For any company to be considered truly sustainable, they must be addressing the various impacts their operations are having on the environment, society and economy; with these being referred to as the triple bottom line.
Only once a company has taken initiative to decrease the negative, and increase the positive impacts of their operations on the triple bottom line, can they claim to be sustainable.
For example, a company cannot claim to be sustainable by sourcing organic raw materials when the manufacturing of these materials into garments creates hazardous waste and water pollution. Sincerely sustainable operations can only be achieved when companies take action on all aspects of the triple bottom line, as shown in the diagram below.
Here at Outland, we are contributing to social sustainability primarily through working with rescued victims of human trafficking and sexual exploitation. By providing these women with permanent, secure and fair paying jobs, we give these women a chance to increase their quality of life. This is achieved through paying a living wage, which increases the physical and mental wellbeing of the workers and their families. As a result, these women can afford to place their children in school, meaning their sons and daughters are at a lower risk of being sold into slavery in order to provide the family with money. Through achieving an education, these children are more likely to attain a high paying, more secure job which will give them a higher income and quality of life. This in turn will reduce the risk of them ever needing to sell their own children, and thus eventually the cycle of poverty and exploitation will be stopped. Many of these women lose the respect of themselves and their families and communities after enduring exploitation. We help these women regain the respect they deserve by providing them with a meaningful and well paid job which gives them a sense of purpose and pride by enabling them to provide for their families while learning a transferable skil set.
Through selective sourcing of materials and suppliers, we are aiming to reduce the potentially harmful environmental impacts of our operations. Sourcing organic cotton, natural indigo dyes and vegetable tannins, and utilising recycled and sustainable materials, are all aiding in reducing our environmental impacts in regards to water and air pollution, raw material use, environmental toxicity and ecosystem and biodiversity health. If you want to learn more about the positive social and environmental impacts of Outland jeans, head over to our Supply Chain page.
As a profit-for-purpose company, we are ensuring the economic sustainability of our operations by making a profit to reinvest into Outland. This money can then increase the social or environmental sustainability as it can be used to hire more seamstresses or invest in more environmentally sound materials. Through employing seamstresses in rural Cambodia and holding our head office at Tamborine Mountain, we are aiming to stimulate the rural economies and provide locals with access to jobs that may have been previously unavailable in these rural areas.
While there is still a way to go on our journey to achieve a wholly sustainable company and product, it seems that we are off to a pretty good start by considering the social, environmental and economic implications of all our operations and leading by example.