Mike Schragger, founder and director of the Sustainable Fashion Academy(SFA) and Chair of The Global Leadership Award in Sustainable Apparel (GLASA) s
Mike Schragger, founder and director of the Sustainable Fashion Academy(SFA) and Chair of The Global Leadership Award in Sustainable Apparel (GLASA) said in an interview that SFA doesn’t work with companies that greenwash and that it’s not good for their business as greenwashing doesn’t capture the business value inherent in a a sustainability approach but it rather risks the company’s reputation.
He said that sustainability had become a buzzword in some circles with core issues such as population growth environmental degradation and resource depletion is the macro trends that are here to stay. Awareness of environmental impacts has been raised int the sports and fashion industry in the past ten years, and we can see new global platforms emerging around common standards with increasing interest in new environmentally friendly production processes with a focus on reuse and recycling. Also, since the 2013 Rana Plaza tragedy, where over 1100 people died in a garment-factory, brands and retailers started addressing the issues of health, safety and living wages.
There are many drivers that create a perfect storm for sustainability in the apparel industry like:
- The growth of global middle-class increases demands for clothing and apparel creating a material gap as access to materials stagnate.
- Since the apparel industry depends on water the prognosis of an imminent water scarcity is a significant threat.
- A lot of investors are becoming more and more interested in the sustainability impact of their investments,
- New generation of employees want to work for companies who are making a difference which could cause problems with recruitment
- There’s an increasing demand from Governments for action regarding eco-design, transparency and water pollution.
- Watchdogs – groups that can discredit your company if you don’t have your sustainability work in order.
SFA’s main expertise is in advising companies on their sustainability methods through off the shelf courses, and unique solutions with online options included, said Schrager. The Sustainability Fundamentals, the first online education for retailers and brands, was launched with over 1000 professionals from some of the world’s most famous brands who participated in the course.
Many participants confirm that the course worked and that the concept works. The course has helped companies to encourage a needed discussion about sustainability practices, ensure a common language between different functions and departments, provide a basis for educating staff about, priorities, expectations, and strategy, increase staff engagement, stimulate ideas from staff on their contribution, demonstrate their company’s commitment to sustainable business.