Until recently, one of the best compliments you could pay a company or organization was that they upheld values that are key to a ‘green economy’. But the concept has evolved and given rise to a new term, ‘blue economy’. But what’s the difference?
A green economy was one of the first proposed solutions to an increasingly wasteful society based on fast paced consumerism. At its core, a green economy involves the clean and safe production of goods, materials, and energy. New products are made from the waste materials of old products, and there is an emphasis on eco-friendly, biodegradable materials.
On the other hand, a blue economy, beyond just conserving resources is actively working to improve the health of the planet. Inspired by ocean ecosystems, a blue economy or business involves circular production from waste. This balances environmental sustainability with raising renvenue, creating jobs, and increasing social capital.
The Bank & Vogue family of companies is proud to be a trailblazer on the new blue business frontier. Started in the 90’s by Steven Bethell and Helene Carter-Bethell, Bank & Vogue has grown to become one of the largest brokers of used goods in North America. Our story is about playing an important role in the used goods industry from donation to re-creation, and everywhere in between. Every day we challenge ourselves to find new opportunities to extend the lifecycle of used goods and expand the closed loop economy.
Bank & Vogue works with its wholesale customers to source quality used product for domestic and international markets. We also partner with private collectors to help minimize the impact of used clothing on the environment. We’re always looking for new ways for charities and community organizations to raise money. Our Used Clothing Drive program helps these groups raise funds for projects that aren’t supported by traditional public funding. Overall we help move 90 million pounds of used goods around the world, keeping them out of landfills and in use!
Bank & Vogue also sources and handpicks items for our retail stores in Europe and online. Beyond Retro is a vintage and retro clothing haven for those who love sustainable and unique clothing. This network recycles over 500,000 items a year! We also recently launched Beyond Retro Label, which is crafted entirely from reclaimed materials. To date, our Label has leveraged the world’s collective closet to divert over 600,000 garments from the landfill.
We also believe about supporting and improving the communities in which we live and work. For many years we have been supporting the Karuna Girls Orphanage in Adipur Gujarat, India. This orphanage, which is home to 35 girls, resides in the community where we sort our vintage for our Beyond Retro stores and manufacture our Label product. Through fundraising we offset the cost of housing, and the costs of educating 15 girls at Karuna. We also ensure that food, water, and hydro bills are paid on time and in full.
Overall Bank & Vogue operates within the belief that Earth has limited resources to sustain life, but that nature is constantly increasing its efficiency to maximize its abilities. However, human production and consumption patterns are no longer sustainable, and we must use the waste of one product to create another. We are aiming to revolutionize our industry, making consumption a positive action. If all industries adopt the principles of a Blue Economy, it will be possible to live wholly in a sustainable way.