Thomas Miller Hong Kong Volunteer Day at Redress
On Friday 22nd September, 8 employees from the Thomas Miller Hong Kong office took advantage of one of Thomas Miller’s global CSR policies, allowing employees to undertake 3 days paid leave per year to volunteer in local communities, forming a core part of Thomas Miller’s unique Corporate Social Responsibility programme "Be The Difference".
The team spent a half-day with Redress Asia, a Hong Kong headquartered, Asia-focused environmental charity, with a mission to accelerate the change to a circular fashion industry by educating and empowering designers and consumers so as to reduce clothing’s negative environmental impacts. The charity works with a wide range of stakeholders, including designers, manufacturers, brands, educational bodies, government and consumers and aims to create lasting environmental change in fashion.
The Volunteer Day
The half-day began with a talk presented by the Redress Programme Event Manager, sharing information about clothing waste in Hong Kong and explaining what Redress is doing to minimise clothing waste going to landfill.
The task for the afternoon was to sort second-hand clothing donated from their partner brands (for example, Zara), into three main categories – resale, donate and downcycle. The team was required to examine each clothing item carefully, and decide which category it should go to. At the end of the session, the group shared what they learnt from the session and about the charity. The volunteers sorted 589kg of clothing for Redress which was a great achievement.
Why are Sustainable Fashion Practices so Important?
In Hong Kong alone, an estimated 202 tonnes of clothing waste is going to landfill daily. Not only does this waste money and resources, it can also take 200+ years for the materials to decompose in landfill. During the decomposition process, textiles generate greenhouse methane gas and leak toxic chemicals and dyes into the groundwater and our soil, posing a detrimental impact on our environment. Redress’ work is vital to make a change.
A large percentage of the clothing that comes to Redress are fast fashion items, and their negative impact including plastic use, pollution into the oceans and the energy needed to process the items all contributes to an increase in CO2 emissions. We must also be wary of the pressure this production puts on the workers in the fast fashion industry from a social impact point of view. By volunteering at Redress, the team were able to consider the importance of thinking before buying fast fashion, and see the positive impact the charity is having.