Do we have to choose between reducing poverty and being eco-friendly?

YounSone by Fondacio, a young social enterprise created in Myanmar by Julia Naw, trains and employs young women to reduce precariousness and poverty. YounSone buys traditional fabrics directly from the weavers and enhances them by making contemporary items. The products are sold locally and also in France through Fondacio's network and on DreamAct

Is it responsible and ecological to sell products from Myanmar in France? 
Shouldn't we prefer "made in France" instead of buying masks, clothes or cushions from YounSone? 

 
The "Made in France" reality and the carbon impact 

Very few textile products are made 100% in France: Cotton is not grown in France (although there are conclusive tests) and comes mainly from Asia, as do most of the threads, zips and other components. The 'Made in France' label only means that the last stage of the product was made in France and is therefore misleading about the true origin of the products. 

Another reality: France is the leading producer of flax, but the spinning mills are in Poland and China! And the yarns or fabrics are then imported again. 

Today, there are hardly any new textile products made entirely in France. Therefore, if we compare new textile products and YounSone's products, they have a comparable carbon impact (even lower for YounSone) even if they are made 8000 km away from France.

 

Moreover, the last few kilometres of a product are the most polluting: in Paris, deliveries would be responsible for 25% of greenhouse gas emissions! Several explanations are possible, including poorly optimised routes and fillings, but also customers who are often absent, so the delivery route takes place more than once.

 
Fair pay for women
 

Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, along with Bangladesh. The situation of women in particular is very difficult and their rights are traditionally limited. 

Need we remind you that the rest of the world is very different from France: there is no universal social security, no unemployment, no RSA, etc.? In Myanmar, as in many countries, without work, we don't eat, without money we don't take care of ourselves.

Impact for the weavers

YounSone buys its fabrics directly at the right price from the women who weave - for example in refugee camps, victims of internal civil wars or villages. 

Other fabrics are bought from small family businesses that collect and sell the production of the village women.

In this way we help to limit the rural exodus and thus the CO2 emission by generating income and we support the integral development of villages and education to give young people prospects. 

 

Impact for seamstresses

YounSone has created jobs for young women in precarious situations in Yangon and Myitkyina, Myanmar. This gives them access to stable and decent employment. By working with these beautiful fabrics from their own heritage, they develop new skills and gain pride in their country's handicrafts. 

YounSone makes it a point of honour to help each person develop their human and professional potential. YounSone helps its trainees and employees to grow. Everyone participates in ongoing training to improve their English and other skills of their choice in conjunction with our training centre (YLDC by Fondacio). In this way, the women go from sewing to the creation of new models and to the management and marketing of our products. 

 

Impact for solidarity consumers

With its handcrafted products, YounSone makes its customers aware of a lifestyle that is more respectful of human beings and the planet. 

- It is not a question of quantity, but of quality in order not to overproduce. YounSone products are made to last and not to be consumed. 

- It is also about helping women in a precarious situation and not about making profits. It is a solidarity purchase.

 

Products designed with integral ecology in mind
 

"There must be a more responsible global response, which involves both the fight to reduce pollution and the development of poor countries and regions." 

Laudato Si, Pope Francis

In his encyclical Laudato Si, Pope Francis reminds us that it is important to reduce pollution but also to offer development solutions to poor countries, and it is truly with this vision that YounSone develops its products.

From Asia to France, YounSone tries to find the best compromise between quality, environmental respect and ethics for each of its manufacturing and distribution stages in order to raise producer and consumer awareness. YounSone also promotes local consumption in Myanmar thanks to the different sales outlets in the country.

Our ambition is not limited to ecology and nature conservation but takes into account the reality of rural and poor areas. 

 

For further information


For those who wish to continue the reflection on the link between ecology and poverty, we recommend the reading of Pope Francis' Encyclical Laudato Si'.  (Here in French)

"The poorest regions and countries have less possibility of adopting new models to reduce the impact of human activities on the environment because they lack the formation to develop the necessary processes, and they cannot afford the costs. For this reason, it is necessary to maintain a clear awareness that in climate change there are diverse responsibilities and, as the Bishops of the United States have expressed it, there is a need to focus "especially on the needs of the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, in a debate often dominated by the most powerful interests". We need to strengthen the awareness that we are one human family. There are no borders or political or social barriers that allow us to isolate ourselves, and for this very reason there is no room for the globalization of indifference. » 

 

Follow the development of YounSone on facebook & Instagram.

 

Yvonne Altorfer, member of the Fondacio Board, has been with YounSone since its beginnings.

Lucie Tailhades, partner and project coordinator for TrendEthics, which sets up weaving cooperatives in South East Asia

 

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