What does “Sustainability” Mean for Business?
Sustainability has forced an indispensable pause in the fashion industry.
Positive change is not uncommonly encouraged and demanded in a plethora of industries nowadays. The implementation of new, innovative, and sustainable processes across the board, and the excessive use of natural resources have been reoccurring and prominent topics over the last years.
It is no longer enough to be an entrepreneur with a new business idea, the entrepreneur is also expected to consider the business to also operate as with sustainability at its core. The time has come where the change for our present, and future is in our hands, and good intentions must be behind our business and personal actions.
Mireille Acquart, sustainability consultant in the fashion industry and speaker at Intermoda, states “Speaking about sustainability is speaking about a social, cultural, political and resource economic movement where the need for education and knowledge will lead to a better way to co-inhabit with our different ecosystems (social and natural systems); thus, achieving and relishing in an economy that understands there are no substitutions for what nature has given us. We must create a system that is regenerative, circular, and socially aware so that it can encourage a fairness and solidarity”.
When asked about the concepts commonly related to this category, as well as their differences, for example, "sustainable fashion" and "sustainability in fashion", Mireille Acquart shares:
"For a long time we have used the term sustainable or sustainable fashion to refer to a way of creating products or services with lower environmental or ethical connotations; however, this has caused a dichotomy in the industry, opening sides: conventional fashion, the one that is not sustainable and the sustainable fashion, 'the one that will save the planet' Making systemic transformations requires unity and much more than factions of 'good' and 'bad'.
Sustainability in an industry does not distinguish actors, it refers to processes, innovation systems, clean technologies or those with less environmental impact, input and material management techniques, talent, knowledge, and everything that allows the efficiency, effectiveness, and effectiveness of a system: in this case that of fashion (...)" .
That being said, sustainability can be applied at different levels, from independent designers to global chains. As the first steps to achieve sustainable fashion businesses, Acquart establishes:
"Let's start from a first need: to distinguish harmful practices in our supply, production, marketing system and post-consumer effects. Let's direct efforts to the analysis of alternatives, such as new design and production practices and techniques, traceability and awareness in the efficient use of materials, the substitution or elimination of highly harmful toxic substances (...) direct communication with customers (...) and very importantly, the consideration of human talent (...) everyone can undertake practices that sustain a responsible business model.
About Mireille Acquart
Entered for 15 years in the fashion industry, she works as a corporate sustainability analyst, planner, speaker and consultant. She is CEO and founder of Ethical Fashion Space , a sustainable innovation consulting company that offers services such as continuous training, consulting, specialized content development, among others.