3 August 2020
Arch & Hook’s Sustainability Salon Series is a series of monthly live free webinars, exploring sustainability trends and innovation in the world of fashion, retail, and beyond. Each session is aimed to inspire and spark conversation within our industry and find new and stronger ways forward, towards a better future for our world. Our second session, Legacies, focused on sustainable business transformation.
For this session, Arch & Hook was honoured to host an all-female panel of inspiring sustainability legacies, who have been a driving force in transformational change across global brands, with years of experience in integrating sustainability values and making sustainability part of the core business model of their organisations. We were thrilled to also once again have the inspiring Kerry Bannigan from Conscious Fashion Campaign as a moderator who kept a lively and informative conversation with the panelists about how they approached sustainability challenges, key sustainability opportunities and trends in the retail and fashion industry. And so, the second session was kicked off by Arch & Hook’s CCO, Gertjan Meijer.
Lucie Brigham, Chief of Office at the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) reminded the audience of the role of the UN as a global gateway for catalysing and building partnerships for businesses to advance the implementation of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). As a member of the UN Fashion Alliance and Advisor to the Conscious Fashion Campaign, the UNOP facilitates awareness, advocacy, and engagement to achieve the SDGs within the fashion and textile industry.
During the session, Lucie underlined how businesses can benefit from adopting an SDG-driven infrastructure in adopting a blueprint for how to care for the earth and people and to address the challenges of our climate. There are a couple of reasons why businesses should adopt the SDGs – “It makes common business sense” said Lucie, as an efficient, ethical and sustainable way to best use their (natural) resources and answer today’s consumers’ demand for business transparency.
Amy Hall serves as President at Impactorum LLC, and Vice President, Social Consciousness for women’s clothing designer EILEEN FISHER. In both capacities, Amy strives to elevate authentic environmental and social impact for business. Amy has extensive experience with the B Corporation movement, circular economy principles, apparel sustainability, and conscious business practices.
Amy shared that EILEEN FISHER approached the challenges of sustainability at such an early stage with their commitment to natural fibres and timeless designs. Followed by layering out attributes such as supply chain, staff and employees, work processes, etc., it ultimately deepened their commitment to sustainability. Amy explained that at EILEEN FISHER, system’s thinking and system’s mapping was one of the practices that have helped them re-envision their commitment to environmental and social sustainability. This type of practice involves people from different departments coming together in one room so that together, as an established working unit, they can recognise sustainability issues, challenges, and how to solve and approach these by together setting up goals and meeting these. By mapping, EILEEN FISHER discovered that their carbon footprint was high and it helped illustrate the reason why. In the wake of the pandemic, Amy has noticed that sustainability jobs will be key and that sustainability as a whole will be taking a greater central position in businesses surviving the pandemic. At EILEEN FISHER they have currently upheld sustainability developments which will prolong their goals but this does not necessarily mean they will no longer address sustainability challenges.
Saskia van Gendt is an environmental scientist with 10+ years of experience in sustainable manufacturing and design and is currently the Head of Sustainability at Rothy’s, where she develops strategies to minimise the environmental impact that the supply chain has on the environment.
Rothy’s is a sustainable women’s shoe and handbag company that uses recycled materials to develop its products. Rothy’s journey was about learning how much waste was present in shoe manufacturing and they decided to do something to change that. In the process, they discovered how much waste is produced. Through that revelation they saw the opportunity to design better shoes that would be timeless. “My favourite aspect of the brand is that the products are designed for a longer life, designed to extend the life cycle” says Saskia.
The last speaker, Shailja Dube leads the responsible business agenda for Accenture Retail UK & Ireland, supporting clients to realize opportunities across the full value chain to positively impact their business, society, and the planet. At Accenture, she has developed and executed social impact strategy, helped global brands share their strategic direction, and delivered complex digital transformation programs. Accenture is also committed to using the SDGs as the basis of their operations, a challenge for many businesses to incorporate and amplify across the entire business model.
Shailja shared that some of the key challenges for retail companies are transparency and complexities across value chains. Some companies do not even have visibility on their supply chains to ensure responsible business. However, there are opportunities within the retail industry when exploring sustainability, centred around technology, circularity, consumer’s (changing) buying habits and how organisations can educate consumers.
The four speakers shared more insights and practical recommendations on adopting sustainable models in the current climate. If you wish to hear about this conversation and the speakers then listen to the full recording here.
Are you interested in being part of the Sustainability Salon Series? Then reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and share with us your ideas or comments, we would love to hear from you.
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