Road Not Taken
Unprecedent thoughts rally untamed at unprecedent times. Although La Nina (the little girl in Spanish) is under way, indicating a colder and stormier winter than usual across the northern hemisphere, but 2020 remains likely to be one of the warmest years on record. The frozen methane deposits in the ArcticOcean – known as the “sleeping giants of the carbon cycle” – have started to be released over a large area of the continental slope off the East Siberian coast as reported by the Guardian. The world’s largest investment banks provided more than $2.6tn of financing linked to the destruction of ecosystems and wildlife last year, according to a new report. (https://portfolio.earth) Alaska’s Tongass national forest is the world`s largest intact temperate rainforest and the recent news released warns that logging will be soon permitted.
Bill Mc Gibben points out we are out of margin on climate change on a recent article on The New Yorker pointing out that it was in 1988 when the NASA scientist James Hansen first alerted the public, drawing attention to the 350p.p.m of CO2 (particles per million) which has risen to 415p.p.m today. Vietnam is under heavy rainfall. The fires in the Amazon in 2020 have exceeded the fires in 2019 and have spread to primary forest. These are physical as well as political, financial and social crisis all linked into our human activities, discounting the value of natural and human resources, culture, science and our collective future.
Governments around the global have been responding to the pandemic driven crisis and the economic recovery plans have already surpassed USD 12 trillion. According to a new analysis released in the journal Nature Communications, ignoring the climate crisis could cause the global economy to lose between USD150 and USD792 trillion by 2100 if countries do not meet their current targets to cut down greenhouse gas emissions.
We need to understand the link of the patterns, downturns, the epidemics, the fires, the hurricanes, the crashes, the poverty, the waste, the injustice, the clashes, the losses and climate. Obviously we need the leadership, the governance, the expertise, the resilience, the will and the motivation that will start another narrative – a new chapter of capitalism, of justice, of economics. Otherwise as individuals we will end up in a distress, unhealed, incomplete, decoupled and broken.
The industries are responsible to take action for the people and the planet not to do better but to do good. It is more than off-setting. It is a re-definition of purpose, of seeing employees and customers as stakeholders. Regeneration is reaching out to the supply chain for collaboration, declaring a systemic change to consider growth only in areas and pathways that eliminate waste, landfills, human and natural resource exploitation and exhaustion. Do you not want this personally, do you not need this for your family, your loved ones and the future generations?
We need to build the literacy from the oil barrels to our wardrobes to the ocean and develop the operational framework to shift. “The power for organizations lies in the act of methodically and collaboratively building a collective resilience framework to increase their ability to thrive in the face of complex challenges for which the answer, and often even the definition of the problem itself, may not be obvious. These challenges frequently require both the organization and the leaders within them to make trade-offs in values and loyalties. Often, an individual’s resilience will ‘get them through’ such changes, but a more effective approach is to build organizational resilience before we need it.” (By the book Resilience is NOT about bouncing back) Unfortunately, the pandemic triggered crisis across the fashion industry has presented to us that the adaptive change is inevitable, and we have to re-think how the entire system operates. And we have to be fast.
Circular fashion is an important direction for future economic growth and the retaining the value of resources, materials and products as much as possible, creating new value by extending the life of products through reuse, recycling and renovating and sustaining the value chain will enable us to function with resilience. Circularity in the fashion industry is a call for collaboration and innovative business developments. Using the evidence from science, looking at the data to re-assess the relationships between the people and nature we can reduce the environmental changes that are caused by surplus, inefficient manufacturing, unsustainable consumption which drive biodiversity loss, climate change and pandemic emergence. I am an advocate of providing information and can talk relentlessly to friends and my communities on sustainable consumption options however as leaders in the industry, we cannot rely on the consumers to change and we have to simply do the best we can just because we know that this is the right option. I remember clearly at a meeting not too long ago as we were discussing the abandon use of polyester ( fuel-based) yarns in the new fabric developments, we ended up on an argument that the consumers were not ready to switch to better sources due to price. Extended manufacturing practices require a clear perception change to not only rely on better options but to co-own the products with consumers and treat a pair of jeans as a service rather than a “discounted” product. Circular business models will also impose a path not taken where the return on investments will be based on a broader evaluation of profits and social aspects over an extended time period.
New business frameworks with bold leadership will provide the inspiration and the motivation for both the competition as well as the consumers. Financial institutions are beginning to link the borrower`s sustainability performance to the cost of loans and better performers get lower rates. Through the Make it Possible Program by 2025, Tommy Hilfiger aims to phase out the use of virgin oil-based polyester for alternatives with lower environmental impact, sustainably source 100% of our man-made cellulosic, leather and wool and obtain 40% of our nylon from recycled sources. This week we have celebrated the launch of Denim Deal; an excellent example of relentless collaboration; initiated by the House of Denim and supported by leading industry stakeholders where the signatories have agreed to collaborate on finding sustainable solutions to close the production loop. In particular, they have committed to using a minimum of 5% recycled content in every pair of jeans and create at least one million jeans with 20% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content.
After all we are living in the most unprecedent times and we have the option to develop a systemic, inclusive, systemic change, take the road not taken not only for business but for our connected humanity.
The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.