With the growing popularity of green/organic products, there has been a rapid expansion in the number and variety of green businesses. In terms of consumer sales, the most attractive merchandise is produced from pesticide-free, organic farming.
The organic agriculture industry must follow the regulations established by the Organic Food Production Law. There are not only restrictions for synthetic pesticides but also for synthetic fertilizers. With restricted use of these chemicals that control pests and promote plant growth, increased crop production is limited to a variety of traditional farming practices. These include crop rotation, the use of natural predators, and natural pesticides and fertilizers. Many of us use these methods in our home gardens. But when organic farming becomes a business, crop yield is a critical economic factor.
In organic agriculture, the farming system works well, but the crop production or net yield of the product has some limitations compared to inorganic agribusiness. Today, with rising costs, including wages and benefits for workers, profits are falling in organic farming.
Of course, organic farming has laid the foundation for the emerging organic food and clothing industries. Sales of organic food have been growing at around 20% per year and sales of organic fiber or clothing at around 15% per year (Organic Trade Association). However, limited crop yields are making organic food and fiber production more expensive. Some of these costs are passed on to related organic companies now facing similar financial concerns. “Green commitments” are now being considered to reduce this financial burden.
The above discussion illustrates the difficult ethical and economic conflicts of organic companies, which, by definition, have ethical objectives. Lobbying Congress to revise the Organic Food Production Act and redefine the chemical requirements for “organic” is one option for the agricultural industry. But lowering the standards would disfigure the value of the organic label. Similar economic and ethical conflicts are confounding the trade of the organic food and clothing industries.
Organic clothing has no legislative restrictions compared to organic farming or organic food. Essentially, everything is based on voluntary compliance with industry standards set by industry/consumer organizations.
Without legal guidelines, organic clothing companies have described their products as ethical fashion, conscious clothing, or simply eco-friendly. Many of these companies call their clothing eco-friendly based on their use of low-impact dyes and inks. They have also used the term “sweatshop free” to ensure safe working conditions and fair wages for their workers. Unfortunately, these conditions are not always present abroad.
Profits are shrinking with more expensive organic cotton, hemp, bamboo etc. To maintain green standards, these costs may be passed on to the consumer. However, higher retail prices in a down economy could still reduce sales and profits. In that case, clothing companies could turn to organic farming abroad with uncertain working conditions and questionable product standards. Each clothing company must resolve its own ethical economic conflicts and select what it believes to be the “best” course of action.
Even if organic clothing production remains in the US, there are sad economic alternatives to consider along with the related ethical concerns. Some apparel corporations may consider less expensive dyeing and printing methods that may avoid the use of low-impact dyes and inks.
It is clear that lowering chemical standards in organic farming, purchasing and manufacturing organic clothing abroad, or using less expensive toxic inks and dyes can destroy all that the organic label stands for in the food and beverage industry. organic clothes.
When economic pressures come up against responsible ethical compromises, how do green companies resolve or compromise their goals in such conflicts? How do they choose between alternatives that have negative consequences no matter what they decide?
Should the federal government step in and support the popular green industry when Congress already has many higher priorities? Today, these priorities range from energy independence to health care, social security, defense spending, and bailing out major financial institutions and corporations. By comparison, the green industry seems small and not a high priority.
However, depending on how you define green, green trade in the US is very substantial, quite diversified, and growing rapidly despite economic concerns. However, the industry is still addressing a common goal and top federal priorities. There are many companies that offer inorganic products but are still considered green. These businesses are green because they all support the common goal of preserving our environment by decreasing energy demand and carbon consumption. In general they help to reduce our “carbon footprint” (consumption of carbon-based natural resources).
For example, the green energy industry provides us with environmentally sound alternatives to the use of fossil fuels. The consumption of carbon-based fossil fuels results in environmental degradation, the release of greenhouse gases, and a large increase in our carbon footprint. The alternative energy industry includes wind, geothermal, and solar power. They certainly address two of the highest priorities for the United States… protecting the environment and achieving energy independence.
Resolving economic and ethical conflicts for any corporation is a challenging task. This is especially true for the green industry due to its ethical commitment to the environment and the public. The long-term outlook for solving this problem and maintaining the integrity of the organic label is unclear and depends in part on the course of our economy.
However, some organic clothing companies have set a new standard for the initiative by seeking an additional no-cost approach to promote rather than compromise their ethical standards. Working independently, these companies devised the same innovative method to maintain their green missions. They use their organic clothing to address ethical principles and environmental responsibility.
Live Life Organics, a Baltimore eco-friendly company, is an online retailer of organic cotton clothing. They provide a simple example of how their design and production team implements this method. They just display inspirational messages on all of their clothing designs. They trust that their positive messages will encourage positive thinking and an ethical lifestyle of responsibility towards our planet and others.
When we are faced with economic or political problems that we cannot control, we all need to think of alternative approaches to achieve our goals. We can all think of different alternatives to reduce our carbon footprint. We can also persuade our elected representatives to follow an ethical path toward fair legislation in the face of economic and political pressure.