The excellence of the fashion chain indicates aggregation as the key to change.
More than three hundred professionals from the fashion industry gathered on the 9th of June in Florence. A varied audience, made up of representatives from different brands – Armani, Burberry, Brunello Cucinelli, Dainese, Ferragamo, Hugo Boss, Kering, Luisa Spagnoli, LVMH, Max Mara, Miroglio, Prada, Stella McCartney, Theory, Thom Browne, Valentino and Yamamay, among others – and excellence in the supply chain such as Achille Pinto, Cotonificio Albini, Eurojersey, Fratelli Piacenza, Gruppo Florence, Loro Piana, Manteco, Minerva Hub, Ratti, Successori Reda, Zegna Baruffa…
The event which gathered such a large and qualified parterre was the 4sustainability Annual Event, the system and brand that guarantees the sustainability of the fashion & luxury supply chain. A framework that has already been implemented by around 200 companies between brands and companies in the supply chain.
The format of the event that combined plenary sessions with parallel working groups focusing on fundamental initiatives of sustainable fashion, provided some interesting insights on how to involve sectors that are currently very fragmented, on the growth of sustainability skills, on the ability of companies to invest and innovate, to attract talent, to measure impact and align with the methods of global coalitions such as ZDHC for sustainable chemistry, among others.
The opening address by Francesca Rulli, CEO and Founder of Process Factory placed the emphasis on regulatory pressures that contribute to placing sustainability at the top of fashion professionals’ priority list: the European Directive on due diligence, the EU package on the circular economy, the Fashion Act of the State of New York and measures on sustainability reporting. Despite growing awareness even among consumers, the sustainable transition encounters some obstacles that are not easy to overcome. The supply chain is long, fragmented and scattered across various continents… Evaluating its impact is therefore an economically onerous task, made even more difficult by the existence of many standards, methods and different evaluation systems that are difficult to compare.
The members of the three working groups discussed these as part of the Event agenda with a focus on as many central issues for a virtuous change to the system.
- Business and circularity: what is the impact of chemical substances?
Costanza Brachi, Operations Director Brachi Testing Services
Elisa Gavazza, Southern Europe Director ZDHC
Alberto Enoch, President of the Consorzio Promozione Filati (Yarns Promotion Consortium)
Matteo Magnani, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
- Traceability up to raw materials: how to engage consumers as well?
Attila Kiss, CEO Gruppo Florence
Iris Skrami, Co-Founder Renoon
Miran Ali, Vice-president BGMEA
Liesl Truscott, Corporate Benchmarking Director Textile Exchange
- Sustainable products: how much importance do we place on people and the environment?
Francesco Botto Poala, COO Successori Reda
Andrea Crespi, Vice-president Sistema Moda Italia
Daniele Massetti, Environmental Sustainability Specialist Hugo Boss
Olga Pirazzi, Project Manager Fondazione Pistoletto
Speaking at the first table on circularity and good chemical substances the President of the Consorzio Promozione Filati (Yarns Promotion Consortium) Alberto Enoch reiterated the active role played by the supply chain in the system’s transition towards sustainability . “Fashion production starts with the spinners, manufacturers and dyers – he explained – and sustainability which must guide the development of the fashion system follows the same path. Brands can ask, the more virtuous can involve and motivate their suppliers … Yet it is the supply chain that drives change, to invest in product and process innovation and to integrate sustainability into the corporate and production culture of the entire sector ”.
Enoch’s words were echoed by Andrea Crespi from the working group focusing on reducing the environmental and social impact of fashion production. The planet and people therefore as references on which to build business strategies to steer the system towards complete sustainability. As Vice-president of Sistema Moda Italia, Crespi underlined the difficulty and the necessity to measure up to aggregation because the upstream supply chain either does this or dies. “It is also fundamental however, to redistribute value on the supply chain – he explained – because you cannot pursue sustainability if you do not make money and if you do not value the people who are the most important assets of every company ”.
Also speaking on the topic of collaboration Attila Kiss, at the helm of a company like Gruppo Florence that has precisely the ambition to aggregate companies in the supply chain to enable them to manage strategic challenges such as that of sustainability . “The ambitions of brands to produce in an increasingly sustainable way – pointed out Kiss – clash with a very high level of fragmentation in the supply chain especially in Italy where the excellence of fashion & luxury production is located. Traceability, performance data measurement … are issues that brands leave up to the supply chain which the supply chain can only fulfil by teaming up ”.
To these critical issues 4sustainability proposes a technological solution, as well as a method through the 4s Platform, which was previewed at the event on the 9th of June. It is the first digital platform that has already been tested on the market and designed by experts in the fashion industry that traces, measures, checks, improves and transmits data on the environmental and social impact of the entire production chain over six dimensions, the same ones covered by the 4s framework.
- TRACE: traceability of processes and supply chain monitoring.
- MATERIALS: converting to the use of lower impact materials for sustainable production.
- CHEM: eliminating toxic and harmful chemicals from production cycles.
- PEOPLE: growth of organizational well-being.
- PLANET: conscious use of resources to reduce environmental impact.
- CYCLE: developing reuse, recycling and sustainable design practices.
The platform is an ecosystem based on data sharing where each entity can contribute to demonstrating a reduction in their impact. If for example a supplier invests in eliminating toxic and harmful chemicals from production, calculates the impact of the CO2 issued for the reduction quota, contains their water footprint, implements sustainability training and spreading awareness for their employees, they can register the relevant data on the platform, build their improvement path and provide concrete proof of their commitment to their customers. The latter, on the other hand will obtain valuable data to calculate the environmental and social impact of their supply chain and thus be able to consolidate partnerships and have a sustainable production.
“The uniqueness of the method – explained Francesca Rulli – allows companies to invest only once in measurable sustainability initiatives that are valuable to many customers. More precisely brands are facilitated by engaging their own supply chain on data collection aimed at reducing the impact of their production; companies in the supply chain are facilitated by the implementation of structured projects to improve their own performance in terms of sustainability to be shared with the brand and the other links in the supply chain.”
An ambitious plan therefore which originated in Italy and is proposed as an international standard. Developed by Process Factory with The ID Factory, which together for this reason set up YMPACT Benefit Corporation, the 4s Platform is aligned with ESG factors and GRI standards as well as with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the objectives of the Global Fashion Agenda. “The platform digitises the complex process of collecting, exchanging and communicating sustainability data that has already been tested ‘analogically’ on about 200 companies in the fashion world with obvious advantages in terms of rationalisation, harmonisation and simplification. The data collected, verified and managed in this way converges in the sustainability reports and contributes to supply chain vendor ratings. Not estimated data but primary data collected by different entities on the supply chain and inserted into a verification process because, – concluded Rulli – there are no sustainable products without a sustainable production chain ”.