How switching to organic peace silk can protect and conserve biodiversity?
What is Biodiversity? Biodiversity is broadly defined as the life support system of the earth. We rely on it for food and energy, and we depend on its irreplaceable role in sustaining air quality, providing freshwater and soil, and regulating climate. While the fashion impact on climate change is well shared, less is covered on the industry's massive footprint on biodiversity.
Why is biodiversity important? According to the Living Planet Report 2020, our planets wildlife populations have decreased by 68% since 1970. It is declining at a faster rate than ever before in human history. Species population trends are significant because they are a measure of overall ecosystem health and well-being. It shows that nature is on a severe decline.
At Ethical Kind, we are committed to playing our part in transforming the industry. Our brand prerequisites are to invest in sustainable factories, fabrics and supply chains that respect nature, tradition and people. In particular, we've chosen to exclusively trade and support our partner, Cocccon in India for its ethical and organic peace silk production that works towards preserving local biodiversity in the following ways:
1. Promote Regenerative Agriculture Practice
Regenerative agriculture refers to "farming and grazing practices that reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. Project Cocccon took over the conventional silk farm in 2011, where the ground was utterly fruitless and dying due to the excessive and unnecessary use of chemicals. Project Cocccon decided to re-establish sericulture with the pre-industrial methods. It stopped and banned the use of all so-called high–yield sericulture sprays and introduced a multi-crop system to increase the fertility of the soil. In substitute of chemicals, it used natural composts instead. It saw micro-organisms coming alive again and different wild grasses re-birthed in the ground, providing fodder for cattle. Rice, potatoes, pulses, turmeric and local vegetables are also grown for personal usage. The regenerative agriculture has resulted in reclaiming the lost biodiversity in the villages of Jharkhand.
The organic peace silk (Ahimsa Silk, non-violent silk) produced are manufactured under strict social and environmental standards certified to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This body guarantees the highest possible standard for ecological and social sustainability.
2. Protect Wildlife and Pollinators
Peace silk means that wild silk moths are bred rather than the domestic variety. It allows the completion of the metamorphosis of the silkworm to its moth stage, whereas in conventional silk harvesting the silkworms are killed in their cocoon stage. No animals suffer or die for peace silk. Once the silk moth hatches out from its cocoon, the leftover cocoon is then collected to create peace silk.
These silk moths are an incredibly important part of our ecosystem for many reasons. They are vital pollinators, second only to bees for their pollinating prowess, many flowering plants have returned in local ecology after decades of poor land use. Also, moths are a source of protein for many other species in the food web, including birds and reptiles, all ensuring biodiversity and healthy ecosystems.
3. Avoid the Release of Greenhouses with Renewable Energy
Conventionally firewood is used for the degumming of silk, which is the process of eliminating "Gum (sericin)" and impurities from raw silk. This process requires a lot of energy and releases a lot of greenhouse gases that are not suitable for the environment and human health. In 2016 Project Cocccon introduced the use of solar power to irrigate water and for the degumming of silk to support a zero-carbon emission production.
Project Cocccon also promotes silk-weaving on handlooms to generate employment in rural India and to reverse migration from big-cities. They have upgraded 40% of looms with solar-powered motors, so the spinning and reeling are completely processed either manually or with solar machines, achieving 70% of the spinning and weaving operation zero-carbon.
4. Avoid the Use of Toxic Chemicals
Organic peace silk, are made from cocoons being without silkworm or pupae; therefore, the use of heavy bleaching for cleaning is not required as for conventional silk. Occasionally hydrogen peroxide is used to make different shades of silk yarn uniform. This is eco-friendly and approved by REACH & GOTS. The use of toxic metals during the degumming process of 'conventional silk- weighting' to make silk yarns heavier by including Chromium, Barium, Lead, Iron or Sodium magnesium is not permitted and wholly forbidden in our production.
5. Reuse and Reduce Water Usage
Extensive amounts of water are used in reeling and material processing to clean the silk and remove sericin where wastewater management doesn't exist conventionally.
Peace silk production is considered to have low water footprint and produce almost zero per cent waste. In the production process, by reclaiming and filtering used water, it minimises water usage.
6. Use of Innovative Technology
Installation of an Effluent Treatment Plant (ETP) is one of the most important and prominent parts of the textile dyeing sector. The primary thrust of the technology is to convert the entire quantity of effluent to zero levels by separating water and salt using evaporation and separation technology. The discharged water is appropriately treated in the ETP plant to ensure that the discharged wastewater is not harmful to nature.
7. Focus on Sustainable Resources
Silk is considered a renewable resource and has some outstanding properties that make it a very sustainable, eco-friendly natural fibre. Synthetic fabrics like polyester, nylon and spandex that can take hundreds of years to break down and can emit hazardous gasses as they do. Silk, by contrast, is readily biodegradable and will return right back into the earth in a matter of months, switching to organic peace silk, is a step in the right direction towards a more sustainable future.
From us, organic peace silk production is an important livelihood for farmers around the world and can be empowering for workers in providing economic freedom in many marginalised communities. At Ethical Kind, we are committed to driving consumer awareness, exploring the conditions under which our garments are made, and demonstrating the benefits of sustainable, healthy and fair textiles. By switching to sustainable organic peace silk, you are supporting a silk revolution that promotes regenerative agriculture which aims to rehabilitate and enhance the natural ecosystems, capture carbon and lower CO2 levels to preserve our environment and biodiversity.
Join us and be part of the silk revolution here.