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Sustainable Luxury - How to commit to best practices within the supply chain.
Tamsin Lejeune introduces sustainable fashion platform Common Objective at sketch restaurant.
In 2018, Alinea co-founder Holly Jade O'Leary hosted The Future of Fashion at sketch, Mayfair London, in association with Label Press at St Andrews University generating a dialogue on how to integrate sustainable practices and innovation within the fashion and textile sector and exhibiting sustainable fashion and jewellery brands.
Sector expert guests included Ulla Vitting-Richards, founder of sustainable clothing label Vildnis, Baroness Lola Young OBE, who introduced the Section 36 of the Modern Slavery Act into parliament, Alan Frampton, founder of Cred Jewellery and Fair Mined, who have established relationships with independent mining communities since 1996, and Tamsin Lejeune (pictured above) the CEO of Common Objective, a platform which enables sustainable businesses, brands and manufacturers with the ability to connect and "do fashion better". Watch an excerpt from the event here:
For emerging brands who wish to make a commitment to sustainable industry practices, the introduction of a Suppliers Code of Conduct empowers companies with the ability to incorporate cohesive governance procedures, contrast and compare, take responsible action where necessary, enhance B2B communications and provide a credible assurance to the end consumer.
Luxury brands integrate a high level of artisanship and skill in design and manufacture, fused with auteurship and exeptional creative direction, "enchantment, a useless thing but as indispensable as bread" stated Italian architect, Gio Ponti. More companies are becoming aware of their environmental impact and seeking to enhance business practices, and there is growing demand for sustainable product demanded by younger, affluent consumers who evaluate each purchase decision with a reflection on societal impact and their personal values. Luxury brands pride themselves on the core principals of exceptional design, quality, and storytelling, therefore integrating sustainable practices becomes synonymous with the authorship of communicating an artisinal approach to business operations, from the choice of sustainable paper within labels and tags to optimising new technology to forecast and analyse sales predictions to minimise stock wastage, to the covert industry practice of reselling surplus stock at cost price to established online luxury platforms to sell previous seasons' designs at a lower price point to the market, without having to publicly discount stock.
The Uk has made a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions to zero by 2050, requiring large businesses to retrofit their supply chain by the introduction of goals and ESG targets, and facilitating smaller companies in scaling their operations by optimising waste reduction, water efficiency, a transparent supply chain and improved labour conditions for workers. The United Nations Fashion Charter for Climate Action introduces by Stella McCartney at COP24 Katowice, integrates a holistic commitment from brands in the textile, design and manufacturing industry to commit to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Read The United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Investors are increasingly aware that most corporate leaders have a pivotal role to play in tackling issues such as climate change. “ESG issues have become much more important for us as long-term investors,” Cyrus Taraporevala, stated president and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, cited in The Investor Revolution published by Harvard University.
In order to integrate best industry practices, whilst a business owner may have control over their immediate design and working conditions, in the instances where aspects such as materials, manufacture, embroidery, construction, and also the consignment and assignation of goods to other merchants may require an agreement to integrate best practices.
Independent certification bodies including GOTS, The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain, Fairtrade, which certifies sustainable wages for suppliers, Positive Luxury, who award a Butterfly kitemark to luxury brands who demonstrate a commitment to social and environmental responsibility, and The Dragonfly Initiative who enable precious metals and gemstone supply chains to work collaboratively '
Alinea Law Members have access to a Suppliers Code of Conduct.
This can be adapted to address the immediate concerns of environmental responsibility, corporate social responsibility, and governance and communicate a traceable and transparent supply chain.
Factors included will address:
- Analytics - energy use, water consumption, travel miles - how can these be minimised or optimised effectively
- Integrating fair labour conditions and a living wage for employees across all aspects of the supply chain and supporting evidence.
- Reportage: list of suppliers and supporting evidence
- A statement of responsibilities
- Rights and remedies
Alinea Law Members Download: A Suppliers Code of Conduct
This is a simple framework services (master services) agreement for use in business-to-business transactions where services are provided pursuant to statements of work which form part of the main contract; these can integrate traceable supply chain ordinance such as independent auditing, a statement of responsibilities, a commitment to use certified suppliers and/or provision of supporting evidence.