Shareholder primacy, accountable capitalism, prioritizing long-term corporate investments over short-term profit maximization, devising legal obligations for the corporations to account for the public effects of their actions, legislations mandating that companies let workers elect “a significant portion” of the board members are the proposals I have been reading articles from thought leaders in favor of progressive, regenerative capitalism. It is heartening to see that so many are considering alternative governance and management possibilities. The corporations are also getting on the bandwagon and although I question the motivation and the sincerity of some of these efforts and disguised marketing gimmicks, it is encouraging to see that a new jargon and awareness is building up.
When we consider the world after this pandemic, the protests, the climate crisis, we can’t simply just hope that businesses will do better. There are two points to consider. First we have to acknowledge that most industries are in a state of shock and secondly that the reasons these downfalls are occurring are because of the way these industries are structured pre pandemic. The solutions will prevail only when we work diligently and collectively to reframe the linear systems, product based transactions, profit based growth and redefine the human value. Nature operates with inherent, diverse connections of individuals nodes. As we are bombarded with news on melting arctic sheets, loss on biodiversity, possible desertification of heavily populated countries, wild-fires, rising sea levels, racism, increasing depression and attention deficit disorder in younger generations, we are distressed out of our comfort zones. The stress on our planet and the stress in individuals leading to diseases.
Business have started taking a more detailed look sustainable development goal, the Green New Deal proposal, Green Bonds, Green Investments as well as into the transparency of their value chain and thinking as a system rather than a conventional operation. The drawdown (as explained by Drawdown Project led by a group of scientists) is defined as “The future point in time when levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere stop climbing and start to steadily decline.This is the healing point of our humanity.“ To reach Drawdown, we must collectively work on all aspects of the climate equation—stopping sources and supporting sinks, as well as helping society achieve broader transformations. The three connected areas call for action, which we must pursue globally, simultaneously, and with determination.
1. Reduce Sources — bringing emissions to zero
2. Support Sinks — uplifting nature’s carbon cycle
3. Improve Society — fostering equality for all
“To be a leader in the 21st century, it is no longer enough to do “less harm” over time; we need businesses to look far beyond reducing their own operational footprint and commit to achieving bigger emissions reductions in the broader world. Leading businesses can help shape the larger world around them, working with communities, customers, employees, and the rest of society, bringing new tools to bear in addressing the climate crisis.” (Drawdown.org)
The fashion industry where I have spent over 30 years is my home and it is in a fast forward change trajectory. The reason why this transformation is both unavoidable as well as imminent is that the consumer behaviors are shifting. It is not simply only the responsibility of businesses to take future prospects of the stakeholders into account ,but they are also urged to do so by the consumers. There are many layers to look at in the fashion landscape and as complex as it might seem there are areas where we can start to make a difference.
- Extended producer responsibility
- Prices of inputs and production reflect true and full cost, including environmental impacts
- Local artisans delivering repair and remanufacture
- ‘Right to repair’ incorporated products from the initial design stage
I will elaborate on each segment in the coming weeks with guidelines as well as with workshops which I will be offering online. In designing these guidelines, I am inspired by nature itself and the regenerative practices that permaculture offers.
Permaturk Foundation is the first platform in Turkey dedicated to reach all communities and individuals to raise awareness, train, work collectively to build resilient, self-sustained, waste-free systems and to not only mitigate the damage but also to heal, to drawdown, to enhance harmony, to de-stress. I have spent last weekend on the permaculture farm (Belentepe Çiftliği) where the roots of the Permaturk foundation lies. Two days of living on the farm, feeding off nature, I am once again convinced that as we understand and harmonize with nature; its way of devising resilience through collaboration, how it designs our waste, how its memory becomes a guide for the next generation, how symbiotic connections construct a web of life, we will achieve drawdown with businesses in operation and live healthier lives.