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EDC_SW07_Ecodesign Opportunities in Fashion & Textiles


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Fashion Conscience? - Sustainability of the High Street Clothing Industry Seminar
March 2007, Cardiff, UK

Seminar run by Sustainable Wales, supported by the Sustainable Futures Division of the Welsh Assembly Government.

Published in: Design, Technology, Business
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EDC_SW07_Ecodesign Opportunities in Fashion & Textiles

  1. 1. ecodesign opportunities in fashion & textiles Simon O’Rafferty
  2. 2. introduction • introduction • what are the issues / opportunities? • what do companies think? • what can government / business / civil society do?
  3. 3. opening the conversation - March 06
  4. 4. what had we found?
  5. 5. proliferation of terms ethical fashion / eco-fashion / sustainable fashion / green- fashion / non-fashion / recycled fashion / slow-fashion / fast- fashion / durable-fashion / vintage-fashion / cradle-to-cradle / cradle-to-grave…
  6. 6. numerous issues climate change / global warming / fairtrade / ethical consumerism / waste / GM foods / recycling / organic food / organic clothes / chemicals / pollution / ecodesign / composting / sweatshops / belonging / car sharing / well-being / health / sustainable this and sustainable that…………
  7. 7. no unified approach / proliferation of tools standards / codes of conduct / international labour laws / regional environmental legislation
  8. 8. big hitter issues
  9. 9. big hitter issues
  10. 10. crisis of confidence?
  11. 11. “to be successful, sustainability needs to be fully embedded in our ways of working, in the organization and company culture, in manufacturing, in products and R&D, in our relationships with partners and stakeholders, and above all in the company strategy” Gerard Kleisterlee, President & CEO, Royal Philips Electronics – 20 June 2006
  12. 12. “climate change is the most severe problem that we are facing today, more serious even than the threat of terrorism.quot; David King, UK government chief scientific adviser, January 2004
  13. 13. “It’s scientific jargon, isn’t it? So maybe you don’t understand exactly what point they are getting to because it’s not highlighted in, like, say, our language – layman’s terms. You don’t take notice of it…and I believe in recycling and love talking over the environment, but….I don’t seem to understand what they’re saying” attendee, NCC Sustainable Consumption Roundtable, May 2006
  14. 14. who will take the lead?
  15. 15. I will if you will?
  16. 16. opportunities? • growth in ethical consumerism is soaring and is now worth £25.8 billion a year • ethical fashion spending rose by 17% to £680 million by the end of 2005 • The UK is the fastest growing market for ethical food and beverages, it could become a leader in ethical fashion and textiles as well Source: BSI & The Co-op Bank - The Ethical Consumerism Report 2005
  17. 17. business response to sustainability challenge • sustainability not a business threat / not responding is a business threat • opportunities to achieve growth and create value through sustainable solutions • many companies using ecodesign approach to deliver successful products to the market
  18. 18. role of design design constitutes only 5% of the total cost of a product, yet it can dictate up to 80% of the products financial and environmental costs (Graedel and Allenby, 1995)
  19. 19. ecodesign = good design = good business practice
  20. 20. research aim • to understand the perceptions of ecodesign in the Welsh fashion and textiles industry and to explore how this sector can effectively adopt ecodesign practices in the future
  21. 21. research objectives • to explore the current level of understanding of environmental and social issues within the sector • to understand the constraints and motivations for the integration of ecodesign • to define what is needed to provide effective ecodesign support in the future
  22. 22. “We would like to do more goods using materials from UK/Wales but find it hard to find suppliers.” “Whilst not important to our products directly, I think it is important that in line with the very high quality of our producrs we are also seen to produce them in an environmentally friendly way.” “We all need to be aware of social issues.” “As I am a small business I find it hard to make the time for research into this.” “We try to use at least 80% recycled and organic materials in the making of all our goods.” “Trends in relation to consumer spending, trends regarding what and who influences my target customer, my customers purchasing habits and how they are changing i.e. internet are all very important.” A grant or funding which would help to finance research into using sustainable materials and methods - this would provide companies with a foundation on which to build a sustainable policy “If more environmentally friendly materials were made available at the right price, I would use them. I need to keep my products competitively priced.”
  23. 23. research In-depth interviews • interviews with 4 respondents from Phase 1 • face to face discussions • to gather further information and ‘stories’ in order to inform WAG what support the sector needs with regards to ecodesign
  24. 24. “We are very isolated, the information needs to come to us.” “Advice on business and ecodesign would help us too.” “A central point for sourcing materials and the dissemination of informtaion regarding organic/environmentally friendly processes would be very useful.” “Easy to access information regarding the sourcing of materials is needed.” “Sourcing ethically sound materials can be expensive on your own.” “It’s difficult buying anything because equipment is so expensive. We need information on where to go to get funding.” “It seems that larger businesses get assistance but there’s nothing for the small company.” “Maybe there’s an opportunity for a support group maybe through existing groups.” “There are many industry organisations maybe they could work more collaboratively.”
  25. 25. 1. is the sector aware of environmental and social issues? • most are aware of the fundamentals • those that don’t are interested in learning more • most are already taking small steps to work towards ecodesign
  26. 26. 2. what is needed to provide effective ecodesign support? • support from existing design support advisors • support from the WAG through the provision of funding • support from the existing industry organisations
  27. 27. 3. what support is needed? • information on environmental and social issues • business support and advice • funding for small businesses
  28. 28. research • get existing sectorial organisations to work together on ecodesign • provide more/better information and guidance on ecodesign • provide business support to smaller businesses • establish a channel for ethical/eco material sourcing, bringing down prices • provide networking opportunities for the small businesses • run ecodesign competitions in the Welsh fashion and textiles sector • make funding work for small businesses looking to implement ecodesign
  29. 29. only the beginning?
  30. 30. “it’s not about a season. It’s about an era”
  31. 31. thank you. Questions?