Unfortunately for us in the interior design industry many fabrics are imported from exotic locations all over the world. Sometimes this can be by air freight which is one of the largest contributions to global carbon emissions – perhaps in excess of 600 million tonnes per year.
The best environmentally friendly alternatives to air are by truck or by sea. Clearly these options have limites. Like many fabric manufacturers, KOTHEA endeavour to freight all goods woven in Europe by truck; as well as being the most environmentally freindly option, it is the cheapest option for European-sourced goods and is usually as quick as by air. Fabric from further afield, such as silk from Asia, is an attractive proposition for a manufacturer as it usually costs less to produce; it is much more cheaply shipped by sea but this can add weeks onto the delivery time.
Unfortunateley when designers simultaneously demand quick delivery and lower prices this can often involve air freight from Asia and the associated enironmental cost. One thought would be for fabric suppliers to ship in advance by sea and hold larger stock levels in the UK – there is of course then a significant amount of capital tied up in extensive collections across multiple colourways sometimes for long periods of time, that would raise the price.
Is the only environmental way forward for designers and their clients to demand environmentally shipped fabrics and be prepared to pay the premium and wait the extra time for delivery? Should suppliers take a hit and hold higher stock levels?
Is there a better way?