Fashion and apparel. It touches nearly everyone. When its at its best, fashion and apparel is not only functional, but also fun, expressive, sexy, and for some businesses, very profitable. But when it is at its worst, fashion and apparel is superficial, exploitative, polluting and extremely wasteful - in other words the essence of unsustainable consumption. And while it is argued that the industry's rapid growth has created employment opportunities for more than 300 million people worldwide, especially for women in poorer countries and those in extreme poverty, many garment workers still struggle to earn enough to pay to meet even their most basic needs. More alarming is the fact that as the industry grows - by 2030 more than 8 billion people will live on the planet, and nearly 5 billion of these will be part of the global middle class - its negative environmental impacts may become unmanageable, potentially undermining its social benefits and contributing to ecosystem degradation on local, regional and global scales.
Who would have thought garments could be so destructive?
The fashion industry must change now, but will we manage in time? Join Mike Schragger, founder of the Sustainable Fashion Academy, as he explores the challenges, incentives and disincentives and emerging solutions needed to rapidly transform the industry. Listen in as he talks with the business leaders, activists, researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs, investors, legislators, consumers and citizens - who are racing against the clock to find solutions that will transform the industry, thus ensuring it truly operates for the benefit of people and the planet.
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Fashion is endangering our forests. A new report from Canopy weighs in on what we need to do about it.
Forests play a crucial role in promoting biodiversity, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and supporting livelihoods. A significant percentage of the fibres used in fashion come from wood. In this episode, Mike speaks with Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy, an NGO that works with the forest industry's biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect our last frontier forests, and Robert van de Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer at Lenzi
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Are the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the HIGG tools making a meaningful difference? A new report weighs in.
It's been nearly a decade since Patagonia, Walmart and a number of other brands, retailers, manufacturers and NGOs established the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an innovative industry collaboration. As the coalition's website states, its vision is "an apparel, footwear, and textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities". In turn, members must commit to measuring and improving their social
DEBATE: Part 2 - A proposed Swedish chemical tax on textiles - is this a case study in great government leadership or political greenwash?
In Part 2 of this episode, Michael speaks with experts who are positive to the proposed tax. We hear from Therese Jacobsson, Head of Ocean, Water & Toxics at the Swedish Society of Nature Conservation (a well established Swedish NGO), and two researchers who participated in the proposed tax advisory group: Daniel Slunge, environmental economist at the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development and the FRAM Centre for Future chemical Risk Assessment and Management, and Åke Bergman, professor at Stock
DEBATE: Part 1 - A proposed Swedish chemical tax on textiles - is this a case study in great government leadership or political greenwash?
Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: Sustainable investment expert Sasja Beslik thinks the fashion industry is a very poor performer and possibly a stranded asset.
Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance Development at J Safra Sarasin, fled Bosnia when he was 18 to escape the war. He ended up in Sweden and today spends his time leveraging the power of the financial sector to improve the world. He is particularly interested in the fashion industry's impact on people and has recently attracted attention for his calculations showing that a well-known fashion brand could afford to pay living wages to garment workers by increasing the prices on their clothes by only a
MAKE YOUR CASE: Phil Patterson believes the way we use chemicals in the textiles industry is broken and here is his plan to change it!
Phil Patterson, Managing Director at Colour Connections, has been working at the intersection between the textile industry and influential retail brands for over twenty years, and after some recent soul-searching he had an epiphany. He has come to the conclusion that the current way we use and dispose of chemicals is extremely wasteful and will not achieve the environmental and health improvements we are aiming for. During this episode, Phil outlines his arguments for why we need to move from the curr