivoCity, ingrained in their CSR plans are long-term goals such as becoming carbon neutral by 2010, and aiming to design recyclable products which have an after-life.

That means at the end of a product's lifespan, it does not go into a landfill, but becomes the input for a future generation of products instead.

With a wish to create a green marketplace by providing durable products that meet the needs of both their consumers and the surrounding environment, they up their outdoor heritage credentials by putting their money where their mouth is. After months of research and development, they have come up with their new Timberland Mountain Athletics (TMA) range of trail running shoes, which not only delivers performance to the wearer, but also incorporates an exclusive green technology - Green Rubber.

Green Rubber is 42% recycled rubber made from a special process which devulcanises waste tires to create durable recycled rubber which can be further processed to create said shoes, hence extending the same rubber's usefulness many times over.

Actually A Good Idea

One of the many creative ways that ACTUALLY's
One of the many creative ways that ACTUALLY's "I Am Just A Piece Of Cloth" can be used
Local retailers are proving to be real eco-heroes as well, with popular Singaporean store ACTUALLY even coming up with their own series of reusable bags. Recently, they released their 5th incarnation of the bag called I Am Just A Piece Of Cloth.

Essentially it is just a piece of cloth that can be knotted, twisted and folded in many different ways to perform the function of a carrier when one goes shopping. A fashion statement and environmentally conscious effort rolled into one, it proved highly popular amongst the style savvy.

You too can do your part in making the world a better, greener place. Check out these buys that will earn you good karma and make others see green to boot!


Style Picks


Price: US$48 (S$69)

(Made from sustainable palm oil)

Price: US$3.40 - US$5.50 (S$4.90 - S$7.90)


(Made from 100% organic cotton
or sustainable materials)



Price: US$24 (S$35)

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