| Sustainable Fashion Academy

Big Closets Small Planet with Michael Schragger

HOT OFF THE PRESS: Are the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the HIGG tools making a meaningful difference? A new report weighs in.

It’s been nearly a decade since Patagonia, Walmart and a number of other brands, retailers, manufacturers and NGOs established the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an innovative industry collaboration. As the coalition’s website states, its vision is “an apparel, footwear, and textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities”. In turn, members must commit to measuring and improving their social and environmental sustainability impacts, using the HIGG Index suite of measurement and management tools.

November 25th, 2020 52 minutes 34 seconds
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Previous Podcast Episodes

Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise revenues for its national budget? And is the proposal a done deal, given the political parties agreed to this ahead of time when forming a government?

52 minutes and 9 seconds

Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise revenues for its national budget? And is the proposal a done deal, given the political parties agreed to this ahead of time when forming a government?

1 hour, 19 minutes and 54 seconds

Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance Development at J Safra Sarasin, fled Bosnia when he was 18 to escape the war. He ended up in Sweden and today spends his time leveraging the power of the financial sector to improve the world. He is particularly interested in the fashion industry’s impact on people and has recently attracted attention for his calculations showing that a well-known fashion brand could afford to pay living wages to garment workers by increasing the prices on their clothes by only a few cents.

56 minutes and 58 seconds

Phil Patterson, Managing Director at Colour Connections, has been working at the intersection between the textile industry and influential retail brands for over twenty years, and after some recent soul-searching he had an epiphany. He has come to the conclusion that the current way we use and dispose of chemicals is extremely wasteful and will not achieve the environmental and health improvements we are aiming for.

26 minutes and 31 seconds

In this episode we continue to explore the most commonly repeated “factoids” in fashion and sustainability in order to determine whether they are substantive and useful. As a reminder, a “factoid” is information that is reported and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact. During Stockholm Fashion Week, Mike spoke with Alden Wicker, freelance journalist and founder of Eco-cult and Sandra Roos, Head of Sustainability at KappAhl and PhD in Environmental Systems Analysis, about commonly used social and environmental statements related to the fashion industry and if they are based on credible research and robust analysis.

40 minutes and 40 seconds

You’ve heard it before: The global environmental challenges we face are daunting and time sensitive. If we want to avoid catastrophic tipping points, we need to move quickly and ambitiously. If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we need to invest trillions of dollars. And so we scratch our heads and wonder if the actions we are currently taking are meaningful. We wonder if we must choose between economic development, job creation and the environment. And we cannot help but feel that even though our intentions are good, our actions amount to the equivalent of moving the deck chairs on a sinking ship. But what if there is a way to accelerate change at the pace we need, and create benefits for people and the planet? And what if the way to get there is by leveraging our tax system as a tool for transformative change?

50 minutes and 26 seconds

As a listener of Big Closets Small Planet, you are likely interested and engaged in changing the apparel industry. So for those of you who are keen to strengthen your change agent skills, we are introducing a new segment called Leading Change. In this first episode we are joined by Per Espen Stoknes who is that rare combination of thinker and doer. He is a psychologist, economist, politician, and the author of “What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming”.

54 minutes and 29 seconds

Experts and practitioners agree that simply improving upon today’s take-make-waste linear business models will not ensure the apparel industry can operate within the planet’s ecological boundaries. Instead, a new circular economy is needed and thus new circular business models. Circular business models, like resale and rental, are not actually new. But up until a few years ago, models like these were marginal, primarily employed by second hand stores and charity shops. How things have changed!

56 minutes and 21 seconds

In this new segment we will explore commonly repeated “factoids” in order to determine whether they are substantive and useful. Perhaps you have heard the statement that the production and use of clothing creates more climate impact than that of flights and shipping combined? A range of organisations - including the United Nations - have referred to this when promoting the need for climate action in the fashion and textiles industry. But is this statement true?

33 minutes and 40 seconds

The impacts of the corona virus on the apparel sector have been fast and furious. We are all affected, but millions of low-wage garment workers are facing a potentially catastrophic situation. In this episode we talk to a number of experts and union representatives to better understand what is happening on the ground, what responsibility buyers have for ensuring workers get paid, what this crisis reveals about the apparel supply chain, and if Bangladesh will ever be the same.

43 minutes and 1 second

The Fabricant, a digital fashion house, recently sold a piece of digital clothing - clothing that is only available in digital environments - for over 9000 USD. This experience helped them realise that their expertise in 3-d digital modelling could be used for a better purpose: creating a new industry sector for digital only clothing which is very good for business and the planet.

31 minutes and 1 second

…to develop and mainstream the sustainable apparel innovations required to meet key sustainability goals for the apparel industry. Listeners of this podcast series are familiar with our on-going focus on the crucial role finance and investment plays in enabling industry transformation. For the past two years SFA and Fashion for Good have been convening stakeholders to analyse this topic while calling for an analysis estimating how much financial investment is needed. Now we have it!

54 minutes and 57 seconds

In this new segment - Make Your Case - Big Closets Small Planet provides industry experts and stakeholders a platform to argue for a particular position or perspective. In this episode, Lewis Perkins, President of the Apparel Impact Institute (AII), outlines his organisation’s vision and advice for accelerating change in the apparel industry.

11 minutes and 40 seconds

Here is a quick dose of inspiration! At Planet Textiles, Mike spoke to Spencer Null about Natural Fiber Welding’s breakthrough solution: enabling natural fibers like cotton to behave like polyester. Is this a game changer? It is if it means poor quality fibers can be upgraded to premium fibers… Listen to this bite size pod to get a quick lesson on cool chemistry, and get inspired by a potentially disruptive approach.

9 minutes and 29 seconds

Do you ever wonder how CEOs from some of our industry’s most influential companies view the big social and environmental challenges we are facing today and the potential of business and innovation to adequately address these? TENCEL is a sponsor of this podcast series, so Michael took the chance and invited Lenzing’s CEO Stefan Doboczky to discuss a wide range of topics in recent interview.

43 minutes and 21 seconds