What are we Doing?
ECO360 TRUST™ is an experiential learning and outreach program designed to support the mission of the Institute for Sustainable Communication (ISC).
ISC's mission is to raise awareness, build capacity and foster the widespread adoption of sustainability in communication media. Both print and digital media need to be more environmentally restorative while remaining economically viable. ISC is committed to developing the next generation of communication leaders required to create socially constructive green jobs, and improve quality of life in the communities they touch.
However, sustainability is a complex topic, especially for young people. We created ECO360 TRUST to help college students put sustainability principles into practice and learn through experience.
Our challenge was to find a product or service with universal appeal. This way young people could put sustainability ideals into practice and “keep it real" and the business community could enable their sustainability messages to be consistent with the way they are communicated. For maximum impact the medium had to be the message, so their actions can speak for themselves.
Our solution: the T-shirt. We redesigned the manufacture, use, distribution and disposal of a common consumer product and form of expression. We created the "ECO360 TRUST shirt." To make the e360t shirts we changed the method for manufacturing and printing T-shirts, which demonstrates how supply chains can be effective and sustainable.
To raise funds for ISC’s Urban Scholars program we designed a cost-effective outreach. Our campaign is scalable in size and scope to create both private and public sector partnerships. Through our ECO360 TRUST campaign the ISC is developing awareness raising and outreach programs with the United Nations, major corporations and other progressive organizations.
Putting Our Values to Work
ISC's mission is to:
- Raise awareness
- Build capacity, and
- Foster the widespread adoption of communications media that must become:
- Economically viable
- Environmentally restorative, and
- Socially constructive
In other words, we want to transform global media supply chains! We want to change communication practices so business, government and individuals can meet the needs of present generations without harming future generations. Our ECO360 TRUST campaign combines the medium with our message. ECO360 TRUST branded shirts transform supply chains, create green jobs, contribute to the economy and support education.
ECO360 TRUST enables young leaders to foster constructive change. Under ISC's mentoring program, the interns utilize a website and social media campaign to communicate, collaborate and learn the skills to fulfill their educational and career goals.
ECO360 TRUST also enables companies to align their sustainability messages with the way those messages are communicated. This type of consistency gives them more credibility and more influence in the community of environmental and sustainability thought leaders.
The Benefits to Society
The ECO360 Trust campaign arose from sustainability activities that the ISC has been doing since its inception.
For several years ISC has produced conferences, seminars, workshops and publications focused on the media supply chain practices of public and private sector organizations.
At the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, ISC created our “Hopenhagen” initiative to raise awareness for supporting education about sustainability to combat climate change. We collaborated with the UN and the Ogilvy & Mather agency. "Hopenhagen" was a modest success, and it got the attention of progressive organizations, companies and academics.
With their encouragement, we launched ECO360 Trust. ISC's ECO360 Trust campaign encourages climate action by developing products that recycle waste, reduce water pollution and minimize energy usage while creating local jobs and supporting education.
Yes, it is an ambitious agenda. Here is how we see the societal benefits of ECO360 Trust and the e360t shirts.
Create a Product that People want:
- Everyone wears Tshirts, so why not create an environmentally friendly Tshirt that embodies our message in the medium itself?
- The e360t shirts are comfortable, light weight, and wick away moisture and are custom designed for every one to enjoy.
- Recycling Plastic: The e360t shirts are made from 100% recycled PET, the same plastic found in soda and water bottles, and each REshirt prevents 3 plastic bottles from going into a landfill or ending up in the ocean.
- Saving Water: No fresh water is used to grow cotton or dye fabrics for the e360t shirts. Each shirt saves 8 gallons of fresh water from being polluted with dye and pesticides from growing and dyeing cotton.
- Reducing Waste: The e360t shirts are printed digitally, so there are fewer materials used, no silk screening, no color separation and less waste in the process.
Social Justice Benefits:
- Creating American jobs: The e360t shirts are manufactured and sewn in US factories that create jobs and pay a living wage.
- No sweatshops: Most Tshirt production occurs in developing countries under conditions that can charitably be described as "substandard." e360t shirts are made with in conditions that respect human rights, safety and labor standards.
- e360t shirts purchases are tax deductible donations to help pay college tuition for academically promising low income students who cannot afford higher education but could easily excel if given the chance.
- With micro scholarships of between $500-$1200 per student.
- ISC students receive experiential learning and mentoring in media, communications and technology.
Make Sustainability Concepts more Meaningful:
- Sustainability messages are often delivered through speeches, reports, articles, films or photos. Why not make them immediate and personal? Each time a person puts on a e360t shirts they are becoming part of the solution.
- The e360t shirts have a story behind them. They get people talking so sustainability becomes part of daily conversation.
- Show people how they can be eco-friendly in multiple ways with little effort and simple gestures.
- Many companies have Sustainability or Corporate Social Responsibility policies and most of these companies buy Tshirts for corporate occasions. They can practice what they preach and replace the cheap Tshirts with a e360t shirts that has value.
- Enable young people to express hope for the planet in a cool way.
The Results of Innovation
We took an item that millions of people use, and redesigned its supply chain to help fix the environmental, social and economic problems created by common production methods.
To begin with, our fabric is created from 100% post-consumer recycled PET, which is both plentiful and recyclable. Each e360t shirts saves 3 plastic bottles from ending up in a landfill.
Water pollution is a greater concern, since cotton requires enormous amounts of water to grow. In addition, between 17-20 % of industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment. We use digital printing technology which uses no water in the dyeing and printing process. Each e360t shirts saves 8 gallons of fresh water from being polluted.
We save water in both e360t shirts production and in daily use. e360t shirts are durable and require little care. The dyes do not run. The shirts can be washed in cold or warm water, with the whites, with or without bleach. This reduces wash cycles, saves energy, water and money.
Our sourcing and manufacturing process is "on-demand" so a company or organization only buys what they need, when they need it. There are no minimum quantities, pre-press or color separation. This process saves time, money, energy, inventory and also prevents waste.
ISC did not create these technologies or processes. We simply packaged them with American manufacturing to provide income for struggling communities.
Our Future Goals
We want companies and brands with sustainability or social responsibility practices to adopt and use ECO360 products for their cause marketing campaigns, events, and promotional purchases. This will help us to achieve two long term objectives.
First is to raise funds for ISC’s micro-scholarship fund. Amounts as small as $500-$1200 enable inner city students to get their degrees.
Second is to raise awareness of ‘sustainability’ vs. ‘green’ for consumers, private and public organizations. This will help raise awareness and improve purchasing decision making by the consumers and private and public sector purchasing agents.
Even brands that sponsor ‘green causes’ still make purchasing decisions based on price from their approved vendors. This ignores the greater social cost, and contradicts their stated social responsibility or sustainability practices and reporting.