Sustainability Connected - II
-by a possible tragedy
Where and how do we connect to the environment, which provides the means to sustain our daily lives? I am not only referring to the nature and its resources but a broader scope of macro, micro habitats as well as the human element involved. Even our mundane acts deploy numerous natural resources and during the pandemic crisis as well as thereafter we have acknowledged our personal and interconnected priorities, necessities and the related economies. To a certain extend the pandemic has partially lifted the veil which disguises where and by whom our commodities emerge or are grown as well as how they land at our doorstep. As time came to a standstill through lockdowns which limited our mobility, we had more time to consider the breakdown as well as the impact of our consumption habits.
The tragedy of the commons presented by Garrett Hardin in 1968 in the Science Magazine defines a profound relation between the stakeholders and the commons in a shared-resource system where individual users, acting independently according to their own self-interest, behave contrary to the common good of all users by depleting or spoiling the shared resource through their collective action. Garrett`s article gives the example of depletion of a finite commons; the pastures where each herdsman tries to keep as many cattle as possible and the formula works for a time period due to the natural course of tribal wars, disease that keep the number of the herdsmen as well as the cattle limited however the day that the tragedy happens is bound to arrive. As each herdsman strives to maximize his personal gain adding to his earnings based on a rational formula which presents that adding one more animal to the commons provides a positive utility of nearly +1. The negative component of over-gazing the pasture is shared by all the herdsmen and thus for the individual herdsman the negative utility is only a fraction of -1. This formula is to be applied to all the herdsmen using the commons and men increase their herd without a limit – in a pasture that is actually limited. The ruin emerges for all as the limited resources of the pasture diminish. Does this sound unfamiliar to anyone? We have constructed industries, relationships, transactions, live-hoods, the modern society and consumption mainly based on a false understanding of infinite resources and this mind-set separates the manufacturer, the consumer from the environment that materializes the products and the services. The brands need to build the connection to their supply chain and understand the nature of how design and demand are actualized taking into consideration the content of raw materials, how these raw materials are deducted, the manufacturing process, the human element that crafts the products and they need to do this not only because a new generation of consumers demand it but also because they simply can choose to do so.
The pre-pandemic statistics on fashion have changed and the industry has the opportunity to redesign its future. There is current capacity gap, marking a critical tipping point for both the supply and the demand. The industry has a bigger responsibility to transform into a serving the people infrastructure as it redefines its future. Investing for impact demands a holistic approach, breakdown of functions, acknowledging mistakes, incorporating business into a social and environmental frame-work. The cultural, tribal drives, expectations of the younger generations, the climate realities, the fringe movements scaling at speed, innovation, technology, unusual collaborations, new priorities are re-shaping the traditional fashion landscape. Purchases are becoming investments and consumers are now demanding accountability and information on how and by whom their clothes are made.
As we are all enjoying the only pasture we have, and it looks like there will be more of us to enjoy its beauty we have an imminent need to introduce a conscious, self- motivated, dedicated formula to not only preserve what we have but to regenerate.
Unusual collaborations – Responsible like-minded brands and businesses use digital platforms to reach out to responsible consumers and turn purchases into good for the people and the planet.
The sustainable sneaker brand Thousand Fell partnered with New York concept store Naked Retail Group to create a new digital marketplace for sustainable brands to come together for consumers. In response to the pandemic, the innovative retail group decided to take its latest store concept digital, enabling the discovery of both popular and emerging sustainable brands. The digital pop-up will include fashion, beauty, and lifestyle brands For Days, Von Holzhausen, Just Human, Fair Harbor, Simris, Act +Acre, Nakedcashmere, Siblings, Kinfield, and Navitas Organics, and will serve as a roadmap for how consumers can shop sustainably. All participating brands will be officially partnering with One Tree Planted and running a “10 for You, 10 for the Planet” promotion, giving customers $10 off each purchase. To further each brand’s direct impact to environmental change, an additional $10 from each purchase will also be donated to One Tree Planted to help reforestation efforts and offset carbon footprints.