Can fashion and sustainability co-exist?
Written by Pedro Cybis - Feb 3, 2021
0 minutes read
Can fashion and sustainability co-exist?
Sustainable fashion requires a holistic approach that goes beyond circularity. It calls for innovative connection between disconnected stakeholders, plus a consideration of their joint or, sometimes, divergent interests. Tengiva brings a unique twist and a world of possibilities, for textile suppliers and their customers to develop new, useful relationships.
Everything is interconnected
It’s no secret: the textile and apparel industry affects workers’ communities along the supply chain, and customers around the world. Consequently, the need to address operational impacts is real and thankfully, it’s slowly taking form. A true sustainable approach would harmonize stakeholder challenges, while also respecting the collective knowledge we have on social, environmental and economic impacts. Thus, the environment becomes a condition to induce fair, sustainable economic development that enriches a society’s welfare and we can take this even further, by highlighting companies that are playing their part.
An approach focused on a single stakeholder is faulty because, overall, sustainability issues tend to transit across borders and affect communities that are unrelated to the supply chain. NPOs have done impressive work bringing our public attention to these cross-border consequences and their negative impacts. Reports and awareness campaigns partially explain the increasing demand for greener products. This is a good thing. It creates a premium market for sustainable products, and they deserve recognition for these efforts.
Reputation still fuels responsibility
Studies show, however, that reputational risk is the main driving force behind corporate social responsibility initiatives. Consumer buying behaviour remains focused on lower prices. Some brands that are blamed for their poor practices actually collaborate with NPOs to improve their operations. Signs show a growing recognition for sustainability problems faced by the industry, but there’s still a need for overall education and commitment.
NPOs are not alone in asking for a transformation of the existing systems. The textile and apparel industry’s significant GHG emissions, water footprint and waste generation1 concern policy makers worldwide. So much so, that one of the only two sectoral focuses of the UNFCCC is directed at the fashion industry, under the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action2. It calls for a coordinated effort among industry leaders, to adopt serious commitments and practices to mitigate climate change. These proposals originate from the 2015 Paris Agreement. Furthermore, since 2015, companies align their strategies with the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in the Agenda 30 to address crucial issues such as Goal 12: Ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns3. Outside the international community, The Fashion Pact4 is an example of a coordinated effort by the industry itself, concerning sustainability issues that acknowledge the need for a discussion that includes all stakeholders.
An all-encompassing business model that drives change
This institutional focus on sustainability within the textile and apparel industry reflects a commitment to improving overall environmental performance and positive impacts on communities. The desired result is improving the social dimension of sustainability.
We’re aligned with the goal of supporting a sustainable approach, while increasing the well-being of our stakeholders. Tengiva’s business model was developed with this in mind. Specifically, micro-SMEs that struggle in the highly competitive textile sourcing market, can benefit from our trading platform that facilitates access to in-stock material they can use.
By breaking the conventional supply chain paradigm, Tengiva plays a key role in driving change and evolution for the industry’s business model. Where demand uncertainties and long delays were prevalent, lead-times are now faster and more precise. This means cost reductions, waste prevention and easier access to preferred materials, while also facilitating traceability.
Ours is a mission-oriented innovation. We transform relationships within the supply chain and solve stakeholder challenges, through an integrative solution that transforms the industry’s structure. Resilient business models will positively impact societies and ecosystems, and this is exactly where we’re headed.
- 1 Quantis. (2018). Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries.Retrieved online at https://quantis-intl.com/report/measuring-fashion-report/
- 2 UNFCCC. (N/A). Fashion for Global Climate Action. Retrieved online at https://unfccc.int/climate-action/sectoral-engagement/fashion-for-global-climate-action
- 3 Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development. (N/A). Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns. United Nations. Retrieved online at https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal12
- 4 The Fashion Pact. (N/A). About The Fashion Pact. Retrieved online at https://thefashionpact.org/?lang=en