The Value of Regeneration
The Royal Dutch Shell has announced that it will write down 22 billion USD in assets as it faces the impact of the coronavirus global lockdown. The company also targets net zero emissions by 2050 in its effort to align with the Paris Agreement. BP, the world`s largest non-state owned energy company had declared their commitment to cut emissions and have recently warned that they are expecting a write down of 17,5billion USD. The write-downs are not mere price adjustments but more of a systemic change that defines climate strategies to define the future of businesses.
Last week, Boohoo lost about 1,5bn GBP of market capitalization after the news about unfair revelations about the working conditions in their supplier factories. Boohoo stands for fastest fashion for women empowered by social media and has 12 million Instagram followers and spent more than £90 million on marketing last year. Boohoo`s shares recovered after the company shared a plan to invest 10million GBP in its factories in the UK where half of their clothes are produced. The post Covid era is a new beginning. Concern for environmental and social sustainability and the transformation needed to empower regeneration will be the main focuses in business as they are linked to economic value directly.
The Nature of Fashion report released by the Biomimicry Institute says: “It’s safe to say that no one ever looked at a barrel of oil and thought, “That would make a nice- looking dress.” And yet, for nearly 80 years, we have collectively looked past the ill-effects of petroleum and focused solely on the versatile, low price-point clothing that polyester makes possible. Recent years have seen growing interest from the fashion industry to move towards a circular economy, an economy that is regenerative by design.” The report portrays a deep understanding of the challenges related to linear processes in fashion and proposes taking decomposition as an inspiration for the solutions that we need. The report suggests that the fashion industry loop of the future to requires the existing circular and recycling infrastructure to enable consumption to become efficient, extracting all available usefulness from materials before they are ultimately safely decomposed. Currently almost %60 of the textiles made are using fossil fuel based fibers, where the link between decomposition and design does not fully function. The challenge is not a simple one – design and produce durable jeans that can decompose safely. A true closed loop process ensures that the final degradation of the product transforms into a natural or industry primary raw material. The circular economy targets to keep the materials in use for an extended period of time and as nature already has its way of dispersing waste, fashion industry can use nature as a guide; demanding design and decomposition work in tandem. Back in 2018 Kering and The Savory Institute announced a collaboration to recognize the positive impact regenerative agriculture can have in the fashion industry. Verified regenerative sourcing solutions coming from fashion groups as Kering, accelerate the transformation in the industry and with the launch of its new recent Biodiversity Strategy, global luxury group Kering commits to a net-positive impact on biodiversity by 2025 and declares its regenerative intentions.
We have come to realize that the planet cannot be treated as a mere market and the brands and companies that will progress into the future are targeting to be a part of the solution and not the pollution. I have been looking into replacing the much used and (abused) “sustainability” terminology which actually means the ability to sustain and have embraced regeneration as it embodies the ability of regenerating natural resources and not just an understanding of circular business defined to operate within the planetary boundries but also a new form of leadership.
On a recent article on Financial Times, Al Gore points out that the pandemic is a turning point in fight against climate change and continues to say that at Generation (the Investment Management he has co-founded) they remain focused on the long term and believe very deeply that the world is now in the early stages of a sustainability revolution that is the biggest investing opportunity and business opportunity in the history of the world. Generation thinks that this shift has the magnitude of the Industrial Revolution, coupled with the speed of the digital revolution and it’s driven by new digital technologies like machine learning and artificial intelligence and the new levels of precision that this makes possible.
I would like to share with you the work of amazing Paula Ulargui and she says about her collection “A NEW SKIN THAT, LIKE A SIAMESE BODY TO ANOTHER, JOINS HUMAN BEINGS WITH NATURE. A CLOTHING THAT RECONNECTS US,IN THE MOST PHYSICAL WAY, TO THE ESSENTIAL”.
Paula has worked with seeds, plants and biomaterials and living organisms which would allow vegetation to take place on the body, representing sustainable revolution in the fashion industry enabled by regeneration.