I was inspired by the recent BBC series “Blood, Sweat and T-shirts,” which I highly recommend everyone check out. It follows the exploration of six young British fashion enthusiasts
as they’re exposed to the production of their beloved mass-manufactured clothing. The viewer witnesses their emotional transformation from brazen consumerists to social activists as the cast experiences the industry’s harsh reality of non-existent wages, brutal hours, unhealthy conditions, and child labor. Chances are, 90% of those who see the series (I think I’m being generous here) will sympathize and move on, ignoring reality in exchange for synthetic ignorance. And that’s a shame, a truly horrific shame, because nearly every industry that we interact with on a daily basis has their own version of “Blood, Sweat and T-shirts.”
Being in the business of sustainable office supplies, the show led me to thinking about the abuse of natural resources and our environmental impact. With a few quick substitutions, the analogy holds true.
Poor wages = Little investment in preserving resources, leading to a continually degrading system
Long hours = Over-harvesting of natural resources, leading to diminishing quality and extinction
Unhealthy conditions = Outputs like chemicals and toxins entering other systems like water, air, soil food…
Child labor = Exploiting poorly managed resources without attending to its long-term effect
We need more great series like “Blood, Sweat and T-shirts” to keep these issues present and always important in mainstream media. Please check it out, pass it on to a friend, and then tell a stranger. Every impression is a step in the right direction.
I think we can empower and inform others by taking the same concept and applying it everywhere.
How can you apply the analogy to your industry or cause?
Jeff Eyink is the Marketing Manager of Dolphin Blue. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org