The “Fashionning a Brighter Future: Challenges and Opportunities in Consumer-facing Sustainability Communication” project aims to assess the current state of communication efforts  on sustainability in the apparel industry at the retail and consumer level. It also looks to deliver practical recommendations to help take advantage of benefits and opportunities, and overcome challenges arising from the scaling of such efforts. To achieve the project’s goals, ACF’s team has sought to bridge findings from large-scale research studies with opinions from the field -shared first-hand by an array of stakeholders in the fields of sustainability, certifications, and apparel.

The first focus of our three-pronged research approach targeted consumers based on their role as economic drivers. We set out to study the following:
• Consumer awareness of the socio-environmental and health implications of apparel products
• Consumer interest in accessing sustainability information on the apparel and footwear they purchase and wear
• Preferred methods of sustainability content delivery and the format in which it is presented
• The level of consumer trust in current sustainability initiatives in the fashion industry
• Potential willingness of consumers to change behaviour based on such information

Read the working paper below to learn what we found:

Sustainability Communications in Apparel: The Role of Consumers


ACF Consumer Focus Presentation 11-19-2014

In our mission to serve as a research organization paving the way towards a cleaner future through the generation of ideas and solutions for entrepreneurs and businesses, we develop projects that engage with pressing sustainability and industry issues. Our latest initiative has been in the field of fashion and communication.

The “Fashionning a Brighter Future: Challenges and Opportunities in Consumer-facing Sustainability Communication” project aims to assess the current state of communication efforts  on sustainability in the apparel industry at the retail and consumer level. It also looks to deliver practical recommendations to help take advantage of benefits and opportunities, and overcome challenges arising from the scaling up of such efforts. To achieve the project’s goals, ACF’s team has sought to bridge findings from large-scale research studies with opinions from the field -shared first-hand by an array of stakeholders in the fields of sustainability, certifications, and apparel.

We are thrilled to present here a brief of the Project, including its context, goals, methodology, and schedule. We hope you enjoy and we look forward to receiving your input!

Sustainability Communications in Apparel: Introduction

ACF Apparel Working Paper

ACF Apparel Working Paper

 

We are excited to announce the first in a series of events celebrating the release of our research focused on communicating sustainability initiatives in the apparel industry!

A Clean Future will host an informative discussion exploring the latest trends in how apparel companies engage with consumers on sustainability. ACF will deliver the first in a series of presentations based on its latest research paper on sustainability communications in the apparel industry and host a panel discussion with industry experts.

Join us for an eye-opening forum about the role consumers can play in fashioning a new mindset in the apparel industry.

Our featured panelists will include:
Alisha BhagatSustainability AdvisorForum for the Future
Alisha Bhagat is a sustainability advisor at Forum for the Future, a sustainability non-profit working globally with business and government to solve complex problems. At Forum she works on the futures team and helps organizations use creative long-term thinking to plan for the future. She holds a MS in Foreign Policy from Georgetown University and a BS in History and Anthropology from Carnegie Mellon University.

Rebecca Gard SilverAdjunct Professor, SVA, Parsonsl; ConsultantNRDC “Clean by Design”
Rebecca Gard Silver is a sustainability consultant and educator who leverages her hybrid background in design, business, and environmental science to engage clients on sustainable innovation for new products and services. She has worked with global companies and NGOs including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Walmart, Adidas and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). For the past two years Rebecca has also served as an adjunct professor at both the School of Visual Arts’ Products of Design masters program and at Parsons the New School for Design, where she teaches sustainability to burgeoning designers.

Rhett Godfrey, Sustainability Director, Rogan / Loomstate
Rhett Godfrey is the Lead Coordinator and co-founder of the Chetna Coalition and the Director of Sustainability for Loomstate based in NYC. Rhett studied sustainable development at Columbia University and is a childhood educator of environmental studies, a published author of a book on communications, and a celebrated public speaker for organic cotton sustainability.

moderated by Patrick Duffy, Vice President of Sustainability & External Affairs, Manufacture New York
Patrick Duffy heads up sustainability, manufacturing strategy and external affairs for Manufacture New York, an innovation hub for design, manufacturing and research in apparel, textiles and wearable tech.

Date: Wednesday, November 19. 2014
Time: 6:30PM

Get your tickets here: https://acfapparel.eventbrite.com

Listen to our podcast with Naadam Cashmere CEO Matt Scanlan. Naadam sources the best cashmere in the world from nomadic herders in the Gobi Desert. Matt discusses how they remain profitable and sustainable simultaneously. As climate change makes life harder for herders, Naadam utilizes a unique method of routing profits back to help insure them against disaster. The beneficiaries of this process? Goats! Listen here:

Please join our discussion about  “The New Age of Sustainable Clothing”

Date: Tuesday, October 1st
Time: 6:00 PM
Host Location: QuickSuites
 7th Floor
 79 Madison Avenue
 New York, NY 10016

This month’s fashion networking event will feature a brief talk given by to help companies in communicating sustainability to consumers in the sustainable clothing initiatives for 20 minutes, followed by Q&A. Shortly  the team from A Clean Future. ACF is conducting a market assessment fashion world. The team will discuss the project and trends in thereafter there will be open networking for about a half hour.

To Register: Email  Sara Grillo sgrillo@thelcogroup.com

We look forward to seeing you there!

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Written by Maye Walraven, Edited by Patrick Duffy and Natalie Tang

New York, NY — During the past decade, sustainability has revolutionized the way food and automobile industries operate and inform consumers about their products. The food industry developed organic practices and fair trade labels. The auto industry emphasizes innovative, efficient and clean technologies to enable consumers to make more Eco-conscious decisions. However the typically Avant-garde fashion industry is lagging behind when it comes to adopting and communicating sustainability trends. Several recent events triggered a push to place sustainability closer to the top of fashion industry’s priorities.

The emergence of fast-fashion has transformed our relation to clothesACF-Survey-photo. Lower prices and faster turnover (hence the term “fast-fashion”) are effectively making apparel more disposable than ever. The recurrence of tragedies such as the Bangladesh factory collapse which cost over a thousand lives raises questions concerning worker conditions and fashion industry production practices in general.  So, what is really the state of the fashion industry’s relationship with sustainability?

Our research at A Clean Future (ACF) so far reveals there are very large disparities in the level of engagement and efforts dedicated to sustainability from different actors in fashion.  A handful of outstanding companies, most of which are part of the Sustainability Apparel Coalition, are leading the way and have managed to fully incorporate the concept of sustainability into their business models. A larger group of followers, generally motivated by risk mitigation, are taking their first steps towards sustainability by reviewing both their own performances and their supply chain’s compliance with legislation.

Sustainable fashion houses have been on developing value chain indices capable of communicating sustainability data (e.g., water consumption, GHG emissions, toxics and social welfare) throughout the entire supply chain, from farmers to end-consumers. The objective of such indices is ultimately to empower consumers to pick the most virtuous products and thus pressure the entire value chain to adopt more sustainable practices. To date, a few companies, including Nike and Timberland, have started using such indices. Although significant efforts have been invested in the data collection process and on increasing transparency levels across supply chains, little attention has been dedicated to the final step, which may be the most important: communicating credible product level sustainability information to consumers.

ACF will launch a white paper that explains these findings and recommendations for other companies to develop effective communication strategies for sustainability efforts.

Share your ideas by taking our survey!

Findings will also be shared through webinars and blog up-dates, so keep following our progress!

A Clean Future kicked off the summer season with a panel on Sustainable Breweries at Green Spaces NY. An introduction of our Sustainable Breweries white paper highlighted some of our favorite best practices for sustainable brewing which was followed by a panel discussion. Panelists included Eric Ottaway, General Manager at Brooklyn Brewery; Kai Olson-Sawyer, Senior Research and Policy Analyst of Grace Communications Foundation, Waterfootprint expert for brewers, and Caleb Stratton of PlanSustainable, Eco-certification expert for craft brewers.

Breweries touch on so many aspects of supply chain management: the growing process of wheat, barley, hops, etc., water supply, and sourcing/reusing raw materials there is great potential for brewers, and especially craft brewers to make a positive impact.The informal discussion included questions from audience members. What sets sustainable them apart from the rest? Their ability to stay creative in not just managing their raw materials, but also finding ways to capitalize on waste.

For more information, check out updates from Grace Communications Foundation and CRISP. Also, check out our white paper here. Special thanks to Brooklyn Brewery for providing the beer for this event, and making it an enjoyable experience by all.

Sustainable Brewery Event at Green Spaces. What a great crowd!

Sustainable Brewery Event at Green Spaces. What a great crowd!

Stay tuned on what we are up to – check out our twitter page, @acleanfuture and our live twitter feed from the event – #sustainablebeer.

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