How is COVID-19 Affecting Your Sustainable Business?

How is COVID-19 Affecting Your Sustainable Business?

Note: This letter from the editor was originally published in our weekly newsletter and is being republished here. It has been edited for clarity.

Happy Saturday guys!

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Now I normally send our newsletters out during the week, but it’s arriving in your inbox today because we had a time-sensitive campaign and very last minute video deadline and Ben and I were scrambling like mad and pulling an all-nighter to deliver on schedule. I’m happy to say that our advertising client was happy with our work and it has now been published on Instagram. The video is for the Moving The Needle‘ campaign, a movement of retailers, charities and customers all working together to reduce textile waste and bring sustainability into the fashion conversation. The aim is to reduce textile waste in landfills by 20% by 2022 (I am ALL FOR THIS!) You can watch our film on IGTV here (and pretty please leave a comment if you do!)

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We’ve proudly partnered with Move The Needle to help Australia curb its fashion and textile waste. Moving The Needle is a movement of retail brands, charities and customers all working together to reduce textile waste and bring sustainability into fashion. This Aussie campaign runs from March 16-22. On the back of its successful launch last year, the campaign is also bringing its Empty Shop reverse pop-up stores back in shopping centres around Australia. This concept encourages Aussies to donate old clothes instead of throwing them in the bin and filling up landfills. Here’s how it works: The reverse pop-up stores start completely empty and by the end of the week fill up with all our donated clothes. Aussies throw out about 311,040 tonnes of clothing and textiles each year – about 6,000 kgs every 10 mins! So Moving The Needle has teamed up with charity organisations and retailers to try and cut this number down. The Moving The Needle movement aims to reduce fashion and textile waste going to landfill by 20% by 2022 and kick off crucial conversations about the textile waste issue. The Empty Shop reverse pop-up stores are open next week, March 16-22 at the following shopping centres: Chatswood Chase, NSW Riverside, ACT @chadstone_fashion, VIC @myer Centre, Brisbane Elizabeth, SA Galleria, WA Visit ‘Moving The Needle’ via #linkinbio to learn opening times Can’t get to an Empty Shop pop-up store? Don’t worry, there are over 550 participating charity partners and retail partners across Australia such as @salvosstores @redcrossshops and @vinniesshops. Just head to ‘Moving The Needle’ via #linkinbio to access the website to find the closest textile drop-off point near you! So…. will you help #movetheneedle? ??#movingtheneedle #theemptyshopAU #fashionrevolution #secondhandfashion #climatecrisis #circularfashion

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Now the other day on Twitter I came across writer and fashion consultant Aja Barber’s piece published in Eco-Age“The Problem with Sustainability Influencer Culture”.

In this thought-provoking piece, Aja writes:

“More and more people are hosting or talking on panel discussions, contributing to books or articles and seemingly aligning themselves with the sustainable fashion movement. However, when the same people are simultaneously filling their Instagram grid with tags and sponsorships from less-than-sustainable brands, it raises the question as to whether the popularity of the sustainability conversation is just being used for profit?” 

Aja continues:

“It sometimes makes me feel like my voice is being erased from a movement I helped to build and being replaced by voices who insist that sustainability is their thing, all while continuing to profit from fast fashion.” 

I’ve been removed from problems in the community in recent months because we’ve had issue after issue at the farm (drought, dam, rains) and the ongoing business tech issues to deal with; and being removed from urban life, my priorities are just different. After reading Aja’s piece it got me thinking about so many things:

  • ageism in fashion,
  • how it’s a good thing to have more people join the ‘sustainability’ bandwagon from an awareness perspective, but how this can also create problems,
  • how ordinary fashion influencers have moved into the ‘sustainability’ space and are now attracting $ and profits that would otherwise have gone to a more genuine ethical fashion blogger/influencer,
  • the pressure to remain relevant and not be overlooked for the hottest, most photogenic, well-connected, ultra-competitive influencer; and
  • how this competition for brand dollars affects POC/WOC in the space.

I highly recommend you read Aja’s piece and if it triggers some thoughts, feel free to share them by leaving a comment below.

And if you enjoyed the read, you can help to amplify Aja’s voice by sharing with your networks and let’s have this important discussion! A massive shoutout to Aja Barber for continuing to bring these issues to the forefront. YOU are a goddess and I appreciate you! (I recommend following her on Instagram, she delivers hard-hitting truths that we all need to hear and she is such a source of strength and inspiration for so many of us women of colour in the ethical fashion space).


Because of COVID-19 a couple of events that I’ve been approached to attend and speak at (two of which required me to travel overseas) have now been cancelled or postponed, and while I was disappointed (since the corporate gigs would have looked great on my CV and $ on offer would have been amazing for EWP’s bottom line) I’m also of the mind that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Plus my in-laws occupy the bungalow on the farm and I’d hate to catch it and inadvertently infect vulnerable family members (I call them vulnerable because of their age and previous health issues).

But all of this has got me thinking about how the pandemic is not just affecting people health-wise, but also money-wise too. We haven’t been impacted at EWP all that much, unlike businesses in travel, sports and hospitality. But I want to hear from YOU. If your family has been affected by this coronavirus, or you’re running a small business, or you’re an event organiser, or a health worker, how are you coping and how is the coronavirus impacting your life? Feel free to leave a comment below and share your experiences.

Conversations happening in our ‘Women Who Love Politics’ group:

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  • A member shared the New York Times article ‘Women’s Unpaid Labor is Worth $10,900,000,000,000’ and revealed her shock with where Australian women ranked compared with women around the world.
  • Another member shared Soraya Chemaly’s powerful TED Talk ‘The Power of Anger’ (highly recommended viewing in my opinion).
  • An article and embedded video about ‘everyday sexism’… but there’s a twist.
  • One of the members shared her images of attending a protest (the WA government voted to expand a gas hub in the Kimberley).
  • A coronavirus meme depicting how mainstream media can influence election results (like it influences a run on toilet paper LOL!)

Popular articles from our archives this week:

And that’s all from me. Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Peace, love and all that jazz,

Editor-in-chief Jen xx

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