Sustainable and environmentally-friendly buttons It has been just over ten years since the discussion surrounding sustainable fashion gained serious momentum. Many producers now work with ecological sustainability and social responsibility. For the manufacturer who wants to take environmental responsibility to the limit, there is the fantastic alternative of buttons made of fruit from a special palm found in South America, in the rainforests of Ecuador. With its rich and unique plant and animal life, the rainforest in South America’s Amazon is often called the world’s lungs. Yet the rainforest must be protected, and one of the many ways to do so is to support the families that harvest corozo or tagua, the fruit from a special palm in Ecuador. The fruits are dried, processed and eventually become buttons for the fashion industry. “There are roughly 2000 individuals who gain their income from harvesting the fruits,” explains Ignacio Maya, CEO for Traﬁno, one of Ecuador’s largest exporters of tagua blanks for corozo button manufacturing around the world. “When the fruits have dried, they are sliced into discs and punched out into diﬀerent sizes called blanks. Everything is a pure craft. We then purchase the material, perform quality checks and see to it that they are sent to various button manufacturers across the world.” At the moment, Ecuador is the only exporter of tagua blanks in the world. Ignacio Maya points out that those harvesting the fruits also become the best guardians of the rainforest. They don’t need to cut down trees, for example, in order to grow other crops for their livelihood. “If fashion manufacturers chose buttons from the corozo fruit instead of plastic or polyester buttons, this would be a great environmental step forward in protecting the rainforest,” says Ignacio Maya emphatically. “Could there be a better motive for
a manufacturer who wants to protect the environment?” “Scandinavia is a very interesting market with respect to the environmental commitment found in the fashion industry,” says Ricardo Falla, the Trade Commissioner tasked with promoting trade between Ecuador and the Scandinavian and Baltic countries. Getting Swedish fashion manufacturers to understand just how sustainable using buttons made from the fruit of these wild rainforest palms is, instead of plastic ones, is a challenge for Ricardo Falla. “Sweden and Swedish fashion manufacturers are widely regarded as global pioneers in terms of their sustainable environmental eﬀorts and social responsibility. Imagine if they were to equip their apparel with environmentally friendly buttons as well.” Ricardo Falla also emphasizes that there is no diﬀerence in the design of buttons: “We send the tagua blanks to skilled button manufacturers across the world. They can manufacture buttons with exactly the design and colors the customer wants. We know that the fashion industry places great demands on design; we can live up to this and can additionally oﬀer both sustainability and social responsibility. Now more than ever consumers are aware of what their clothes are made oﬀ, and if designers and brands start to use these buttons, not only are they choosing a sustainable and environmental friendly material, but also helping preserve the unique biodiversity of the Ecuadorian rainforest”. For more information about tagua or corozo buttons, you can contact the PRO ECUADOR oﬃce in Sweden at email@example.com
HABIT Magazine published on May 29th, 2018.