In today’s world the fashion supply chain companies and brands are embarking on their journey of sustainability – some with profound intentions and some others refining their marketing strategies in quest of their revenue growth (recovery) strategies. The social media communication of the brands and companies are often polluted, ununified and rather blurry with precarious claims on carbon off-setting, selected range of sustainable, ethical, organic collections and targets reaching out to 2030-2050, rarely building a connection to nature and society. The adamant challenge of our humanity deserves a deeper, holistic approach and the new business models need to embrace benefits for business, society and the environment.
Photo Credit: Liam Stevens
The deep dive into holistic sustainability requires a guided goal-setting, evaluation and communication. Setting the related meaningful, purpose driven goals under a progressive leadership is the starting point. Measuring and the communication of the sustainability commitment is key to integrity. Consider sustainability as a set of values and not rules. The SDGs* equip companies and brands with the guideline however much work still needs to be done internally. Most of the fashion supply chain operates on unaccounted sustainability claims where evaluation does not support the goals announced. The current missing link is an inherent authority that inquire into the transparent communication and evaluation of the claims however this daunting challenge is in fast transition as a new tribe of consumers emerge.
The Gen Z are linked with US $144 billion purchasing power aspire value-integrated and purpose driven consumption and their behavior is being shaped by the current social, financial, environmental emergencies. Gen Z believe that they have power to make a change while thriving on memes and other virtual-short lived content. They seem to appreciate flaws and irony, typically optimistic and are likely to be community-driven. They are often attracted to brands with a “tribe-like” offer. Gen Z also has high regard for ethics and transparency from brands and the IBM Research shows that %70 if the Gen Z have influence of how their family spends money and authenticity sits at the forefront of their values.
It has become ever more fundamental to ignite sustainability as the core to a business model that defines a genuine link to the end consumer where the brand acknowledges the responsibility not only to align with the changing consumer behavior but also to mitigate the wasteful behavior on the consumer`s end. This model enables multiple mutual benefit returns for businesses and consumers as well as both parties organic commitment to environmental and social well-being.
“In both the natural world and the financial world, [sustainability] means that you think and then behave in a way that literally sustains the natural world around you, sustains business relationships, sustains personal relationships, sustains your community, sustains your country, sustains the planet, and sustains your relationships with your grandchildren and with generations to come.”
-Dov Siedman, CEO of LRN
*Sustainable Development Goals: https://sdgs.un.org/goals