Salesforce is a tech company. We don’t make clothing, shoes, or accessories. We help companies connect wearables to their business and we’ve got some sweet, Salesforce branded swag, but that’s about as close as we get to the apparel industry as a business. So why is it so important that we’re focusing on conscious fashion this Earth Month?

1. It’s personal. What we wear expresses our style, personality, likes and dislikes. (Think about that old ratty t-shirt with your favorite sports team or band on it!) Some of our most vivid memories are tied to what we were wearing when something momentous happened. Everyone, even people who aren’t “into fashion” has an opinion about clothing.

During Earth Month this year, Salesforce employees are using Chatter to share our experiences, questions, and tips with each other using the hashtag #ConsciousFashion.

2. Machines don’t make clothing, people do. What many people don’t realize is that most clothing in the world is made by humans, and not machines. In fact, 85% of garment workers are women, and many working in the industry do not have proper working conditions. In 2013, the world witnessed tragic consequences of these conditions when an unsafe textile factory in Rana Plaza collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers.

We watched the documentary The True Cost to get educated about the many issues along the apparel value chain. It was very moving to see interviews with people who make our clothing.

3. Fashion is hard on the planet. It takes a lot of natural resources to make clothes: more than 700 gallons of water goes into just one cotton t-shirt. Once they are made, it takes even more water and energy to keep clothes clean. Even getting rid of clothes has a significant impact on the world; ~13 million tons of textile waste is created each year in the U.S. alone.

For Earth Month, Salesforce employees are making sure our clothes don’t go to the landfill. We’re raiding our closets and giving to people in need.

At our headquarters, we’re donating clothing to St. Anthony Foundation, an organization that runs San Francisco’s largest free clothing program, serving approximately 11,000 people each year. But that’s just the start of our partnership. In fact, St. Anthony’s has been a customer since 2007 and Salesforce employees have volunteered nearly 5,000 hours with the organization to date.  

4. We all can drive change. Industry insiders and celebrities have started speaking out against the impacts of fast fashion. But we all have a role to play, and it doesn’t have to be hard.

3 easy #ConsciousFashion tips for all of us:

  • Thrift and consignment shop when you can.

  • Buy less and things that will last.

  • Reuse, donate or recycle what you no longer need.