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ethic style
the social systems of our world are in upheaval. for many decades now, we have been abiding by strict laws, most of them dictated to us by the free market economy. we were brought up to follow these rules in order to achieve the dictated mix of a successful career, a reputable image and power. our motto: to gain profit and growth by (almost) all means. for decades, we have been challenging and exploiting the world’s markets, our environment and last but not least its people.

many benchmarks from the business world have become valid guidelines for our everyday lives. our society has been the subject to a commercial cost-benefit calculation, leading to the often cited “economization of society”.

up until today, successful economic activity has been defined by making rational, profit-maximizing decisions and living by cues such as “thrifty is nifty” or “speed kills”. during the course of these events, less and less importance has been placed on people’s needs, leading to a growing imbalance between very few winners and more and more losers.

in today’s society, more than one billion people are forced to live to survive with less than 1 euro each day and even the wealthier states have experienced a dramatic widening social gap between the rich and the poor. the increasing economic pressure has also had negative effects on social networking, taking its toll on the environment and its people.

in the search for meaningful ethical values, people are growing increasingly disappointed with the irresponsible behaviour of some of the world’s most influential decision makers. what’s more, people’s trust in the constitutional state, one of the most fundamental pillars of democratic society and human coexistence, has been shattered by numerous scandals all through the past few years. it is gradually becoming more and more evident that the economic crisis is actually a crisis of basic systems and beliefs.

ahead of us must lie a fundamental “process of transformation”, a change of awareness heralding the coming of new market and social structures. with it must come an altered consumer behaviour shifting towards a new, global world order based on newly found corporate social responsibility (csr). this sustainable new order creates purpose-driven markets based on ethics and moral ecological responsibility. these new markets rest on the mental pillars of credibility, meaning, authenticity, respect, awareness, emotions, harmony and consensus.

this restructuring process is spearheaded by a new “green” perspective on life that is far from the dusty “muesli look” of former times, once termed by cultural anthropologist and media expert andreas haderlein as “stylish strategic consumption instead of stodgy whole-grain bread”.

as a pioneer of this modern, aesthetic and conscious “lifestyle of health and sustainability”, the food industry has pushed the sales of popular organic and fair trade products, marrying economic success with social ethics. as more and more consumers switch to this new, more conscious lifestyle, an increasing number of economic sectors follow the trend. major players from the textile and clothing industry as well as the technology and automotive business are gradually shifting their focus towards “clean and green” technologies.

this trend is also supported by “green president” barack obama, who predicts this to be one of the key developments for the future of the united states, creating future jobs for millions of people.

more and more ecologically “clean” and socially responsible products and services cater to people’s needs for “responsible pleasure”. the conscious new green consumer will think twice about which brands or companies to support with his money. “cheap” and “expensive” have ceased to be the main purchase criteria, giving way to honest, authentic and resource-saving products. consumers will have a major influence on future product developments in companies and industries. this new form of ethical consumption will define new values like meaningfulness, authenticity and quality, which in turn will influence the entire supply chain. this new start for our economy is for the greater good and gives us a positive outlook on our life on planet earth …

in the following, we present a selection of brands and companies for you from the lifestyle segment which have already reacted to the increasing “ethization” and ecologization of our world:

“easy on the eyes, easy on the body, easy on the planet.” skate and street wear brand planet earth have been showing us for more than 20 years how to successfully combine fashion with environmental awareness. for many years, the us action sports label has been guided by the principles of sustainability, producing their women’s and men’s wear collections from organic recycling materials. all of their shirts, t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, dresses and accessories boast natural shades and textures and are extremely comfortable to wear.

for more than 200 years, the notebooks of moleskine have served as an essential instrument for artists and creative thinkers, offering them a practical, portable playground to jot down their ideas and inspirations. to protect the environment, all moleskines are made with acid-free paper and soon the entire product portfolio will be fsc (forest stewardship council) certified. in line with their company philosophy of beauty and ethics, moleskine also supports young creative talents and initiatives as well as numerous non-profit organizations.

since the establishment of the rolex awards some 30 years ago, the renowned watch manufacturers have supported and implemented many trend-setting projects focused on improving our quality of life on planet earth. every two years, the brand sponsors five awardees and five honorary winners with us$ 100,000 and us$ 50,000 respectively. the supported projects range from the protection of endangered animals and the reactivation of ancient andean and african agricultural technologies to innovative ideas to facilitate access to water, accommodation, food and drugs in developing countries. “wasting no time in doing good” – what a beautiful motto for a watch manufacturer.

edelweiss extracts, lady’s smock oil and pure glacier water are only three of the many precious ingredients underlining babor cosmetics’ close relationship with the alps. with their skin and body care products, the company supports the alpine protection group cipra (commission internationale pour la protection des alpes) in its plans to construct an interactive nature centre in the upper allgäu. cipra represents more than 100 alpine organizations working for the preservation and sustainable development of the region. by observing dhl’s gogreen environmentally compatible guidelines in the production and shipping of products, babor cosmetics have cut down 22 tons of co2 emissions in one year. this carbon-neutral shipping option makes use of alternative fuels like biogas and vehicles with hybrid technology.

the berlin tempelhof airport isn’t just an exceptional venue for the creative fashion event bread & butter, but also a strong symbol of brotherliness and solidarity. during the berlin blockade by the soviet union in 1949, the legendary “candy bombers” (airplanes) organized the berlin airlift to carry supplies to the people in west berlin. that’s why bread & butter likes to pay tribute to charity and ethics at every one of their events. in summer 2009 they supported médecins sans frontières and the children’s project “die arche” for needy children in berlin. this german association is also backed up by the proceeds from the nail polish project “bbb by uslu airlines”.

back in the 18th century, famous philosopher novalis said that “where children are, there is the golden age”. especially in times of economic trouble, watch manufacturer chronoswiss likes to put a smile on the faces of children in need and give them a new perspective in life. with their “chronokids award” the company supports the non-profit initiative horizont e.v. caring for homeless children and their mothers in munich. created by chronoswiss on occasion of their 25th anniversary in 2008, the chronokids award challenged the young artists aged between 6 and 16 to design the dial face of the chronoswiss watch “orea automatique” with their creative input. the company manufactured ten unique watches with the winning motifs in their chronokids charity edition, the proceeds of which go to the horizont initiative.

south-african adventurer mike horn is driven by the urge to discover the planet’s most beautiful spots, have them protected and share his knowledge with the public. this motivation has pushed him to explore the antarctic by foot, circumnavigate the world unsupported and without engines or travel to the himalayas. at the moment, horn is on an eco-voyage with a 35 m sustainable sailboat to raise awareness for global environmental destruction. over the course of the trip, 144 students aged between 13 and 20 will explore, investigate and clean different continents and climatic zones. the four-year expedition started in late 2008 and will take horn and his young explorers to the most diverse regions of the planet. in accordance with the motto of the expedition, “explore – lean – act”, the project will engage in research activities and ocean clean-ups. the high-tech boat is equipped with two 440 hp diesel engines of sponsor mercedes-benz, which are especially low in emissions.

poverty has many different faces. especially for people in developing countries, impeded vision can be a real handicap in their daily struggle to survive. onesight, a luxottica group foundation (also known for their chanel, dkny or ray ban eyewear), is a family of charitable vision care programs dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research, education and support of charity projects. in the us, they encouraged numerous spectacle wearers to donate their used glasses. the collected eyeglasses are then cleaned, repaired and sorted by volunteers for distribution on global clinics in conflict areas. twenty clinics are held each year in developing countries and approximately 20,000 people are screened during each clinic. in the future, the foundation also plans to conduct similar initiatives to collect used glasses in the german-speaking countries.

to raise awareness for environmental problems in an original way, skate and surf wear label etnies has decided to ‘make a smaller footprint’. the brand’s “chalotas” sandals designed by famous surfers the malloy brothers feature a sponge rubber tread embossed with the environmentally friendly message “preserve the ocean. respect the beach. don’t litter“. a must-have item for your next trip to the beach or environmentally friendly summer walk!

british street wear brand fenchurch has always stood for originality and varied lifestyle influences. their basic philosophy of the label named after london’s fenchurch street railway station is underlined by the original prints and artworks on their t-shirts and hoodies. a few years ago, the brand launched their environmentally friendly “fenchurch friendly” fashion line including a 100 % organic t-shirt collection. teaming up with brazilian charity project “bottletop”, the brand also developed a special accessories collection featuring handcrafted bags and belts made entirely from ring-pulls. the proceeds from the recycled ring-pull accessories go to charity projects in brazil. a fine example of a successful combination of lifestyle and sustainability.

“more and more ecologically ‘clean’ and socially responsible products and services cater to people’s needs for responsible pleasure. this new form of ethical consumption will define values like meaningfulness & authenticity.”

helmut wolf