The traditional narrative on sustainability is that the green initiative requires an overhaul of one’s current lifestyle. We’re often at a loss for small, simple changes that have a positive, lasting impact on the environment without causing much of an inconvenience. The Trade Office of Ecuador in Mumbai has a solution – tagua.
Tagua, known as ‘corozo blanks’ in India or ‘vegetable ivory’ in China, is a byproduct of a palm tree found deep in the rainforests of Ecuador. It is used to make a number of lifestyle-related items like jewellery, handicrafts, and exfoliant creams. But, in India, tagua is mostly used by fashion houses to manufacture eco-friendly buttons.
“No one knows how to make plantations of the tree... It grows naturally,” says Cristina Chiriboga Tejada, Trade Officer at The Consulate General of Ecuador and Trade Office in Mumbai. Cristina tells me that this product is cherished by her country because it inhibits the deforestation of rainforests, and in turn, helps the indigenous communities that dwell in or near the area the tree is found. Upwards of 70,000 small-scale producers from rural areas in Ecuador benefit from the export of tagua because the cutting, drying, dyeing, and polishing process of the nut is lengthy. “Tagua is like the guardian of the rainforest,” says Cristina.
Tagua buttons are used globally by fashion industry giants like Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, Raymond, Blackberry, and potentially, H&M. To further industry interest in tagua, The Trade Office also attended Lakmé Fashion Week on “Sustainable Fashion Day” to speak with designers on how they could incorporate tagua in their collections and many seemed keen to do so. “In India, people are becoming more conscious of the environment, but not everyone knows how to contribute to the protection... Using tagua buttons is a very simple way to do this,” says Cristina.
Feature image courtesy of The Consulate General of Ecuador and ProEcuador India.
If you enjoyed reading this, we suggest you read: