Writer Name: Darnell Isla
Artist Name: Matthew Profeta
Published Date: 15 May 2021
To inaugurate the Out the BOx project, Ateneo BOx encouraged members to practice sustainability in cooking and fashion in a webinar via zoom on April 24.
Aiming to develop skills beyond the biological sciences, Out of the BOx is an annual workshop that tackles members’ other interests and hones abilities that can be utilized for the service of society. Focusing on sustainable cooking and fashion, Ateneo BOx tapped The Sustainable Diner Project Manager, Melody Melo-Rijk, and Relevé Fashion founder and CEO, Raia Gomez to lead the discussion.
How does food affect the environment?
Melo-Rijk shed light on the underlying impacts of food choices to the environment that prompted the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to forward causes like The Sustainable Diner. As the first sustainable consumption and production (SCP) project, it aims to integrate SCP principles into national policies and implement sustainable practices in the government, private sectors, and consumers.
“Our food is supposed to be renewable, but because of our unsustainable practices, we destroy the natural capacity of our environment to be renewable,” Melo-Rijk said, emphasizing that ⅓ of the global food volume is wasted.
Discussing the five primary principles of sustainable diner projects, she talked about supporting local and sustainable produce, conserving resources by ethical consumption, refraining from single-use plastics, consuming a higher portion of plant-based dishes relative to animal sources, and reducing food wastes. In connection, she urged the attendees to prevent hoarding sources, to set up backyard gardens, and to donate excess supplies.
The project manager also clarified the misconception on the cost of sustainability, saying that it is an “investment in the long run” as one saves money by harvesting in their own vegetable garden instead of buying in supermarkets.
As most of the audience are Biology majors, Melo-Rijk recognized the crucial role of science-based approaches to generate solutions for problems involving food sustainability.
Shifting to slow fashion
Gomez followed by mentioning the impacts of fast fashion as she narrated her firsthand experience on the massive amount of discarded clothes that pushed her to start an initiative for sustainable fashion.
Responding to the need for sustainability in the fashion industry by lobbying against overproduction and mindless consumption, the former Atenean established Relevé Fashion. According to her, the brand’s mission involves elevating the shopping experience into a form of positive social action.
Relevé Fashion, the first retailer to be awarded the EcoAge Brandmark for sustainable excellence, promotes brands with initiatives on environmental problems, ethical production, and the personal and social well-being of their workers.
The inaugural partner for Conscious Fashion Campaign to deliver the United Nations sustainable development goals also requires brands to complete their holistic sustainability information before launching. As Gomez said, it is important to go beyond just telling that a brand is sustainable, “they must also tell you why.”
Gomez concluded by reminding the members to practice conscious consumption, to rewear, to support brands that innovate from textile wastes, to consider cost per wear, and to be aware of greenwashing tactics.