For me, sustainability refers to a few things.
An environment we can continue to live in with good health is key, as is living a balanced life with the planet + its various lifeforms. I have an ongoing existential crisis about producing goods that, frankly, are not necessary for life on the planet. Yet, sustainability of one’s life in society is imperative - therefore, employment is needed. Sans Beast is still a small entity – we employ 2 full time team members, a freelance designer on a needs basis, and I work in the business along with my partner John. We work with material suppliers + manufacturers in China, which in turn, adds to these entities having sustainable businesses. In reference to living in balance with our fellow earth dwellers – I have always considered myself an ‘animal lover’. Yet after many years of ignoring the fact that I was cuddling some species, and making handbags + shoes out of the skin of others – I woke up to my own ethical conundrum, and decided I could no longer do this. Industrial level animal agriculture is not only not environmentally sustainable – it’s horrific for the animals + many of the humans, involved. I won’t use this article to explain this further – there is SO much information out there to be gleaned, we can all make the choice to read, watch + learn. Forks over Knives, Food Inc, Cowspiracy, Dominion, Earthlings – all important documentaries. Peter Singer's Animal Liberation + Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals are both insightful books on the subject of animal welfare (and our inherent attitudes to various species) in our society. Rather than animal skins we use ‘eco’ polyurethane for our bags. ‘Eco’ refers to the material supplier not using toxic levels of chemicals in the manufacture of the fabric. It adheres to REACH + CA65 standards. The fabric we use is not quickly biodegradable + this can be off-putting to some. This is fair enough – it’s certainly the ideal to work with materials that will find their way back to the earth easily + fast, and we’re not there yet. We would also challenge the popular notion that leather is a completely natural product, as the overwhelming majority is put through a chemically-intensive tanning process. Environmental perfection in manufacturing is a challenge for everyone.