Actively Guiding Brands
RETHINK FASHION actively guides brands to define, integrate and implement progressive and realistic sustainability transformation while always keeping in mind their vision, business growth and bottom line through a customized roadmap.
RETHINK FASHION can become your sustainability head or can complement your existing team, and work closely with all departments including top management, design, product, supply chain, retail, marketing, finance and HR.
Insights on Sustainability
• Sharing session on sustainability today; understand its critical importance, its opportunities, and challenges
• Presentation of brands leading sustainability
• The latest policies and what may be coming
Sustainability Transformation Strategy: Defining Sustainability for Your Brand
All fashion brands are different and their sustainability strategy should reflect that.
RETHINK FASHION leads a brainstorming session with top management and can run workshops to engage stakeholders around the various potential sustainability transformation directions and what each of them could mean.
We usually suggest starting the strategy brainstorming around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from the United Nations which offer an ideal platform for a brand to select the pillars that best fit its DNA and purpose. We can also refer to the Centre for Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion and WWD which has developed a list of even more specific pillars of sustainability in the fashion industry.
To be successful, a sustainability transformation strategy must be formed around clear targets, be strongly and continuously supported by the leadership, and be embedded in every aspect of a brand and its operations.
The aim is to deliver on the promise of the Triple Bottom Line: optimizing profit while remaining a good corporate citizen for the planet and its people.
Build a Tailored Roadmap
Once sustainability pillars have been selected and general targets set, we should develop together a customized action plan to implement the strategy. It will include some quick wins and medium to long-term actions toward a deep transformation aiming at optimizing profit while ensuring acting responsibly for the planet.
RETHINK FASHION reviews and measure progress with you on a regular basis to stay on track and adjust along the way when needed.
Implementation: RETHINK FASHION focuses particularly on implementation and delivery
Once your roadmap is set, it’s time to “walk the talk”; implementation is critical to success and this is where many brands fail to make real progress.
Your roadmap may include actions that emphasize decarbonization, encourage circularity, protect the ocean or biodiversity, preserve water resources or even traditional culture. It will mostly include engagement of internal team and supply chain, favourite collaboration, address potential disruption, and obviously communicate meaningfully and effectively on your brand’s transformation and relevant initiatives.
RETHINK FASHION assists you to calculate the carbon footprint by mapping greenhouse gas emissions covering 3 scopes using recognized methodologies (GHG Protocol) or with an established third-party partner.
We encourage brands to calculate reduction trajectories ideally compatible with climate science (Science-based Targets) to align with the Paris Agreement’s targets.
There will usually be some easy wins to address, like better energy efficiency, and longer ones like the transition to renewable energy sources across the entire supply chain.
We can also advise you on incorporating offsetting strategy when appropriate with the right projects and partners.
We strongly believe in the role circularity can play in the transformation of the fashion industry. This can include:
Recycled 2C and 2B packaging materials
Circular retail store environment and window display concepts
New business models: Repair, resale and rental
Avoiding waste at all costs for better efficiency, lower expenses, and less negative impact
Good design is naturally sustainable, so sustainability should start with designers.
There are many design strategies that can lead to more sustainable design practices and products, that can also lead to greater profitability. The best moment to make low-impact choices is at the beginning of the creative process.
According to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, 80% of a product’s environmental impact can be controlled by the designer.
Designers should ask themselves: “How can my designs make the world better?” We can work closely with your designers and let them see beyond materials how they can impact sustainability through their work by considering the entire potential lifecycle of a product.
It is increasingly expected that companies adhere to ESG standards and agree to conduct themselves ethically in those three areas of environment, social and governance. Consequently, the ideal sustainability strategy would not only include actions for a better climate, planet and ocean, but also impact positively social capital and develop better control mechanism to run brands’ operations. Today, fashion brands have responsibilities toward its employee and society at large.
In China, actively contributing to preserving the country’s rich traditional culture, often by supporting entrepreneurship among women from ethnic groups in less developed parts of the country, can be a very worthwhile part of a sustainability strategy. It can be combined with collaborative projects with design students from local universities.
In recent years, while we have become familiar with the fashion industry’s impact on our climate, we haven’t heard as much about the industry’s heavy footprint on biodiversity. We can define biodiversity as the variety of all life forms on earth that is essential to pursue living life as we know it today for decades to come.
As the industry is closely intertwined with agriculture, livestock, forest, and chemical processes; there are different directions that fashion brands can take to address the negative impact on biodiversity depending on their own DNA and their own products. There are also numerous opportunities to collaborate with other brands and organizations for a greater positive outcome on biodiversity.
Preparing for Disruption
We mostly hear about the impact of the fashion industry on the planet and climate, but rarely on how brands’ operations could be disrupted by them.
RETHINK FASHION strongly believes fashion brands should anticipate the risks linked to the impact of climate change to increase their resilience and understand what it could mean from disrupted supply chain to the timing of fashion collections launched during dramatically changing weather patterns or sudden government policies.
As with any major transformation, top management's clear and continuous support and communication are essential to successfully integrate sustainability into company culture and work together for a common goal. The following will play a role in building that support:
Regular information sharing
Workshops for current and new hires
Development of new habits and processes
Addressing those who may feel disengaged
The HR Dept will usually play a key role in engaging employees to develop a company culture that incorporates sustainability.
From an early stage in your transformation, sustainability targets will need to be added in departments and in annual KPIs.
Furthermore, creating incentives and rewards on sustainability matters will motivate internal stakeholders to join and lead the effort.
Engaging your supply chain from raw material to manufacturing will be critical in succeeding in your sustainability transformation as your scope 3’s emissions are by far the most important.
We can work with you on collaborating closely with key supply chain partners; having open dialogue with them with regards to traceability, your new strategy and targets, and developing attractive incentives to encourage them to join in the transformation.
The battle against climate change can’t be won without collaboration. RETHINK FASHION assists fashion brands to join local and global organizations regrouping brands with similar mindsets.
We can also build cross-over collaboration around a sustainability activation with other brands or develop synergies with fashion schools on upcycling projects or develop innovation.
Associating sustainability and nurturing young design talent provides quality content for communication purposes.
Finally, we recommend collaborating closely through a number of innovative solutions start-ups. When relevant, we may even suggest you invest in some of them!
Credible Communication on Sustainability
Your communication team will be eager to communicate on sustainability ambitions and progress.It is crucial to avoid greenwashing by selecting timely, meaningful, and genuine content.
Openly sharing the information about your products’ impact on the environment, called transparency, collected through traceability supporting a decarbonization strategy, will soon be demanded by Chinese consumers as it is in the West. There are also indications that the government may request all products to provide such information in a near future.
We can assist you to build credible and engaging stories on specific initiatives, particularly around the core transformation of the brand, including yearly reports on progress and challenges, and communication with customers, investors and the internal team.