SAP Next-Gen and Encompass Hong Kong Activate a Consciousness for Sustainable Fashion during Fashion Revolution Week with 15 Shades of Green
The SAP Next-Gen program and local social enterprise partner Encompass HK hosted the Sustainable Fashion evening event at SAP Hong Kong on April 26th bringing together community and corporate leaders to drive a conversation on the sustainable fashion agenda in Hong Kong. The event, 15 Shades of Green took place during the Fashion Revolution Week, a week of global campaigns and activities that demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain including putting an end to exploitation, providing decent working conditions, and focusing on sustainable production. SAP Next-Gen, together with GFA, kicked off a sustainable fashion agenda at the World Economic Forum at Davos earlier this year.
With SAP’s strong footprint in the global fashion industry, we strive to serve as a key partner in the movement to make sustainable fashion the new normality. The most admired apparel retailers in the world run SAP solutions. SAP customers produce more than 86 percent of the world’s athletic footwear and more than 63 percent of the world’s name brand jeans. SAP solutions bring transparency to supply chains, reduce energy consumption and waste, and provide a platform for innovation within the SAP ecosystem, including fostering startups that disrupt the fashion industry for social good.
Fashion and retail leaders are already experimenting with various business models to implement circular economy concepts and emphasize sustainable business practices across their supply chains to ensure putting purpose before profits and move towards a healthier planet for future citizens. Panelists at the event provided great some insights on how their teams are stepping up their efforts to rethink their approaches to become more environment-friendly :
- BASF has teamed up with Adidas to create a fully recyclable Futurecraft Loop sneaker. Adidas is reconfiguring its factories to produce shoes that can be ground into pellets, melted down and made into new running trainers.
- North Face Renewed collection includes refurbished clothing remade to explore more. Whether previously worn, returned, damaged or defective, the clothing is inspected, washed and tuned up for the next adventure. It’s the same great quality and performance that one can expect from The North Face with less impact on the earth
- Global Scan and C&A Foundation latest report on how the fashion industry is taking on board principles of the circular and sharing economy and what can be learned from other industries. There are still many barriers to the fashion industry achieving a circular and collaborative business model. These include a business culture dependent on “fast fashion” and a traditional, linear supply chain, as well as limited knowledge of circular approaches and a lack of consumer demand for sharing and service models. A wide range of solutions are needed to tackle these challenges, as discussed in the report: Responsible Consumption and Production in Fashion & Beyond: Perspectives from the SDG Leadership Forum
- H&M highlighted that the only way to future-proof the industry is with circular business models. H&M has defined all their goals and priorities , and by 2020, all the cotton in their range will be sustainably sourced: organic cotton, recycled cotton or cotton sourced through the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI), and they aim to be part of the Climate Positive Value Chains by 2040.
- Academia plays a strong role in nurturing future designers and fashion students to pursue sustainable practices while coming up with creative ideas on how to reduce waste and impact on our environment. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and The Mills Fabrica recently collaborated very successfully on their Techstyle for Social Good competition, encouraging students to innovate for social good globally based on innovations merging design and technology.
Community leaders, innovative spaces, accelerators and startups are often the sources of first mover ideas on sustainable fashion. They challenge the big corporates to push their boundaries to continuously innovate and implement circular supply chains. For a dynamic, fast moving and fashion-conscious economy such as in Hong Kong, it’s fascinating to have women lead many of the initiatives, demonstrating how they relate to these problems in a much more personal way and are eager to work with partners on sustainable solutions.
- Retykle, an online platform to buy and sell designer second hand kids and maternity clothing, aims to recirculate clothes with temporary use and keep them out of landfill as long as possible
- Unspun focuses on reducing waste using robotics and building custom jeans for each consumer on demand. They use automated, localized, and intentional manufacturing to reduce global carbon emissions by at least 1%.
- Meraki promotes Indian Folk art sustainably and ethically bringing back glory to the lost traditional and folk arts. The team sustainably sources leather and supports the Indian artisans who create beautiful art to the world through new and upcycled handbags
- The Mills Fabrica, an open platform for techstyle innovation, supports techstyle startups that help build a global techstyle community
- 22 Factors is an eco-luxe knitwear brand that believes in consuming less but living more. Their garments are made from upcycled yarn.
- HULA, an online marketplace for pre-owned designer womenswear, gives 5% of their net profits back to partnered charities. It also supports a sustainable fashion community where members can consign the items they no longer need, discover the best designer pieces for less and feel great about shopping, all whilst impacting the world one sale at a time.
- 2ndHand offers preloved fashion brands at great discounts nurturing a circular fashion economy reducing textile wastes through fun marketing campaigns and offering incentives to traders.
- Redress’ mission is to prevent and transform textile waste to catalyze a circular economy and reduce fashion’s water, chemical, and carbon footprints. #GetRedressedMonth takes place every October in Hong Kong and focuses on engaging more people to think about their clothing consumption habits and teaches them how to pass on unwanted garments responsibly.
Hong Kong is a large shopping hub with huge potential for impact. The fashion industry needs a fundamental redesign and an embracement of circular economy principles. This requires increased collaborative efforts across industries for research and development of sustainable practices, upstream and downstream, and more information and education available to orient consumers. The local communities need to be inspired with sustainable fashion efforts year-round with clothing swaps, film screenings and roundtables – each designed to increase the use of clothes, clothes made from safe and renewable materials, and old clothes used to make new ones. Consumers need to choose more sustainable products that meet their personal values and by doing so, reward the brands that create them and supporting slow fashion.
Will we leverage science fiction to explore future solutions that offer desirable fashion without stripping the earth? Or will emerging tech, like blockchain, help us reduce the solid waste along the supply chain, most of which goes to landfills or up in smoke? Perhaps, coming together with global citizens as a collective force with creative ideas and approaches, is the way ahead for driving industry change, to make the fashion industry truly sustainable.