Are we Rrrrrreally trying?

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You might have noticed, I love alliteration. See the 3M in my last blog. And in my work, at my best, I manage to show up caring, curious and challenging.

You may be familiar with the 4Rs to that are promoted to help us Redesign the economy to be more sustainable and even ‘circular’. There are slightly different versions.

The ‘R’s I find most useful in the in my fashion and textiles work are:
Reduce how much is bought, maybe by renting or just getting less stuff in the first place
Repair before discard, either developing your own skills or commissioning others to help you
Reuse by passing on and repurposing items
Recycle into component parts, ready for the next round of production.

At a recent European conference I suggested two more. These are more upstream, to reduce the demand for unstainable practices in the first place. These were endorsed by those there at the event via the electronic opinion research system I was using, In a way these two deepen our thinking about how to reduce consumption in the first place.

First, ‘Resource well’. Only use well sourced products and raw materials. Make sure labour practices are fair. Ensure the supply chain you are tapping into has a positive reputation and has reduced the negative impact of its footprint. As we see greater traceability this will get easier. At industry events I notice increasing confidence in the coming information to help guide choices – from Blockchain to support sector colleagues choose well to apps to inform end consumers.

Second, stifle the urge to consume, by ‘Rejoicing’ in what you have got, dampening the momentum to get the next new thing. In line with some of the latest fashions in decluttering, only buying something that gives joy in the first place is a good place to start. Savouring the recent purchase for as long as possible. Sort of like really noticing that sip of wine or mouthful of food before reaching for the next. Hindering the drive to immediately satiate our urges.

So the 6Rs.

I hope these provide a helpful Reminder of those Really Reliable actions that can help us Reduce the Risks whilst Ratcheting up the opportunities of economic life.


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