The research is black and white: to future-proof your profits as a fashion business, you need a sustainable business strategy.
66% of consumers are now happy to spend more on sustainable products, so if you’re not considering sustainability, you'll lose customers in the future.
Sustainability is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ in fashion either. It's not a selling prop or a marketing tool. Sustainability in fashion is essential and not just for the future of humanity, but for the future of business too.
Climate change is impacting the way we do business. Fuel prices are on the rise. Transport is trickier. Weather events are affecting trade. What’s going on outside, is making its way inside, and it’s impacting the profitability of businesses worldwide.
But I don’t want to scare you with all this - I want to inspire you. How can bad news be inspiring? Easy. You use it to take action and you take problems to create positive change.
The facts about plastic should inspire you to make changes with your packaging, so you can help clean up our oceans. The devastating rate of deforestation should ignite a fire within your belly and drive you to understand your office operations so you can eliminate any unsustainable paper products. What we know about polyester shouldn't make you want to quit fashion, it should make you want to switch to better fabrics.
Every time you learn a negative fact, a scary statistic or something that unsettles you – use it to create a positive impact or use it to make a difference with your fashion business because business can be a force for good.
Being a sustainable fashion business is a three-step process if you’re new to it: it’s all about awareness, acknowledgement, and action. You first have to be aware of the problems, you then have to acknowledge that you might be contributing to some of those problems, and then you’ve got to take action so you can stop contributing to those problems and start positively changing them.
Step one: Become aware of the problems. Climate change, ocean plastic, slave labour, deforestation… There’s a lot going on, but don’t bury your head in the sand. Conversations lead to change and awareness leads to action, so start by understanding the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Step two: When you have an understanding of the SDG’s, pick them apart and work out which ones apply to your business. Step two is all about acknowledging what needs to change, and it’s probably the toughest step. Facing the truth is ugly. Accepting that you might be using slave labour somewhere in your supply chain – is hard. Acknowledgement is hard, but once you’ve realised what needs to change, you can change it.
Step three: Take action. Now that you’ve researched and broadened your mind and you’ve acknowledged what needs to change in your business, you’re ready to change it. You’ve established your ‘why’ behind the change, now you need to work on your ‘how’. After you’ve made your way through this three-step process, roll everything into a written statement that you share throughout your entire business, and stay accountable.
This of course is the lightweight version of what should be an authentic, deep dive into a sustainable business strategy for every fashion business, but it’s something to get you started.
Being a sustainable fashion business is a choice, but it’s also a necessity if you want to future-proof your business.
If you want to learn more about sustainable business, you'll love my Sustainable Business Strategy Online Masterclass Course. It’s the A to Z of better business practices and the way forward to a sustainable fashion future.