Dubai, UAE: Azraq, a volunteer-run not-for-profit entity, is proud to announce the launch of its UAE Sustainable Fashion Directory this March, the first in the region. Sustainable fashion labels, multi-brand stores, outlets and artisans will be given visibility and accreditation by the UAE-based and government-registered marine conservation organization, not only through a dedicated digital platform but also on Azraq’s social media platforms. The launch of the directory marks Azraq’s continued efforts to help guide and educate the community to a more sustainable way of living whilst supporting businesses in their efforts to reduce their environmental impact. For the launch phase, the directory will feature clothing, handbag, swimwear and lingerie outlets and brands such as Ayesha Depala, Peahead.eco, By M.A.R.Y, COEGA, and Vino Supraja, to name a few.
Azraq launches the directory to educate, motivate and activate the local community. Specifically, the not-for-profit entity aims to further highlight the environmental concerns within the fashion industry. The UN Alliance reported that the fashion industry contributes to 10% of global carbon emissions, and nearly 20% of wastewater. Additionally 35% of microplastics in local waterways, come from synthetic fibres used in clothing, impacting not only marine animal health, but our own. With this at the forefront, the UAE Sustainable Fashion Directory creates a platform of impact and action, driving a change for positive behaviour from both businesses and consumers towards their carbon footprint and its effect on the oceans.
Brands are accredited via four tiers on the directory. Tier one, the top level of accreditation, represents companies that meet eight of the following criteria; slow fashion, ethically made, the use of natural fibres, no use of plastics in materials, no use of plastics in packaging, the use of natural dyes, compostable hangtags, are carbon-neutral, support the CSR efforts of an environmental agency, promote cora balls or guppy friends wash bags or microplastic filters and lastly champion the recycling of clothing. Tier two hosts brands that meet seven of the setout criteria, tier three represents businesses that meet six of the outlined criteria and tier four at least five.
Natalie Banks, the Founder and Director of Azraq, said the mission is to raise the knowledge amongst the community of microplastics to create conscious consumers, which is a growing population in the UAE, who want to shop sustainably for their fashion requirements. “In the UAE, Azraq is seen as one of the main marine conservation organisations, taking action to conserve and protect local waterways. With Azraq’s operations teams vast knowledge about sustainable fashion and the impact of microplastics on the health of local waterways, we are more than qualified to not only compile a directory on this issue but determine the tiers that each brand sits within, so they may be acknowledged and promoted accordingly as part of their and our sustainability mission. With this in mind, we are also passionate about acting as an advisor to brands and companies that are looking to increase their sustainability efforts,” Banks said.
Businesses looking to register for verification must follow this link and complete the questionnaire. On successful completion, the directory will link to the online store or social media page for the business and illustrate the achievements and actions they are doing to offset the negative impacts on the environment. A ‘Blue-tick’ tier system will be created to showcase the level of sustainability of each business for the consumer at an easy glance. The format of the directory will start with the most sustainable brands visible at the top, scrolling down to reveal the rest of the tier, encouraging brands to want to increase their visibility.
Founded by Natalie Banks, Azraq is a volunteer-run not-for-profit entity in the UAE. Azraq focuses on the protection, defence and conservation of marine life, as well as enables partnerships to be formed with government and private entities and individuals for the good of the UAE and its marine environment. Born in 2018, the foundation’s mission is to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect the marine ecosystem and species. The organization achieves its goals by educating through awareness programs and motivating the community. The word “Azraq” gives credence to the nation’s mother tongue, translated from Arabic to English as “blue”, defining the marine environment that the not-for-profit serves to conserve and protect.