Mail on Sunday
April 27, 2007 by Terra Plana
Terra Plana Worn Again 2007
"The dirty truth about Cameron's 'green' trainers
published in the Mail on Sunday and the response from Terra Plana.
On the face of it, they have a lot in common. Both are being sold to the public as trendy and youthful with a sensitive nature, a genuine concern for the poor and outstanding green credentials.
So it was no surprise this week to see Tory leader David Cameron sporting his favourite £65 Worn Again trainers when he launched the Conservatives’ local election campaign by helping to clear up a rubbish-strewn fly-tipping site in Dartford, Kent..."
Further reading posted by New Consumer
Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 13:40.
Why I think the Mail is wrong to knock Worn Again (http://www.newconsumer.com/views/item/why_i_think_the_mail_is_wrong_to_k...)
by Mel Young on 10:26am, 24th April 2007
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Further reading posted by treehugger
Submitted by admin on Thu, 09/06/2007 - 13:33.
Greenslinging: Recycled Shoemaker Not Perfect, Says Newspaper
by Alex Pasternack, Beijing, China on 05.29.07
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Submitted by admin on Sun, 07/22/2007 - 06:40.
To whom it May Concern,
As you may be aware an article appeared in the Sunday Mail questioning how we could claim eco friendly credentials "while making Worn Again Trainers in China."
The journalist prior to publishing the article sent a list of questions. To keep things in context we at Worn Again encourage you to read our full responses to the journalist and not just the one sided sound bites published.
The journalist even called us after the response to congratulate us on the integrity of our operation and on what a "good thing" Worn Again is. The paper clearly has an anti Cameron, Anti China and seemingly Anti recycled and Anti Small business agenda?
Questions from The Daily Mail in bold:
1) Some environmentalists have said that with the bigger shoes in particular, the benefits of using recycled material is offset by the environmental impact of shipping the material to china. Is this correct and is it more environmentally friendly, in your view, to use locally sourced recyclable material as you do with other lines of shoes?
As I'm sure you are aware eco design and sustainability are multi sided coins... there, are so to speak, 1000 ways to skin the eco cat...
With the worn again project, we have focused on making shoes out of recycled materials. The plan (and in the pipeline) is to be as transparent as possible (see www.wornagain.co.uk) and educate the consumer choice. We have just launched our first worn again products made in Portugal (EU) an
we are actively developing a made in the UK and a made in Africa project. For example, when a consumer goes to the supermarket they have a choice of buying the best priced product from the most efficient place in the world, the fair trade product at a premium or the locally grown organic product at an even higher premium. It is often arguable what the most eco friendly choice is: should you go to the supermarket buy lambs from New Zealand where
they are the most efficiently produced and you make the least food miles by buying all your food once a week from one place - or is it better to go to the
butchers and buy a lamb from the local farm that is subsidized - depriving a developing world farmer; or buy at "fair trade" a premium from where most of the profits go to the retailer? We think that the reality lies in not one answer to making things more sustainable but, as we learn from the eco system, a variety of non-generic survival strategies (as with products) are closer to the solution. "Millions of markets of dozens." With worn again the plan is to have a variety of products, trainers made in china - giving the best priced product to the consumer and with the infrastructure in southern china - by far the most efficient place to make shoes. Shoes made in Africa with proceed donated to local charities and shoes made in Europe and the UK at a premium. We will show the difference in costing and how that translates to different retail prices. For example the cost of a shoe in china is 70% materials; in the UK it is 30% cost on materials on average. The consumer should at least be aware of the choice and how price/value is calculated. It is hard to say which is best for the environment (there has to be variety) - high priced made in UK or efficiently produced in Asia. We sell around 30% of our shoes in Asia - so they are also locally sourced! A regional local make local sell is something we are exploring, but, it is as we are finding less wasteful to produce different types of products in different regions. The shoes we make in china are at a good value to the consumer and the more they buy the more materials we save (recycle).
It is possible that worn again trainers are not the most eco friendly shoes we make, but it is nevertheless an important wheel in the cog. For example is it better for the environment to have less glue in shoes rather than less new material used? But we cannot definitely tell until there is full scientific life cycle analysis conducted for the shoe industry, which is something we are working on. We grade our shoes for sustainability on a matrix (including worn again) and try to work on reducing the worst offenders. We try not to compromise on style and the type of shoes we think people want to wear but just try to figure out how to make them in more intelligent eco friendly ways. Who knows, if we find out consumers don't mind paying a premium for UK made shoes then we will grow production in the UK...
It is definitely not ideal to have to ship materials from the UK to china to make shoes. But, with lots of great materials in the UK that are inevitably heading for landfill... worn again is doing its little bit to reduce waste and make people more aware. We offset our emissions with climate care (which I appreciate is problematic from a point of view) but a proportion of the money the consumer spends on the trainers goes directly to alternative energy projects and sustainable development. As we build up production in different areas of the world we aim to only source materials from local sources. For example, we have just started collaboration with friends of the earth from Hong Kong for worn again made in china.
2) The worn again website talks about the importance of worker rights. However, when we visited the brilliant factory we were told over 100 workers - nearly 10 per cent of the workforce - had left after the Chinese new year, and other workers we interviewed complained that they were unhappy with pay and conditions there. Are you aware of that sentiment among workers and are you