Sustainability 101: Trend vs. Impact
Fashion’s latest trend? Sustainability.
But what does sustainability mean? Can brands – even in the fast-fashion industry – contribute to a more sustainable world? And can consumers learn to differentiate the buzzwords and marketing campaigns (aka greenwashing) from impactful sustainability efforts?
What is sustainability, and why has it become so trendy?
Sustainability – at its core – is about meeting our world’s current needs without comprising the needs of future generations. True sustainability thus includes environmental health, economic vitality, and social equity. Meaning, any sustainability efforts should improve the environment, economy, and equitability of today and the future, for everyone.
Sustainability is trending in every industry due to:
- Sustainability regulations. Governments and regulatory bodies have begun to crack down on unsustainable or inhumane practices (finally!). Failing to meet regulations often costs a company millions of dollars in addition to reputational damage. Brands, naturally, want to avoid regulatory run-ins at all costs.
- Supply chain disruptions. A global pandemic. War in the modern world. Natural disasters. It’s no secret that the exchange of goods, from car parts to baby formula to understaffed and overwhelmed shipping companies, continues to suffer. As a result, brands are doing everything in their power to eliminate inefficiencies and streamline their sourcing and purchasing processes in a sustainable manner.
- Conscious consumerism. Consumers are smart. Consumers are connected. Consumers want to do as much good as possible in a world turned upside down. And brands that grow understand that consumer-centric strategies work – and last. With conscious consumerism on the rise, conscious brands are following suit.
How can brands and consumers make a sustainable impact?
Whether you’re a brand or consumer looking to make a difference, strive to ensure that all of your actions are “DIY” (deep, inclusive, and year-round):
- Deep. For brands, deep sustainability means understanding where every product and ingredient originates – all the way down to the first contributor. Perhaps you’ve audited your factories, but did they already know you were coming? Did they show you everything or just what you wanted to see? Do you know where they source their cotton? Who picked that cotton? Are those individuals making a fair wage under decent working conditions? For consumers, deep sustainability means trusting and purchasing from brands who deeply know their supply chains and aim to do good every step of the way. Brands who not only know the factory, but also the cotton-picker. Sustainability rating systems such as Good On You are also a great way to get to know brands who do good, so you can purchase accordingly.
- Inclusive. For both brands and consumers, this means making business or purchasing decisions that include and work toward environmental health, economic vitality, and social equity. Brands with inclusive sustainability are brands whose supply chains protect and improve the environment, economy, and livelihoods of all contributors. Conscious consumers will similarly keep the environment, economy, and livelihoods of brand contributors in mind when purchasing. For example, an inclusive, conscious consumer might utilize reusable bags while also purchasing locally from ethical shops that know and care where their ingredients and items originate.
- Year-Round. Not just on Earth Day. Not just during Pride Month. Not just in a blog post. Not just when that new regulation hits. But every day, year-round. Brands who walk the talk are brands that ensure sustainability and impact are essential to their business models, and their entire supply chains. As a consumer, be on the lookout for brands that are changing the way they do business to positively impact their supply chains, and to be more sustainable overall, year-round. Not just when it’s convenient or trendy. Brands should hire and give authority to dedicated sustainability experts in their supply chain, procurement, legal, or compliance teams to make a real impact. Sustainability shouldn’t be a marketing ploy (otherwise, it’s just greenwashing).
The BanQu Difference
At BanQu, we believe in a world where every brand can be for-profit, for-good, for-people, and for-environment without sacrificing growth.
And we’re here to make it easy for you.
BanQu is the world’s first and only platform that powers global organizations to drive strategic and lucrative business decisions – and achieve sustainability goals – through quantitative insights at each tier of their supply chains, all the way down to the first contributor.
With BanQu’s suite of solutions, brands of all shapes, sizes, and goals can boost their bottom line while positively impacting individuals and environments throughout their entire value chain.