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Setting a high eco benchmark for NZ fashion

Media release – December 21, 2007

Untouched World setting a high sustainable eco benchmark for NZ fashion business in 2008

New Zealand eco-fashion label Untouched World leads the fashion industry into 2008 as all their clothing items are about to become the first fashion company in the world to carry a United Nations sustainability logo.

Untouched World has been given UNESCO approval to attach the UN decade of education for sustainable development education logo to all its clothing line. They are one of just a handful of organisations worldwide allowed to use the special UN eco logo.

``This is the first time a New Zealand company has been invited to use the label and it will put Untouched World and New Zealand on the map in taking sustainable business seriously,” says chief executive Peri Drysdale.

Untouched World sells organic cotton t-shirts and certified organic merino garments. Other ranges feature organic denims, organic cottons, bamboo and even garments made with blends of super soft possum fibre.

They provide Elephant Mondays (buy and sell) for staff; they use Christmas cards made by children of the staff; they use organic materials for clothing; recycled cotton buttons, recycled fusing; and they are reconsidering such things as their inks and dyes and are looking carefully at the working conditions of the people who make their garments.

``There is a direct correlation between the success of our business and how fast we can grow and expand our ground-breaking sustainable leadership programmes. Our charitable trust has been running these with 16-20yr olds throughout New Zealand since 2001,’’ Drysdale says.

Untouched World and the Untouched World Charitable Trust (UWCT) are being used as a case study by UNESCO and they are one of six organisations developing a strategy with UNESCO.

Mark Prain, the UWCT executive director, has recently been back in Bonn working with UNESCO with six other corporates on an international strategy to further engage the corporate sector in education for sustainability.

Earlier in 2007, Untouched World became one of twelve global model companies to work with UNESCO in Bonn on developing a strategy for corporate education for sustainability. Others included Shell, Cisco, Cap Gemini, Daimler Chrysler and Swarovski. Barry Law, the education advisor for UWCT and Drysdale presented at that meeting.

“It was huge kudos for New Zealand that we were recognised as a world leader in sustainable practices,” Drysdale said.

“This was the first time a New Zealand company has been invited to this forum and it will put Untouched World and New Zealand on the map as taking sustainable business practice seriously.”

In April, Drysdale was awarded an honorary doctorate in commerce at Lincoln University. The citation made special mention of her achievements in sustainable business.

In March Untouched World, opened their fifth retail store, in Wellington. Silver Ferns netball captain Adine Wilson modelled on the catwalk at the official opening. The other stores are in Christchurch (two), Auckland and Queenstown.


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