I’ve seen people change over the last two years. Friends who thought bringing their own containers to buy a takeaway lunch was an affront to their lifestyle now do exactly that, and in earnest. They even carry their own reusable straws. People do care about climate change. And as more of us start to make conscious changes to our lifestyle, fashion brands are swiftly identifying products they can market. French luxury fashion label Dior is the latest to tap on the trend.
Its Toile de Jouy is a beautiful box set containing six straws in two designs. One has a fully gold-plated body, and the other features a gold spiral across a transparent body. The straws are made of glass that boast the artisanal treatment of being hand-blown and hand-painted. The price tag? £120 (or SGD200).
There are merits to Dior’s glass straws. It is better-looking than plain bamboo and metal ones; it can help to reduce the usage of plastic straws in restaurants and coffee shops. What more, this product serves as an extension of Dior’s sustainability direction – Dior’s parent company LVHM worked with UNESCO for the Man and Biosphere (MAB) biodiversity programme to safeguard biodiversity across the planet. But it still begs the question: can Dior do better?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that glass is harming the environment; it is the production of glass that is. Glass production adds to the global carbon emission percentage when China, the United States and the rest of the world are already contributing to more than 20 per cent. Though it’s unclear if Dior’s glass is made from raw materials or recycled glass – using recycled glass can reduce energy usage and air and water pollution – one can only hope its the latter.
If we compare this to what other brands are doing to help the environment, Dior’s effort kind of falls short. For starters, the trend of reusable straws is old news.
Italian luxury label Prada has its Re-Nylon collection comprising accessories that use plastic wastes from the ocean, fishing nets, and textile fiber waste. This targets the eight million tons of plastic that entered our ocean. To put into perspective, plastic straws only contribute to 0.025 per cent of that.
Then we’ve got Gucci pledging to go 100 per cent carbon neutral in its operation and supply chains, and funding to four United Nations’ forest conservation projects. And Timberland? Beyond using sustainable materials in its products, the brand recently announced its new commitment, Nature Needs Heroes, to plant 50 million trees around the world by 2025. Both brands tackling Green House Gas (GHG) emissions released by deforestation and forest degradation.
It’s not that Dior’s product is a bad idea; it’s just that Dior can definitely do better. When you’re asking consumers to nurture Earth’s health back with SGD200 straws, there needs to be more. Say all of the proceeds will go into a conservation project like Allbird and Just Water’s Amazon Forest Fund. One would prefer to help more effectively than having a box of designed straws which will, more often than not, end up as decoration on the dressing table.