TRANSPARENCY & SUSTAINABILITY IN VALUE-CHAIN CREATION
|Approximately 35 people attended the Worskhop on 3 November, working together and with conference speakers, panelists and peers to formulate ideas and plans for action.|
The Workshop leaders and participants, actively focused on the many issues, concerns, and potential solutions surrounding the topics of: Supply Chain Management; Consumption and Cost Concerns; Design and Product Development; Competiveness and Collaboration; and Company Culture and Sense.
Workshop, 3 November at The Swedish School of Textiles, addressing the challenges and opportunities of creating a new paradigm of business transparency and prosperity.
Complexity Implies Cooperation
We all know that the main environmental concerns in the textile industry are water use in crop and fibre production, the amount of water discharged and its chemical loading, energy use and air emissions.
We also are conscious of the fact that balancing the overall effect of environmental impacts to determine which are most sustainable is difficult and in some cases depends on specific locations or even economic contexts, especially if–besides all that is mentioned--we also consider the social component of sustainability (i.e. sweatshops) to be one of the most serious matters today.
On top of that we are aware that the fibre, textile and apparel value chain creation has reached such a complexity that linear thinking and individual agendas don’t work anymore. A shift towards collective learning and the sharing of experiences among companies, suppliers and customers is needed.
Transparency Means Authenticity
Sustainability also implies a paradigm shift of companies’ brand management and marketing culture. It also means to start adopting, using, and communicating one’s standpoint and one’s code of conduct in a transparent way, and to use forms of communication that are authentically representing what one is ideally striving for and realistically doing.
Transparency is not just “lip service”, but a powerful and effective operational tool for leading and taking choices that affect the whole supply chain. The transparency of such an evolving, never-ending practice becomes at that point the only way to involve in a true and reliable way all the stakeholders--from the co-workers, the suppliers, to the customers--in value creation.
Last but not least, transparency, besides being a tool for informing and inspiring people, is about new sustainable life-styles and a powerful way to harness customers’ knowledge and involve them in a common venture towards a better, cleaner and fairer world.
Sustainability Implies New Economy And New Technology
Sustainability also means abandoning the first phase of “utopian ecological fundamentalism” in order to enter a mature age of pragmatic idealism. That means questioning what the new models of prosperity are that can boost sustainable economic development and balanced growth and that could really contribute to our global wellbeing.
It also means taking a closer look at the concept of science and technology as the driving force of growth and progress. As a matter of fact, if on one hand it is true that in the past, technology has proven many catastrophic predictions wrong, even today it might help to avoid the “collapse” provoked by our actual unsustainable industrial production and consumerist model. On the other hand, if we are also aware that technological solutions might create the next generation of problems, and if we do not put the human dimension at the centre of technological development, than we will not be able to handle potential technological solutions with caution and thoughtfulness.
Systems Thinking Sees Culture As A Change Driver
It would be wrong to reduce the topic or nature of sustainability to only the environment or ecological systems. In fact, we must make an effort to expand our systemic view to encompass three independent but interactively operating systems, to wit, the social systems with all of their social and cultural players--such as the economy, science, politics and the arts; the personal system in which each individual has the capability of holding responsibility; and the environmental system as the habitat of mankind.
Sustainability is therefore not sustainable if we limit what we build into each and every element of the value chain, or better said, the “value net” of production, distribution, consumption and post-consumption. That is necessary but not sufficient. People today call for much more than just ecological, economic and socially sustainable products. They are looking for products that also deliver a message for the ecology of their minds and spirits: products that express an ethos through a powerful aesthetic impact, and products with a strong cultural message that shows them the truth of what a new prosperity might mean, and take them on a journey that can reconcile them with a future they thought they had lost.
JILL DUMAIN, The United States
Director of Environmental Analysis at Patagonia, and chair of the board of the Organic Exchange.
Jill brings to the workshop her expertise in fabric development, her ground-breaking work on the Common Threads Garment Recycling Program and The Footprint Chronicles website, and her experience creating the two dimensions of business transparency: the deep operational details of the supply chain, and the powerful brand communication environment in which companies can harness the professionalism of consumers
PETER WAEBER, Switzerland
CEO of Swiss-based bluesign technologies ag.
Peter, the recognized analytical research leader in the textile industry and the inventor of the bluesign® standard, will bring to the workshop his unique expertise in knowing how to create products with the best cost-performance-ratio--with absolutely no consumer safety risks, the least possible resource consumption, and best end-of-pipe eco-management tools that traceably, from raw material through the entire lifecycle, ensures no negative impact to the environment or work place.
CHRISTIAN VOTAVA, Germany
Partner of REALISE strategic consultants.
Christian brings to the workshop his expertise in the areas of Systems Thinking coupled with business strategy, value-added marketing, innovation and organizational efficiency. He will share his experience in how Systems Theory, because of its holistic approach, can help in the organization of sustainable processes. His standpoint is that any system can work better if it is understood as an highly integrated collection of subsystems functioning together to accomplish an overall goal.
SIMONETTA CARBONARO, Italy/Germany
Professor of Design Management and Humanistic Marketing at The Swedish School of Textiles, The University of Borås. Simonetta brings to the workshop her insightful understanding of consumers’ perspectives. Based on her research in the area of consumer ethos and behaviour that forecasts the directions consumer culture is moving, she will contribute to the discussion by sketching the profile of the new consumer: a professional and critical consumer, whose whimsical wishes and wants are transforming into responsible and mature demands for better, safer, fairer and more (aesth)ethical products.
JOSEPHINE RYDBERGER-DUMONT, Sweden
Former CEO of IKEA of Sweden
Josephine is a passionate and highly skilled creative brand and business leader with 24 years experience in various leadership roles in the fast-growing IKEA Group, including as Chief Executive of IKEA of Sweden. Her passion is mission-focused business innovation, brand communication, and organizational transformation. She is committed to self development and her drive is simply to make the world a better place.
KARIN M. EKSTRÖM, Sweden
Professor in Marketing at the School of Business and Informatics, University of Borås, Sweden
Karin brings to the workshop her experience in research on consumer culture. "A consumer's perspective is necessary in order for companies to succeed in consumer culture. It is not sufficient with a positive attitude to consumers, but there is a need to be alert and to employ different methods for understanding the consumer's situation and what the consumer wants."
TAMARA ALBU, The United States
Director of Fashion Studies, Parsons The New School for Design, New York.
While active as an artist, exhibiting and publishing her art work, she contributes to fashion companies such as Hue, Christian Dior NY, Donna Karan and DKNY, Calvin Klein Hosiery, etc.
DAVID GOLDSMITH, The United States/Sweden
Textile designer, faculty of Parsons School of Design, and researcher at The Swedish School of Textiles.
David brings his experience in and perspectives of the New York and international fashion and art worlds, and current trends in textile artisanship and consumer consciousness.