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Sustainable Lifestyle

What homeowners can do to prepare for hurricane season

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Hurricane season is squarely underway with Dorian making landfall in the Carolinas. You may have seen all the news coverage, photos, and videos. But if you live in a hurricane’s path, the experience is nothing short of harrowing.

 

If you are a homeowner during hurricane season, you’ll experience a whole different set of worries and concerns. Here’s some helpful information and resources as we enter this unpredictable time of year.

 

What to do first if your home is impacted by a hurricane

Register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency

You can register with FEMA online, in person at a disaster recovery center, or by calling 800-621-3362. FEMA also offers help and information for dealing with natural disasters. Visit FEMA.gov for more information.

Find out if your homeowner’s insurance coverage includes flood insurance

Homes financed with a federally insured mortgage in a high-risk flood area, also called a special flood hazard area (SFHA), are required to buy flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), or as a separate policy through a private insurer. SFHAs are areas that have a minimum 1% chance of flooding in any given year.

Print out your most recent home insurance policies for easy reference. You can also contact your homeowner’s insurance (HOI) provider, if needed. If your policy doesn’t have flood insurance, read on to learn how to apply for a disaster relief loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Take photos of all damage

Make sure to be thorough and to capture all angles of the damage. Keep in mind that if you have a mortgage, your lender must sign-off on claims above a certain dollar amount. This is because mortgage investors such as Fannie Mae need to ensure your home is restored to a condition comparable to, or better than, when you bought it.

 

What not to do after a natural disaster

Don’t stop making mortgage payments without talking to your lender

If your home is not livable or your job was affected by a natural disaster and you can’t make mortgage payments, the worst thing you can do is to ignore the bills without talking to your lender.

Don’t assume your lender knows the condition of your home or employment status

If you stop making payments without making a plan with your lender, it will affect your credit, you’ll rack up late fees, and it can put your house on the foreclosure track.

 

For anyone in the process of getting a mortgage from Better Mortgage

We work hard to ensure that everything for your home loan remains on track. If you’re affected by a hurricane or natural disaster and your rate lock needs an extension, we will extend it at no cost to you to help minimize disruption until after the storm passes. Contact your Mortgage Expert for more information.

 

Resources you can turn to for assistance

If you are having trouble paying your mortgage

Reach out to your lender as soon as you can to discuss the situation and see what can be done. Many lenders including us at Better Mortgage are able to enlist a temporary mortgage payment hold. That said, if you are able to make your payments as usual, it’s highly recommended you do so.

For emergency response centers in your area

Check FEMA’s website. They can provide information on disaster-related assistance and can often help people find grants to rebuild their homes.

For temporary shelter and medical aid

Your local Red Cross chapter can help with basic needs, such as evacuation shelters, water, food, first aid, and other medical care.

For disaster recovery loans

The Small Business Administration (SBA) can help homeowners, renters, and private nonprofits with recovery related to property, equipment, machinery, and business assets including inventory.

If Freddie Mac holds your mortgage

Visit this link for more information.

If Fannie Mae holds your mortgage

Visit this link for more information.

If your home is FHA-insured

Call the National Servicing Center at 877-622-8525.

For VA home loans

Call 877-827-3702 to speak with a loan technician.

We hope these tips are helpful. Please share with anyone you know who may benefit from having these links handy. It can be a long season, and the best preparation starts with being informed and ready.

This article was originally published on Better.com

How to Save: Discounted Medication

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Prescription medications can be very expensive. They can range from a couple dollars to even hundreds of dollars. Because medications can be so costly it can be very helpful to find any way to save money on them. You want to be able to support your health and needs without sacrificing being able to support yourself or your family financially. There are many ways to support savings on medications some include a pharmacy discount card, shopping generic instead of brand name, and medication payment assistance programs. Some options you can even stack on top of each other to add on the savings. For example, you could choose a generic brand and use a discount card to lower the price even further. All of these are great options to save money on prescription medications.  

 

Source

Discount Card

A pharmacy discount card is a concept that has been around for the past few years. The card offers discounted prices on prescription medications. It offers you coupons on tons of medications and can save you a lot of money. The pharmacy discount card can be used at most pharmacies and typically gets you ten to seventy-five percent off of the traditional retail price of the drug. To get discounted medications this is a great option. It is also free to use and is at zero risk to you. It is very easy to sign up for one and takes only a few minutes. It is very secure because it does not share your personal health information with the company. A pharmacy discount card is a secure, fast, and free way to save money on your medications. 

Compare Locations

Another way to save that many people do not think about is to compare the prices of prescription medications at different locations near you. Sometimes you could even find your medication for cheaper on an online pharmacy that could deliver the medication to your door. It may not seem easy to compare the prices of medications, but it really is. The pharmacy discount card company also allows you to reach a search engine on their website to compare prices of different prescription drugs. Being able to see the different prices allows you to choose the one that is the cheapest and will save you the most money. This is a very easy way to save money and will make it easier on your wallet. 

Generic v Brand Name

Generic options sometimes get a bad reputation, but most of the time they are of the same quality and work the same as the brand name. Sometimes, the generic brand is even preferred. Shopping generic is a great way to save money because you are not paying for the name of the company that makes the brand name option. There is usually a pretty substantial price difference between the two. Choosing the generic option can save you a lot of money, especially if it is something that you take regularly. Make sure you check with your healthcare provider about making this switch, as they may have a professional opinion about which one they think will be best for you. Be open and honest about your financial situation and your desire to save money on prescription medications. 

Assistance Programs

Lastly, if you truly cannot afford your medications or the above options do not work for you there is one more thing to consider. There are assistance programs both through the government and the manufacturers of the drugs. These are usually offered to low income individuals and can pay partially or fully for the cost of the medication. Take a look into this as it may be a great option for people struggling to pay for medications. You should never have to go without taking your medications because you cannot afford them. Use these strategies to make it a little easier to manage financially. 

Save The Environment By Using Eco-Friendly Bags

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Plastic was a great invention back in the olden days that was used in almost every household materials. Even today, plastic is used in almost every industry. However, plastic has been contaminating the earth as well. Humans are using over 160,000 plastic bags every second which means more than 5 trillion plastic bags will pollute the earth.

Moreover, plastic is not biodegradable which means it would take around 700-100 years to degrade and that is the reason why people are finding alternative solutions to it. Although when it comes to packaging materials, it always revolves around plastics and paper bags. While there are a number of better ways to get bags that will converse the environment beyond being highly convenient in carrying items around such as reusable shopping bags. There are many advantages of using eco-friendly over plastic bags which you can read in this article.

Economic

There is a plastic bag tax that increased the cost of plastic bags for both retailers and shoppers which makes a purchase of reusable bags more appealing.

  • The average person will use about 13,000 plastic bags in his/her lifetime, which is about a 5p charge. This means you will be spending $650/year on just plastic bags.
  • On the other hand, a reusable bag can cost you anywhere between 50p to $1 but has a lifespan equivalent to 500 plastic bags. This also means that you can save $625 a year.
  • This is important as your customers are always looking forward to saving money where they can, so if you can explain to them this then they will be much happier.
  • Reusable bags are even washable, so if there is any spill inside then you can just wash it and use it again and again.
  • While there are many stores and supermarkets out there that offer their customers with bonuses and loyalty points for customers who bring their own reusable shopping bags.

Environmental Reasons

One of the biggest reasons to switch traditional plastic bags to reusable and eco-friendly bags comes from the environmental impact. However, in an age of social media where one negative incident can quickly spread like wildfire across the web and can damage your business’ reputation.

  • Each year plastic is responsible for millions of deaths of birds and other animals.
  • Another disadvantage of plastic bags is that it takes up to 1000 years to decompose.
  • Whereas eco-friendly bags are produced from a number of biodegradable materials like canvas or jute.
  • Eco-friendly bags from ice-green.ca are an easy way to not only support environmentally friendly practices but to show it as well.

Practical

It goes without that at its very core the point of a bag is to be practical and for shopping bags that practical purpose to ensure the safe transport of your shopping. Moreover, reusable shopping bags offer a whole host of practical benefits.

  • Reusable and eco-friendly shopping bags provide your customers with a much sturdier and stronger solution than the old plastic bag.
  • With the use of materials such as cotton, reusable bags often have ergonomic handles that allow you to easily carry the bags.
  • Reusable bags are usually bigger in size than disposable bags but can be easily folded which will take up less room.
  • Although if you got a cool and funky design on your reusable bag then it can become a fashion accessory for your customers, ensuring that your brand is seen wherever they go.
  • Reusable bags are made from strong materials which means any leaks or spills inside the bag and prevents it from making any mess.

 

Styling Tips For Your Nursery

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Styling a nursery is one of the many activities parents are excited about. While some parents go overboard trying to style their kid’s room while others simply opt for nursery packages in Australia. These packages are often considered as a starter package that consists of basic furniture one might need for a newborn. Such packages might be available in several styles and themes to help parents decorate the room as per their liking.

There are also those who spare no item when decorating the nursery. This includes decorating the walls and buying designer cots as well as many other items baby dresser in Australia. Such a nursery will typically include items like a crib, dresser, glider, bookshelves, toy chest, changing table, rocker, etc.

Styling Tips

  • Many people prefer neutral colors in a child's room which is a good idea and also a cost-effective solution. In addition to this, it is also a good idea to make use of fancy wallpaper or wall stickers to transform the space into your nursery.
  • An average nursery will have several items that may either be arranged as per some theme or a simple practical arrangement. It is advisable to place a cot near the corner of the room for more playing areas and keeping the kids safe.
  • A bookcase is an essential item for any nursery since besides being adding to the aesthetical value of the room it also is quite practical. Parents often use books for the purpose of pacifying their children while they are growing up. It is necessary for the select the right size too.
  • Other styling items include durable rugs to protect the carpet underneath. Select ones made from good material to prevent unexpected spills.
  • Storage is essential if you have a newborn in the house; the need for good storage space increases as the child grows older too. There are several options when it comes to selecting storage space; this includes dedicated storage as well as innovative storage options integrated with other furniture items.
  • Age plays an important factor in selecting the right kind of furniture. The type of storage your child will require as a newborn is different from that when they grow older. The children will also outgrow the cots however; some of the furniture might come in handy for a longer duration. These are important factors to keep in mind when designing the nursery.
  • All parents prefer different styles; one of the styles making a comeback is the vintage style. Creating a vintages feeling may take some effort and will require to place classic vintage items like name plaques decorative hooks for bags and hats, etc. The theme of the room really boils down to personal preference and the theme of the house as well. 

Opting for Nursery Packages

Parents often opt for a nursery package. This is a package that consists of many of the common items one would require in a nursery. For example, such packages are known to include items like cot, a special mattress, a dresser, a changing pad, etc. There are many different types of nursery packages available hence the type of items and style will differ depending on the package you select.

There are infinite options when it comes to designing the nursery for your child, thus it is important not to go overboard while doing so. The best way to achieve this is to set a budget to start with, not spend on extra items that you are not likely to require them. It is a good idea to start the designing process early however, avoid over buying items by restricting the number of items to the essential and most important ones.

 

Get A Good Night’s Sleep With These Bedroom Style and Color Ideas

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Some people use their bedrooms for other things aside from sleeping. For some, it serves as a personal office or even a lounge room. But one way or another, it is a place for rest. It should provide you the relaxation and comfort both physically and mentally so you could get the energy you’ll need for the next day’s challenges.

We’ve all had those sleepless nights where no matter how much tossing and turning you do, sleep finds a way to elude you. There are lots of external and internal factors as to why you can’t go to sleep. Either you’re overthinking about tomorrow’s big meeting with clients or your bedroom’s current state is affecting you even without you noticing.

If it’s the latter, here are four easy bedroom style ideas you can use to help you get a good night’s sleep.

Accessible and relaxing lights

brown and white table lamp with light

If you’re someone like me, who likes to relax before bed by reading a book, having a bedside lamp in your nightstand is not only smart, but an essential item to have in your bedroom.

Placing lamps and on your bedside table makes it easier for you to access them right away. You don’t need to stand up and walk halfway across the room to turn off the light when all you wanted to do is to close your eyes and go to sleep. 

When selecting a good table lamp, stay away from the kinds that produce ultraviolet lights. It can suppress hormone production for circadian rhythm. Go for bedside lamps with the color hues similar to that of sunrise and sunset. 

Use soothing colors on your bedroom walls

empty bed inside room during daytime

Whether your favorite color is neon pink or acid green, having those types of colors on your bedroom walls is probably the main culprit of your lack of a good night’s sleep.

Colors have an immense influence on how you feel, more so if it’s the color of your bedroom walls. If the colors are warm and on the darker side, save those colors for social rooms such as your dining room and private lounge. Cool colors like pale blue, cool yellow, and light grey give off the impression of a calming environment which we are aiming to get in a bedroom. 

Going with the science of colors might be logical, but your personal preferences play a much bigger role in this. You want your bedroom to be relaxing and safe based on your own standards, and not because of what science dictates.

Pick a color that you’re drawn to. Then select the shade that sparks joy, comfort, and would help you be in a state of relaxation. If you’re drawn to pink, go with a light rose pink color rather than the hot neon pink shade.

Install blackout drapes

window curtain open wide

Imagine living in a big city like New York where almost everywhere is bright all the time that it literally lives up to its nickname as “The city that never sleeps.” Because of this modern lifestyle, people who live in big cities are often the ones who are not getting enough or even the best of sleep.

It is advisable though to dim the lights an hour before your set bedtime, but how are you going to do that with these lights from the street?

One easy hack to fix this is to opt for curtains with darkening shades. This helps block out the light coming from the outside.

Investing in a set can prevent or significantly lessen the outdoor lights from street lamps and establishments to entering your bedroom that can affect your mind and body’s so-called natural circadian rhythm. 

Maximize your bedroom’s floor space 

black table lamp on nightstand

If your bedroom is considerably small, having too many pieces of furniture, unnecessary stuff and clutter around what’s supposed to be your place of rest can cause uneasiness and sometimes anxiety for some which can be the principal cause of preventing them from having a good night’s sleep.

One way to do that is to apply the concept of minimalism in your bedroom. By keeping only the most bare essentials(bed, bedside table, reading lamp, curtains, and probably a few accessories), not only that you can maximize the bedroom’s floor space, you are also harnessing your mind to thinking your bedroom is a place for sleep which is what you should focus on when you’re there. 

One little hack I’ve learned is to install a mirror on a section of your wall to make the room appear larger and classy. They are cheaper alternatives and will add light to your space, making it feel airier. Rather than acquiring expensive wall art and decor, go for mirrors with nice frames. They are easier to mix and match no matter how small your space can be. 

If you’re not into minimalism, you can try to implement a smart storage strategy for your stuff. As much as possible, try to assign a home for things that get cluttered easily, such as clothes, books, shoes, and cosmetics. Try to keep your room as organized as you can, so you’re not worried about where to find things the next day or trip over some stuff in the middle of the night.

Bottom line

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the many things you’ll need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you’re not getting enough of it, your current bedroom set up is probably one of the main culprits why. Investing a little bit of your time to doing at least one or two of the bedroom style ideas mentioned above would not only help you relax in your own space but also improve the quality of your sleep. 

Fashion Hysteria: 7 Fashion Tips And Tricks To Help You Look More Stylish

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Fashion trends are changing from time to time. Some say that fashion is all about dressing what's trending. A smart dresser or a fashionista is always seeking for what's new in the fashion industry, and this kind of habit makes a fashionista stylish.

It is a trait for most of the fashionistas to buy clothes and never wore it. You buy clothes to wear it, not to hold on it and stuck it on your wardrobe. Looking stylish isn't just about wearing expensive clothes or wearing the most popular and trendy dresses.

Sometimes, wearing a simple sunglasses would already make you more fashionable. So here are some tips and tricks to help you become stylish.

Wear At Least One Accessory

It's like going to school without bringing a pen, that's why accessories are a part of an outfit. It gives you a satisfying feeling and can make your clothing astonishing. Most women wear false eyelashes or eyelash extensions.

It is one of the most common and convenient accessories women wear to enhance their beauty. So, how long do eyelash extensions last? This kind of accessory lasts for almost eight weeks or two months.

Roll Up Your Sleeve

Rolling up the sleeves when wearing a button-up shirt can make a fashionable style to your clothing. It can add comfort and composure to your shirt. It looks good with long denim sleeves and dark coloured long sleeves.

Wear the Opposite Foot Wear

Whatever outfit you want to wear, choose the opposite style of shoes. For example, exchange high heels to flat booties, sandals to sneakers and sneaker to heels. The more it doesn't feel right, the more it fits.

Don’t Keep Or Buy Clothing that Doesn’t Fit

It is not right to cling on to items that no longer fit you. It's also not essential to buy clothes that don't fit your size for the reason that it is on sale or just hoping that one day you will be able to wear it.

Holding on to items that don't fit you anymore is the worst thing for your wardrobe. The best way to get rid of it is to put it on sale and buy another set of clothes that best suits you.

Go For Heels!

Heels heighten your look literally. It can boost your confidence physically and mentally. You are not obliged to wear heels every day, but including them in your collection can undoubtedly give you a lot of stylish benefits.

Wear Leather Jacket

It doesn't matter if you're wearing jeans, gown, or gym clothing. A black leather jacket or any good motorcycle jacket improves every outfit. Wearing a leather jacket is always a classic choice, it may not be a must but, leather jackets can be an excellent pair of most stylish clothing.

Be Confident

The most important trick to becoming stylish is to be confident in all aspects. The truth is, looking stylish comes down to being confident.  If you walk the streets wearing one of your elegant clothing with confidence, people will have to look at you and agree that the clothes you wear are suitable for you.

Takeaway

Wanting stylish clothing doesn't require you to spend much effort and money. You can wear anything you want effortlessly.  No matter what you're wearing, if you're confident and happy, you'll always look better inside and out.

These are just seven of the many tips and tricks to become stylish. If you want to become one, you can start slowly by getting rid of the clothes that you don't want anymore.  

Transpire Ethical Home: Go Green With Your Furniture Using These Approach

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You deeply care about our environment, thoughtfully practice the value of sustainability and considering the budget-friendly feature to all things. Plus, you may already do your role to follow an eco-friendly lifestyle, whether it means of taking a shorter shower to save water, biking going to the office rather than driving, or using and recycling energy saving bulbs.

But, as you're mastering these steps toward a greener lifestyle, you probably want to do more such as applying green practices to your entire home, particularly in your furniture.

Here, you'll find tips on making an eco-friendly home, which will end up in a more long-lasting investment, defend your health and of our planet as well, and a chance to create a high social impact while offering luxury and pleasing designs.

Cast the Furniture’s Durability

The green and eco-friendly furniture are the ones which warehouses are away from the landfills. Thus, there’s something to be spoken about investing in a high-quality furniture piece that is built to last.

For example, think about your grandparents’ dining sets that are probably still durable even for generations. Hence, by buying less and spending a little more money on high-quality furniture will save you and the environment as well in the long run.

Opt for Products with Recycled Materials

Recycling materials may require less preparation, and unlike in producing new materials, it only needs fewer resources. Purchasing products that are from recycled materials help to promote the market for the recycled resources.

Also, being aware of what “recyclable” actually means is essential. Thus, look for products with the certification from Cradle to Cradle, and avoid those "monstrous hybrid" products, since they are prone to recycling inappropriately.

Love those Pre-owned

Have this one to consider; try to acquire used furniture from different thrift shops, or at any garage sale. Buying secondhand furniture means that you won’t use any new materials by acquiring a lightly used item, though you may use a few resources to give it a new look.

Further, purchasing pre-owned furniture also prevents those large pieces from being dumped in landfills, where they will undoubtedly end up if their owners won't find them a new home.

Go with Bamboo

Another tip towards buying eco-friendly furniture, consider choosing furnishings made up of bamboo materials. For one thing, bamboo is a much sustainable material, durable, and it also grows fast.

Further, it’s an incredibly flexible material, while it can be applied to flooring, it can be into modern furniture as well. However, there are some things you should be aware of bamboo trees. For instance, bamboo furniture is held together by glue that contains toxic and harsh chemicals.

Though bamboo is abundant in China with lesser chemicals, cropping of bamboo uses a ton of water and can usually suck up all the nutrients from the soil.

Say No to Flame Retardants

Instead of off-gassing like the other chemicals, flame retardants usually fall out on cushioning. In detail, flame retardants are powders, which can get mixed with dust throughout the house.

Though flame retardants are designed to keep you safe, there isn’t enough proof of them making anything rather than releasing harmful fumes while your sofa burns.

To point out, avoid those products that are made out of foam, instead choose natural latex, wool, or cotton down. Further, you can also ask the manufacturer to find out if they're using any flame retardants.

Takeaway

Going green is greatly essential to most households in this generation. It can also create an impact regarding environmental issues and the increasing threat of global warming. Overall, whether you want to purchase new furnishings for your home, or you want to contribute reducing the further destruction of our environment, consider buying ethical furniture. By browsing internet sites such as Black Mango and other furniture shops, you can have the variety and choices according to your preference.

Fashion Sustainability in Progress: A Series

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When most people think of fashion brands, they immediately think of what fashion stands for them as an individual or an organization. For a fashion designer, it may be making patterns, prototypes, and the works. For a fashion blogger, it may be minimalistic fashion. For a consumer, it may be fashion trends. The truth is, most people don’t care about ethics when it comes to fashion, and probably not even the environment. If only they knew who makes their clothes, how they make and ship it to them, perspectives would change.

“The horrendously low prices that farmers get for their produce is a symptom of a society with warped priorities; we do not want to pay adequately to someone who keeps us alive, but we are willing to pay through our noses for branded shoes and gadgets. And in relation to the latter, we don’t even care what the actual factory worker gets.” – Scroll.in

Lack of information about these brands, how they produce and supply their products, how transparent they are about their operations keeps consumers in a state of ignorance. This is changing with the emergence of the slow fashion revolution. The Fashion Transparency Index ranks the levels of transparency of 100 of the biggest global fashion companies. It makes it easy for consumers and businesses to make informed decisions, it has saved lives and also protected our environment.

Fast fashion brands are adapting to the transparency and business risks by being more resourceful, ethical, and technologically advanced. But, what exactly are they doing? To answer that, we are bringing you a series of blog posts. We will look at the most selling brands in the fashion industry in the year 2016-17. Interbrand, a global brand consultancy, reported Best Global Brands of 2017. Ten luxury and apparel companies made their mark in the top 100. Each blog post would probe into these companies for environmental and social performance by highlighting their progress. Stay tuned for a bimonthly series looking into their sustainability efforts.

Stay tuned!

Anuja Sawant

Environment & Social Sustainability Specialist

https://anujasawant.com/

Fashion Sustainability in Progress: Louis Vuitton and Dior

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This is the first article in a bimonthly series where we will look at the most selling brands in the fashion industry in the year 2016-17. Interbrand, a global brand consultancy, reported Best Global Brands of 2017. Ten luxury and apparel companies made their mark in the top 100. Each blog post would probe into these companies for environmental and social performance by highlighting their progress. Stay tuned for this bimonthly series looking into their sustainability efforts.

Ranking on Best Global Brands of 2017: LOUIS VUITTON is at 19 and DIOR is at 95 out of 100.

Fashion Transparency Index Final Score: 11-20% Brands scoring between 11-20% are likely to be publishing a majority of policies, some procedures and information about their supplier assessment and remediation processes. Total scores were out of 250 possible points, which we have converted into percentages. Fashion Revolution choses to publish percentages rather than each brands' individual scores because they felt it encourages readers to focus on emerging patterns rather than exact details.

Third party verification of report: Yes. ERNST & YOUNG et Associés.

Reporting Standard: The information set out in its document also reflects the guidelines in Version 4.0 of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, better known as LVMH, is a European multinational luxury goods conglomerate, native of France and headquartered in Paris.  LVMH was one of the first groups to set up its own Environment Department – in 1992, the year of the Earth Summit in Rio. In 2017, the Group’s Environment Department will celebrate its 25th anniversary. Louis Vuitton and Dior are a part of this same group.

Insights from the its sustainability report:

Training and Employee Engagement

  • LIFE 2020 (LIFE (LVMH Initiatives For the Environment)) launched in 2016.
  • It’s Environment Academy trains employees on eco-design.
  • It’s online materials library introduces designers and developers over 300 “ecofriendly” materials.
  • Introduction of LVMH Store Environment Awards event.

Environmental Expenditure

  • In 2016, the total amount of the Group’s purely environmental expenditure was €23.8 million, including: €13.5 million in operating expenses, and €10.3 million in investments. Louis Vuitton is set to increase its environmental budget by 50% between 2016 and 2017 compared with 2016, and has decided to make significant investments in eco-design, in the environmental responsibility of its procurement chain and in managing CO2 emissions relating to the transportation of its products.

Environmental performance measurement

  • LVMH launched the second version of Edibox in 2016. This is an Internet tool developed in-house that calculates the environmental performance index (EPI) of packaging, as well as the CO2 impact of packaging materials.

Biodiversity

  • Louis Vuitton has been involved in saving bees by supporting scientists and local voluntary organizations for several years.

Waste and resource conservation

  • New Krug box launched, a new packaging range for customers in Louis Vuitton stores, which is made out of FSC-certified paper that includes over 40% of recycled fibers.
  • To recover a portion of its waste, LVMH uses the CEDRE (Environmental Center for Environmentally-Friendly Packaging Elimination and Recycling) platform. CEDRE treated and recycled 2,023 metric tons of extremely diverse waste in 2016. Louis Vuitton, sent packaged items to the platform, including out-of-date alcohol based products, advertising materials and testers used in the stores, as well as empty packaging returned by customers, etc. Furthermore, Louis Vuitton used the platform to recycle textiles.
  • “Refills” are a way for LVMH to extend the lifespan of its products. For instance, Parfums Christian Dior has been developing this concept for many years. They began by applying it to its premium ranges. Nowadays, 80% of the serums and creams that it launches are refillable. This factor is reflected in the saving of 600,000 liters of water and about 11.6 metric tons of waste every year for the Capture Totale cream alone. Parfums Christian Dior pursued this initiative in 2016, when it marketed its new DreamSkin Perfect Skin Cushion cream in refillable packaging.
  • Louis Vuitton teams use digital models and 3-D printing, from the design stage to the industrial manufacture of the products. By offering the opportunity to view the many different possible arrays of colors and materials in a realistic manner, these tools fine-tune the preselection of the models to be prototyped and enable savings on materials.

Renewable Energy

  • Louis Vuitton uses geothermal power, for heating and cooling the staff’s common rooms and offices and intends to roll out an innovative heat recovery system at one of its sites. In Poland, Parfums Christian Dior chose LED lighting to light its new boutique that was opened in Warsaw in 2016.

Sustainable Procurement

  • Parfums Christian Dior’s formulae contain over 60% of plant-based ingredients. The Maison ensures that its procurement is sustainable in order to protect this essential asset.

Louis Vuitton and Dior in the news:

Anuja Sawant

Environment & Social Sustainability Specialist

https://anujasawant.com/

Fashion Sustainability in Progress:H&M

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This is the 2nd article in a bimonthly series where we will look at the most selling brands in the fashion industry in the year 2016-17. Interbrand, a global brand consultancy, reported Best Global Brands of 2017. Ten luxury and apparel companies made their mark in the top 100. Each blog post would probe into these companies for environmental and social performance by highlighting their progress. Stay tuned for this bimonthly series looking into their sustainability efforts.

Ranking on Best Global Brands of 2017: H&M is at 23 out of 100.

Fashion Transparency Index Final Score: 41-50% Brands scoring over 40% are those who are most likely to be publishing more detailed supplier lists, some will be publishing processing facilities as well as manufacturers — in addition to detailed information about their policies, procedures, social and environmental goals, supplier assessment and remediation processes and general assessment findings. These brands are also more likely to be addressing the Spotlight Issues such as living wages, collective bargaining and/ or circular resources.

Third party verification of report: Yes. Ernst & Young AB.

Reporting Standard: This report is prepared in accordance with the GRI Standards: Core Option. Organizations have the choice between “in accordance – core” and “in accordance – comprehensive”, depending on the comprehensiveness of the disclosures made.

Insights from the its sustainability report:

Waste and resource conservation:

  • Collaborated with Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute to help support industry-wide demand and supply of sustainable materials.
  • The Global Change Award innovation challenge, initiated by the H&M Foundation in 2015 aims to find new ideas to help close the loop on textiles. Each year, an expert panel annually selects five winners that share a grant of EUR 1 million and gain access to a one-year innovation accelerator provided by the H&M Foundation, Accenture and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
  • Clever Care Label: In 2016, we have also launched an extended garment care information page online. This information helps customers care for their clothes in a way that makes them last longer, including making simple repairs and washing less.
  • Conscious Exclusive, C/O Cheap Monday Capsule Collection, and Closed Loop 2016 collections are an example of how our design can be used to expand a product’s lifespan or allow for reuse and recyclability.
  • Together with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, they have developed a tool to assess the circularity of our non-commercial goods, such as store interiors. The tool will be used from 2017 onwards and aims to increase the sustainability of the non-commercial goods we buy. The tool will also support their dialogue with suppliers, helping increase awareness of circularity in their products and processes.
  • H&M Foundation and The Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA) have entered a four-year partnership to develop the required technologies to recycle blended textiles into new fabrics and yarns.
  • Developed incentives for our customers to create positive behavioural change through the H&M Club and for those who recycle their clothes via their garment collection programme.
  • Collaborated with the innovation company Worn Again saw some promising technologies in development for textile-to-textile recycling.
  • In 2016, H&M commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment study to understand the impact of closing the loop by recycling cotton. The study showed that by using recycled cotton fibre instead of virgin cotton fibre, we can reduce climate and water impacts by 80–90% for the stages up to when the fibre is ready for spinning. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible to use more than 20% recycled cotton from collected garments in a product (because of quality issues), but they are investing in technology to overcome this challenge.

Sustainability performance

  • Collaborated with Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to build a Higg Index tool to measure the sustainability performance of apparel and footwear. The Higg Index measures environmental, social and labour impacts, presents a score and identifies areas for improvement. It was one of the first global fashion companies to roll out the facility module of the Higg Index to all of its first tier factories, followed by second tier factories that represent 56% of the H&M group’s total business volume. Over the last few years, they have developed a supplier assessment programme called the SIPP – the Sustainable Impact Partnership Programme. This is based on the Higg Index facility module as well as their own KPIs (for now).

Transparency

  • In 2016, the H&M group collaborated with Control Union on a pilot traceability system for organic cotton and viscose. It is a web-based system that allows suppliers to record incoming and outgoing shipments and provide transaction records and a QR code for each one. Selected suppliers from all tiers were trained to use the system for this pilot, which enabled fibre to garment traceability. The pilot was a success and they now plan to scale up the system to cover the entire viscose supply chain over the next few years.

Sustainable procurement

  • H&M is the biggest user of responsibly sourced down.
  • H&M is the second largest user of recycled polyester in the world.
  • H&M is the world’s biggest user of Better Cotton.
  • 96% of electricity used in their own operations comes from renewable sources.
  • The H&M group works with indirectly with mills - 1,826 first tier factories of which 508 are based in EMEA and 1,318 in Southeast Asia. It works directly with organisations such as Solidaridad and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) to help mills improve their performance. In doing so, it has integrated fabric and yarn mills that are involved in making about 56% of its products into their supplier assessment system.
  • H&M is the second largest user of Tencel®Lyocell (also known as Lyocell). Lyocell is produced in a closed loop system and has a lower environmental impact than other man-made cellulosic fibres. Tencel® is a brand owned by fibre manufacturer, Lenzing. The generic name for the material is Lyocell. The H&M group considers only Tencel® manufactured by Lenzing as a conscious material.
  • In 2016, H&M helped develop the Responsible Wool Standard in a project led by the Textile Exchange. It is now working to get RWS-certified wool into their supply chain.

Investment

  • CO:LAB, an internal investment team makes investments in sustainable fashion, innovative business models and technology enablers, and looks for companies with a strategic match to our business.
  • Invested in Sellpy, a Swedish start-up that offers an on-demand service to help people sell items they no longer use, to help them develop and scale their sustainable retail concept – a new and exciting way to shop that aligns well with our own business concept of fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way.

Organic

  • The H&M group was one of the founding partners of the Organic Cotton Accelerator (OCA) which was launched in 2016. The OCA is a foundation created to accelerate the organic cotton market and find solutions to issues that the industry is facing.
  • They also launched its new Conscious Beauty range of organically produced products for skin, hair and body in March 2016.

Training & employee engagement

  • H&M regularly trains their design and buying office on sustainable material use. They have a specific Conscious Material Course that covers both the why and the how of their work with materials approved as ‘conscious’, as well as a company strategy for sustainable material use.
  • In 2016, a team of H&M group chemists has undergone training in Green Screen hazard assessment, a robust and transparent scientific method of identifying chemicals of high concern and suggesting safer alternatives.
  • In 2016, H&M we ran a Hazardous Substances Control training pilot for 93 suppliers in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and Turkey. They compared the assessment results before and after the training and saw a significant improvement in areas relating to chemical risk identification and chemical monitoring through technical information.

Environmental performance assessment

  • The environmental emission evaluator (E cube/ BVE3) is a measurement and monitoring tool from Bureau Veritas that was launched in 2016. It helps suppliers assess their performance and proactively improve their chemical usage and discharge performance. In 2016, H&M started a pilot project at 29 suppliers in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Turkey to test the online version of this tool.
  • H&M received an “AVANT-GARDE” grading in Greenpeace detox assessment in 2016, which means that they are a detox-committed company that is ahead in the field leading the industry towards a toxic-free future with credible timelines, concrete actions and on-the ground implementation.

Chemicals

  • The H&M group became part of the ChemSec business group in 2016 – a collaboration between companies to inspire the industry to use fewer toxic chemicals.

H&M in the news:

 

Anuja Sawant

Environment & Social Sustainability Specialist

https://anujasawant.com/