The Redress Design Award is making sustainable fashion an industry standard

September 23, 2020 by  
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Who doesn’t love a good fashion contest? Competition has always been a great way to introduce new styles to the world and for new designers to show off their skills. The Redress Design Award is using competition to shine a spotlight on sustainable fashion and make eco-friendly style something that all designers strive to achieve. Redress is the biggest sustainable fashion design competition in the entire world, an event that helps to create and motivate the best and brightest eco-friendly designers in the industry. Through events like this, Redress hopes to raise awareness about the waste crisis happening in fashion. Related: Seaweed Girl explores seaweed as an eco-textile for sustainable fashion Redress founder Christina Dean says that the crisis “can’t be swept under the carpet any longer.” Redress saw COVID-19 as an opportunity to bring more attention to the concept of the circular economy as it applies to the fashion industry. With so many issues with transporting supplies and manufacturing during the panemic, Redress took the chance to stress the importance of using all materials and wasting nothing. The circular economy is all about reducing and repurposing in order to eliminate waste. It’s the eco-friendly version of that classic style sentiment, “Less is more.” The Redress Design Award isn’t just a thrilling fashion design competition. This is also an event that is designed to educate up-and-coming designers about sustainable fashion. The 2020 Redress Design Award wrapped with two winners. Menswear designer Le Ngoc Ha Thu of Vietnam created designs that stood out among hundreds of entries from 48 countries. Thu said the competition was “a nourishing and beneficial experience.” Thu will collaborate with VF Corporation’s Timberland to learn more about creating sustainable fashion. Juliana Garcia Bello of Argentina won the womenswear design award. “I have learned so much during my participation in the Redress Design Award and have definitely come out of this with a reinforce feeling that collaboration is the key,” Bello said. “We designers need to share our strengths and be inspired by each other.” Bello will work alongside The R Collective, an award-winning brand focused on upcycling . These two are the 10th winners of the award after being chosen from 10 finalists from 10 regions. The contestants completed a series of design and business challenges that were focused on real-life sustainability. This year’s competition also focused on COVID-19 waste. Redress focuses on designs that are made for low waste and recyclability using low-impact processes and materials. Redress also publishes a magazine that highlights sustainable fashion and all of the designers who compete for the coveted Redress Design Award. It’s contests like these that will help make sustainable fashion the industry standard rather than the exception. + Redress Images via Redress

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The Redress Design Award is making sustainable fashion an industry standard

Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes

September 16, 2020 by  
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Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes Myisha Majumder Wed, 09/16/2020 – 01:30 Skyven Technologies, founded in 2013, is a company with a unique proposition for companies in the industrial sector — a way to save money through decarbonizing. Skyven CEO Arun Gupta said the idea came when he applied the thinking behind his Ph.D. dissertation in microelectronics to an entirely different field: climate change. “I was able to figure out how to apply the technological concepts of the work that I was doing for Texas Instruments for a partial solution for climate change, and that inspired me to start working on is basically a technology that captures heat from the sun and uses that heat to reduce fuel consumption,” he said. The component of the industry sector emissions Skyven seeks to decarbonize is process heat — such as the creation of steam — which accounts for a large component of the emissions from the industry sector. In order to manufacture products, companies in the industry sector must burn fuel, typically natural gas, to create heat. Technologies such as geothermal, biomass and solar, which Skyven initially focused on, can provide an alternative to natural gas to generate heat for industrial processes. This is particularly relevant in the sectors Skyven works in: the food and beverage manufacturing industry; pulp and paper; chemicals; pharmaceutical manufacturing; textiles; and primary metals and lumbers. Rather than trying to fit one technology or one solution into every plant, we found that the plants are all unique and they have unique needs. In 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that the three largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions were transportation (28 percent), electricity (27 percent), and industry (22 percent). Even with decarbonizing the electric and transportation sector, to reach long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, the United States would need an 80 percent reduction from 2005 levels in economy-wide emissions by 2050. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions found five core imperatives to reaching climate neutrality, including electrifying or switching to low-carbon fuels in the industry sector. While providing an alternative using solar technology was the original technological goal for Skyven, the company has evolved significantly, adapting to the individual needs of different companies in the industrial sector, Gupta said. Rather than focusing solely on deploying the company’s initial in-house solar technology, Skyven transformed quickly into a company offering a multipronged approach for decarbonizing the industrial sector. “The need for decarbonization in the industrial sector spans far beyond solar. Rather than trying to fit one technology or one solution into every plant, we found that the plants are all unique and they have unique needs,” Gupta said. “It makes a lot more sense to meet those unique needs with unique solutions.” Typically, in order to determine these needs and gauge applicable solutions, Skyven employs a four-step procedure: initial plant analysis; addressing and mitigating concerns about potential solutions; deployment and implementation of solution; and operations and maintenance (O&M). This highly customizable procedure allows Skyven to determine the best fit solution company-to-company, and within that company, plant-to-plant, rather than deploying a general technology. As part of this process, Skyven’s team completes a thorough initial analysis using its custom platform, asking the customer specific questions and collecting data about where in the plant thermal energy is consumed. From there, Skyven identifies where there are opportunities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, reduce fuel consumption and save money. Interacting with the customer is especially important for the manufacturing industry, where production is profit, Gupta said. Using that analysis, Skyven implements the technologies best suited for the plant, which can include Skyven’s solar technology, but does not always. Because of this, Skyven frequently partners with other startups and technology manufacturers. When the new system is in place, Skyven hires a third-party maintenance contractor with extensive experience with industrial hardware. Typically, Skyven pays for everything involved in the process — from initial analysis to equipment and to O&M, Gupta said. The only cost to the customer is a newly lowered fuel cost amount, he said. These payments cover more cost-efficient and sustainable thermal energy at a cost that is less than the customer otherwise would have paid for fossil fuel, according to the company. While Gupta did not communicate the names of Skyven’s current customers, citing sensitivity around publicly disclosing information about manufacturers, he discussed recent press coverage around the Copses Dairy Farms in New York state.

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Startup tackles decarbonizing industrial heat processes

The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted

August 21, 2020 by  
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Trees make the world a better place for humans by providing shade, sequestering CO2 , intercepting airborne particles, aiding respiratory health and adding great beauty to this planet we call home. Because trees do so much for us, planting more of them is an eco-strategy touted by many environmental organizations. But what’s it really like spending your workday growing, planting and caring for trees? To find out, we talked to a Zach Clark-Lee, a professional tree farmer who works with the environmental charity One Tree Planted. Founded in 2014, One Tree Planted works on reforestation projects in North America, South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Some of its goals are to restore forests after natural disasters, create jobs and enhance biodiversity . The organization figures that it costs approximately $1 to grow and plant a tree, from land prep to maintaining and monitoring the planted tree. So if you have a dollar, you can sponsor a tree through One Tree Planted’s website. Or learn more about planting some trees yourself. Related: Nonprofit plants 80,000 trees in Kenya and Rwanda Here’s what Clark-Lee had to say about working with One Tree Planted. Inhabitat: What and where is your job, and how did you become affiliated with One Tree Planted? Clark-Lee: I work for the Colorado State Forest Service Seedling Nursery in Fort Collins, Colorado as a tree farmer . I took a tour of the nursery while in school, and I immediately fell in love with their mission and passion. I started as a volunteer in 2014 for about 4-5 weeks and then was offered a seasonal position. One year later, I started training to become the container production supervisor. Now, this is not the only hat that I wear. I’m the volunteer coordinator for the nursery, a licensed drone flier, tree planter and tour guide. Giving tours is how I became affiliated with One Tree Planted. I connected with their mission and values right away and then started growing trees for their vast projects. I’ve gotten a significant number of trees in the ground by working with One Tree Planted and have connected with some fantastic people along the way. Inhabitat: What was your motivation behind getting involved in the industry? Clark-Lee: To be completely honest, my motivation at first was completely selfish. I just wanted to be able to work outside. The more I learned during my hands-on experience, the more I realized how important my work and the work of the nursery was. My motivation adapted quickly. While I still love the fact that I get to work outside, I’m driven by a purpose, a want and a need to make our world a better place. Ultimately, I want to ensure my kids and future generations all over the world have a thriving planet to call home. Inhabitat: How many trees do you cultivate yearly? Clark-Lee: We sell roughly 500,000 native trees , perennials, shrubs and grasses every year. These plants have so many different applications such as going to post-fire/flood affected areas, building habitats, erosion control, creating living snow fences and windbreaks and more. Inhabitat: What’s a typical day like for you? Clark-Lee: I arrive at 6:45 in the morning and get our crew rolling for the day. We may be seeding, transplanting, weeding or getting orders ready for distribution. Every day that I’m on the farm, I get to nurture our plants to help others and Mother Nature. The days are long, and sometimes more challenging than others, but I experience a constant rewarding feeling from my work. A feeling that makes me want to get up and do it again day after day. Home is an interesting concept for me. The nursery is really my second residence, and after a long day on the 130-acre farm, I get to go to my  actual  home and spend time with my family. Inhabitat: What happens after you’ve grown the trees, and where do they go? Clark-Lee: We grow and sell trees for many different reasons. Some of our plants are going to areas that may have been impacted by devastating fires or floods . Some may be for habitat rehabilitation and animal corridors that house birds, lions, bobcats, pollinators and more. We also have specific projects for a number of different conservation efforts, like helping reservations restore their land or helping farmers/landowners with windbreaks or living snow fences to better manage their properties. Inhabitat: Do you plant trees yourself? Why? Clark-Lee: Yes, we plant the trees ourselves, mainly to ensure the success, health and beauty of the tree planting. We want our plants to help Colorado and surrounding states be as healthy and prosperous as we all know they can be. We also plant species on our property for seed increase, when seed may be hard to get your hands on. Inhabitat: Where have you planted trees? Clark-Lee: I have started my own plantings on the “High Park” burn scar, just outside of Fort Collins. I saw this site and realized that not many people were planting there. So, I took it upon myself to change that. With the help of One Tree Planted, I was able to purchase the trees from the nursery and get started. Planting is a passion of mine, and I cannot wait for the pandemic to end so that I can return to the forest with my volunteers. Inhabitat: What wild animals have you seen in the field? Clark-Lee: I have seen amazing wildlife , like mountain lions, bobcats, eagles, hawks and owls. Inhabitat: What do you like the most about working in the industry? Clark-Lee: What I like most about working in the industry is the like-minded people I have the opportunity to connect with. Volunteers are truly a different type of breed — an amazing one! They are happy to get out in the hot sun and traverse all kinds of terrain just to put trees in the ground. Volunteers don’t do it for the money, they do it because they are passionate about the cause and want to help. Inhabitat: How long have you done this work, and how long do you plan to do it? Clark-Lee: I have been doing this work for almost 7 years now, and I don’t think I could be any happier doing anything else. I have been able to grow and plant trees for the world’s health and help others find their path in this industry. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about your work? Clark-Lee: Passion is the ultimate driver for my work. If you’re looking for ways to help fight climate change , or get involved in your own community, you can start with planting trees. Get out and volunteer for an hour or two, or 10 hours, or a whole week. Do it until passion slaps you across the face. You might discover something in you that you never knew you had. Inhabitat: What are your hopes for the future of forests, and how does your work contribute to that? Clark-Lee: I hope that I can pass my torch to the future generations with a smile and know that we are in safe hands. I hope that my passion rubs off on people from all walks of life. I want my work to instill hope in others. Trees are the answer, and don’t let anyone forget it. See professional tree planters in action in this video from One Tree Planted. + One Tree Planted Images via Jplenio , George Bakos and Siggy Nowak

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The daily life of a tree farmer with One Tree Planted

Ulta Beauty is bringing refillable containers back to the cosmetics industry

August 18, 2020 by  
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Ulta Beauty is bringing refillable containers back to the cosmetics industry Jesse Klein Tue, 08/18/2020 – 02:00 The beauty industry has a plastic waste problem. And it knows it. A quick Google search brings up articles from Allure , National Geographic , Forbes , Teen Vogue and 31,800,000 other results about the issue.  It seems those concerns finally have reached a critical mass, inspiring a sustainability makeover at three of the biggest beauty brands in the business — Sephora, Natura & Co, and Ulta Beauty. Last year, Sephora launched Clean at Sephora , a label that originally screened for 13 ingredients considered “unclean” but in July was expanded to over 50 substances, including butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), sulfates, mercury, talc, aluminum salts and lead. The company announced a partnership Aug. 17 with the Environmental Defense Fund to continue the reduction of toxic chemicals in its products.  Sephora reported that 94 percent of its products contain no high-priority chemicals laid out by its chemical policy , and 13 percent more products on its shelves release ingredient information compared to last year. Sephora also recently took action on the racial justice issue by becoming what it believes is the first beauty company to commit to giving 15 percent of its shelf space to Black-owned brands per the 15 Percent Pledge  — however, it hasn’t given a timeline for when it will complete that goal.  Natura & Co., which recently announced its 10-year Vision 2030 sustainability plan, is prioritizing initiatives including habitat protection and reimagining its packaging. The strategy expanding preservation of the Amazon rainforest to 7.4 million acres from its current 4.5 million , having fully circular packaging by investing $100 million in developing regenerative solutions, and decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions. Ulta Beauty also recently announced a new overarching sustainability initiative, Conscious Beauty. The program commits to elevating cruelty-free and vegan products highlighting these brands in-store. Ulta, like Sephora, is planning a Made Without list that will tag products free of parabens, phthalates and 25 other chemical categories. Ulta also ran an advertising campaign in 2018 highlighting diversity in beauty including different races, genders and even a model in a wheelchair . In the past few years, the company has added black-owned brands such as EleVen by Venus Williams , Pattern by Tracee Ellis Ross and Juvia’s Place . But Ulta’s marquee pledge is getting to 50 percent recycled, bio-sourced materials or refillable containers by 2025.   According to the Ulta press release, the cosmetic industry produces 120 billion packaging units every year across the globe. And with 1,264 retail stores across 50 states , Ulta is a large contributor to this issue. Many tubes of mascara and lip gloss and tins of powder, blush and eyeshadow can’t be recycled at all.  Loop sees an opportunity with the high-priced luxury makeup brands sold by Ulta. “We know the packaging in beauty is a challenge,” said Dave Kimball, president of Ulta Beauty. “But we think we could be part of the solution.” To get to that 50 percent goal, Ulta has teamed up with reusable packaging darling Loop from TerraCycle. Loop distributes products including Häagen-Dazs ice cream, Pantene shampoos and Clorox wipes in refillable containers. When customers buy the product online, they put down a deposit that is returned when the consumer mails the containers back via a designated tote. Loop already has U.S. partnerships with Kroger and Walgreens , and it is planning to offer in-store drop-off locations by the middle of next year. That’s something it also hopes to do with Ulta in the future.  Right now Loop offers refillable containers for groceries. Courtesy of Loop. Loop sees an opportunity with the high-priced luxury makeup brands sold by Ulta that it doesn’t have with the ones sold at your neighborhood grocer or pharmacy.  “Beauty products need to have packaging that has a beauty aspect because beauty is about beauty,” said Tom Szaky, CEO and founder of TerraCycle. “There’s this huge opportunity for epic design that is unique to the beauty category. Doing things that can’t be done when you have a cheap disposable package.”  There’s this huge opportunity for epic design that is unique to the beauty category. Beauty products in the 1950s came in beautiful glass, gold, silver, crystal and ceramic bottles and containers that were refillable. Since the 1960s, the amount of plastic packaging on everything, not just cosmetics, has increased 120 times. As the industry moved to disposables, cosmetic packaging designers typically prioritized more function over form. The Ulta-Loop partnership could spur a return to a previous era for the industry, the partners believe.  “It’s going to allow packaging innovation in a way that’s never been done before,” Szaky said. “Because the beauty brands are willing to be brave and push the envelope.”  While Loop already has a few partnerships in the cosmetic space — including with brands such as Pantene, REN and The Body Shop — Ulta is the first collaboration focused specifically on the lucrative world of makeup.  “We’re going to really leverage the relationships and the influence that we have in the industry to help drive change as [Loop is] building their packaging and their supply chains,” Kimball said. Ulta Beauty hopes to have a Loop drop off point in store like this. Courtesy of Loop. Loop will use Ulta’s connections in the beauty world to create innovative new packaging designs for Ulta’s in-house brand and other consumer favorites; the exact brands have not yet been nailed down. According to Szaky, Loop plans to tap the best and most creative designers for the project. Ulta has a unique power to pressure its vendors to take up sustainable initiatives such as this to get better placement in-store. And Loop can use Ulta’s connections to expand its own portfolio. In the end, there will be a joint website to sell the products before transiting to Ulta.com with a Loop-specific section. “It’s going to take multiple efforts to really attack this,” Kimball said. “There’s a packaging opportunity that we collectively have as the industry, and we think it’s important for Ulta Beauty to be a leader in helping drive it forward.”   Pull Quote Loop sees an opportunity with the high-priced luxury makeup brands sold by Ulta. There’s this huge opportunity for epic design that is unique to the beauty category. Topics Retail Circular Economy Zero Waste Circular Packaging Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Plastic lipstick tubes, eyeshadow palettes and foundation bottles are a huge problem for the industry. Courtesy of Unsplash, Jazmin Quaynor.

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Ulta Beauty is bringing refillable containers back to the cosmetics industry

Could Bloom fuel cells be a solution for maritime emissions issues?

August 18, 2020 by  
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Could Bloom fuel cells be a solution for maritime emissions issues? Zac Estrada Tue, 08/18/2020 – 01:00 In the race to drastically cut emissions in shipping, one of the industry’s biggest names, Samsung Heavy Industries, is teaming with fuel cell company Bloom Energy to develop a more sustainable fuel designed to meet steep international targets. Under the partnership, announced in June, the companies will collaborate on creating fuel cell powertrains for commercial ships, potentially providing one critical path to a clean technology future for marine shipping. The goal is to replace oil-based power generation.  Samsung is one of the largest shipbuilders in South Korea, along with the Hyundai Group and the Daewoo Group, and employs nearly 13,000 people . It’s aiming to be the first shipbuilder to deliver a cargo ship for ocean operation that runs entirely on fuel cells powered by natural gas. Currently, an estimated 80 percent of the vessels in the world’s shipping fleet operate using bunker fuel. “Bloom thinks Samsung is a good partner and information on what the company sees as a trend for more efficient transportation and heavy shipping,” Preeti Pande, vice president of strategic market development for Bloom, told GreenBiz. “Both companies have a shared vision of powering ships with fuel cells. In that sense, there is a really good partnership that is not in name only, but in values and goals.” Both companies have a shared vision of powering ships with fuel cells. In that sense, there is a really good partnership that is not in name only, but in values and goals. And the goalposts are high . In 2018, the International Maritime Organization set the goal to halve emissions for commercial ships from 2008 levels by 2050. But by 2030, zero-emissions vessels will need to start being introduced. Bloom and Samsung want to show off their workable design in 2022. “Shipping is 80 percent of all trade. … It’s also responsible for a lot of trade, it’s also 13 percent of all emissions,” Pande said. “[Fuel cells] meet the demands for efficiency. It’s one of the lowest producers of CO2. And then you have the [nitrogen oxide] and [sulphur oxide] taken care of. In that manner, you’re really addressing the goal with technology we have today.” Bloom already has a lot of experience with fuel cell technology on land, she said, which is why the company is confident it can set up similar systems for marine purposes. Some of its high-profile customers include AT&T, Equinix, FedEx and Google. Some skeptics, however, said the global nature of the shipping industry could pose challenges. “I think the industry is kind of agnostic on fuel, but they have some concerns regarding supply and resilience of supply because they need their ships going,” said Thomas Koch Blank, a senior principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute.  Blank, who specializes in heavy transport issues, said the biggest issue for the industry’s mandate to cut emissions will be decarbonizing the ports the ships land in. Because the International Maritime Organization (IMO) emissions drive isn’t a law so much as a pledge, the task of finding alternative fuels and propulsion technologies falls on individual ports and the complicated structures in which vessels are owned. “It’s just really tricky to find a single point here. What we hope to find is a winning strategy for the principles is to find a single point that cuts through this quite differentiated ownership structure and to the vessel,” he said. “It’s not deterministic, and we can’t forecast what the fuel mix will be, nor is there a single regulatory body that can enforce anything on fuel.” That’s not to say there won’t be emerging demand for alternative fuels, Blank said. But it may require ships to have more of a flexible fuel technology in the interim. That includes hydrogen. “Ports can play an interesting role,” he said. “You have industry clusters co-located with the port, and you have lots of trucks at the ports. There’s a clustering of hydrogen of demand that could be very interesting.” While Bloom looks to the first fuel cell-equipped vessels to leverage existing liquefied natural gas stations at ports worldwide, it’s already looking to get hydrogen in the picture. The company announced in mid-July that it would enter the hydrogen market next year, first in South Korea.  “Today, we have a proven technology that can help shipbuilders with reaching IMO targets on GHG emissions and improve efficiency, all while emitting virtually no NOx and SOx,” the company said in a statement. “Looking forward, as nations and ports develop their hydrogen infrastructure, fuel cell-powered ships could transition from utilizing natural gas fuel to hydrogen fuel.” Hydrogen is already becoming a way ports are meeting local goals to cut emissions, but they’ve mainly been looking to power trucks with the fuel. After some government wrangling, the Port of Los Angeles in Long Beach, California, got approval in March to develop a hydrogen plant that first would power heavy-duty trucks supplied by Toyota to pick up deliveries from the ships. Meanwhile, Bloom already envisions other applications for fuel cell technology on the water. Pande said the cruise liner industry previously had expressed interest, although that was before the COVID-19 pandemic hobbled its business globally. Eventually, however, much smaller vessels could be adapted with fuel cells, she said. “This is a start for us,” Pande said. Pull Quote Both companies have a shared vision of powering ships with fuel cells. In that sense, there is a really good partnership that is not in name only, but in values and goals. Topics Transportation & Mobility Sustainable Shipping Fuel Cells Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Could Bloom fuel cells be a solution for maritime emissions issues?

Digital technology, green finance in vogue among fashion’s sustainability trendsetters

August 5, 2020 by  
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Digital technology, green finance in vogue among fashion’s sustainability trendsetters Phylicia Wu Wed, 08/05/2020 – 01:00 The key to long-term success in the fashion industry is to start trends and continually push the envelope — a philosophy that also applies to its ESG priorities. The $2.5 trillion industry accounts for about 8 percent of the world’s carbon emissions when considering the entire value chain — higher than the entire iron and steel manufacturing industry combined, for comparison. Without any intervention, that figure is projected to increase more than 60 percent by 2030. However, there is a growing and collective awareness of environmental impact across the industry. Companies are discovering sustainability is not just a fad, but a new standard that is here to stay.  A proliferation of greening initiatives from industry players has emerged with public announcements of policies to tackle this issue, measures to address their supply chain footprints, promotion of circular economy practices and encouragement for sustainable brands growing increasingly popular. However, despite these various green initiatives from several early trendsetters in the fashion industry, formidable challenges lay ahead on the path to scaling up sustainability — especially when it comes to supply chain strategies. The lack of environmental impact information and outdated technology are two ubiquitous issues plaguing industrial supply chains in general, but they are especially significant in the context of the fashion industry.  Due to highly price-competitive environments, upstream supply chain participants have little motivation to invest in improvements. Downstream supply chain participants that rarely have a personal stake, such as powerful brands and retailers, hardly encourage prioritization of sustainability upstream. These dynamics have led to the development of stagnant supply chains largely unable to respond to the urgency of the fashion industry’s significant carbon footprint.  Given that most emissions are produced along the supply chain, companies’ inability to monitor and track this data means that there is not a starting point to begin improving their environmental footprints. In particular, inadequate data collection infrastructure along the supply chain has resulted in a shortage of environmental data and information transparency. According to the 2020 Fashion Transparency Index survey, while 78 percent of brands have policies on energy and carbon emissions, only 16 percent publish data on the annual carbon footprints of their supply chain. Given that most emissions are produced along the supply chain, companies’ inability to monitor and track this data means that there is not a starting point to begin improving their environmental footprints.  The reluctance to upgrade to new technology can be partly attributed to thin operating margins of fashion supply chains leading to inefficiencies along the entire chain. One of the most candid illustrations of inefficiencies caused by antiquated technology is in the manufacturing process, where conventional practices still take 2,700 liters — or three years’ worth of drinking water — to make a typical cotton T-shirt.  Traditional manufacturers abide by the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” adage, while the ultimate retailer of the shirt has no direct ties to the manufacturer. Thus even if the manufacturer had a sustainability policy, it would be difficult to enforce. When both upstream and downstream participants of the supply chain are at odds with modernization, it prevents the changes needed to respond to the climate impact of the industry.  But it is not all doom and gloom. This is where green finance and technology come in. Their dual adoption can begin to address the environmental data gaps and also boost efficiency for production processes in the supply chain that would usher along a much-needed evolution of the fashion industry towards greater sustainability.  Digital technology will play a pivotal role in addressing information transparency and environmental reporting in the fashion industry by facilitating data collection along the supply chain. Using blockchain and cloud-based technology, a number of startups are already laying the groundwork.  For example, blockchain platform Provenance helps trace and certify supply chains to enable ethical procurement decisions. Another startup, Galaxius, offers a cloud-based system that tracks supply chain activity from fabric orders to garment delivery. Beyond startups, fashion luxury giant Kering Group launched an app called My EP&L that tracks carbon emissions, water consumption and air and water pollution along its supply chain to educate designers and students on sustainable design principles. Recently, Stella McCartney and Google Cloud announced a partnership to determine the environmental impact of various types of raw materials. All of these efforts contribute to advancing data collection at different points along the supply chain and have the potential to provide unprecedented levels of transparency for the industry. Dated technology in the production phase of the supply chain creates significant challenges in two ways. The first is in more eco-friendly product material innovation. New textiles, alternative raw materials and sustainable dyeing methods are made possible through scientific and technological ingenuity.  For example, Tencel, a super-absorbent fiber made from wood pulp, offers a great alternative to synthetic activewear. Lenzing Group, producer of Tencel, also uses a closed-loop production process and sustainable dyeing technology in which solvents needed to make the fiber are recycled over and over again to produce new fibers. But the higher costs associated with upgrading machinery to produce more eco-friendly materials typically associated with such innovations hinders their wider acceptance.  The second challenge relates to upgrades and updates to the supply chain that boost efficiency, promote better resource allocation, identify potential cost savings, predict demand and provide other benefits that mitigate the industry’s environmental impact.  Startups such as Optoro and ShareCloth use artificial intelligence, machine learning and other emerging technologies to digitize processes to lower excess inventory and reduce textile waste. However, similar to the cost barriers that impede wider adoption of eco-friendly materials, these new technologies depend on customized machinery or entirely new production facilities, which may be more capital-intensive and require considerable new capital expenditures when compared to traditional manufacturing processes.  Just digital technology for supply chain improvements will not be enough. Fashion will need green finance to drive large-scale transformation. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that commercializing and scaling these innovations will require $20 billion to $30 billion of financing per year.  The Boston Consulting Group estimates that commercializing and scaling these innovations will require $20 billion to $30 billion of financing per year. Promising green finance developments in the fashion industry already are underway. Traditional lenders have begun to ink green bonds and sustainability-linked loans. In November, Prada became the first fashion company to sign a $59 million sustainability-linked loan with Crédit Agricole.  Under the terms of the loan, Prada can pay a reduced interest rate if it achieves targets related to the number of LEED Gold or Platinum-certified stores, the number of training hours employees receive, and the use of Prada Re-Nylon (regenerated nylon) in the production of goods. In February, VF Corporation closed its $591 million green bond, marking the first green bond issued in the industry.  Private equity investors are also paying attention to startup fashion brands. Just last year, The Carlyle Group made its first foray into the industry by acquiring a stake in Jeanologia, and Permira acquired a majority stake in the ethical fashion brand Reformation. In September 2019, the $30 million Good Fashion Fund launched, representing the first investment fund focused solely on driving the implementation of innovative solutions in the fashion industry.  Brands also have started to form corporate venture capital arms to create opportunities for green finance. Examples include Patagonia’s Tin Shed Ventures, launched as a $20 million fund in 2013, and H&M’s CO:LAB, which has made investments ranging from $1 million to $20 million in sustainable fashion.  Prada, by scaling and incentivizing its regenerated nylon technology through its green finance partnership with Credit Agricole, serves as a pioneer for the industry. However, the solutions offered by advancements in technology and green finance admittedly will need more buy-in from companies across the fashion world.  Some ideas that can move fashion in a greener direction include establishing long-term business strategies that incorporate plans for sustainable solutions, employing creative approaches to applying sustainability across supply chains and developing best practices for environmental data monitoring and reporting.  A recent press release from Google and WWF Sweden announcing plans to create an environmental data platform, the latest green financing deal by Moncler for up to $472 million that is tied to its environmental impact reduction targets and a similar arrangement by Salvatore Ferragamo for up to $295 million are welcome steps in the right direction, even in the midst of a global pandemic.  The future is indeed hopeful as sustainability continues to be championed across the industry and its supply chain. Green finance and digital technology will be increasingly critical drivers for the development of greener and more sustainable supply chains. The fashion industry always has been creative, innovative and bold in its designs; now is the time to channel these qualities to secure a fashionable future that is green and sustainable. This article was adapted from the Paulson Institute’s three-part series on sustainability in the fashion industry. Pull Quote Given that most emissions are produced along the supply chain, companies’ inability to monitor and track this data means that there is not a starting point to begin improving their environmental footprints. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that commercializing and scaling these innovations will require $20 billion to $30 billion of financing per year. Topics Corporate Strategy Supply Chain Fashion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Digital technology, green finance in vogue among fashion’s sustainability trendsetters

Timberland invests in regenerative leather ranches

June 19, 2020 by  
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Timberland invests in regenerative leather ranches Deonna Anderson Fri, 06/19/2020 – 02:45 Regenerative agriculture practices have received a lot of attention in recent years, and much of the focus has been on food production. But more companies outside of the food space are figuring out how they can invest in or use regenerative practices in the supply chain for their products.  One of those companies is Timberland, which in late May announced a new partnership with the Savory Institute, a nonprofit focused on the large-scale regeneration of the world’s grasslands. The move comes on the heels of Timberland’s announcing a collaboration with Other Half Processing , which sources hides from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed regenerative ranches, to build a more responsible leather supply chain. The new partnership with the Savory Institute is two-pronged. One of those prongs is Timberland’s move to co-fund the Savory Institute’s ecological outcome verification (EOV) programs on all ranches within the Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed network, made up of early adopter regenerative ranches across the United States. The investment is part of a larger sustainability strategy at Timberland that is focused on three pillars — better products, stronger communities and a greener world.  This offers an opportunity to actually source in a way that can help restore the environments that we sourced from, and actually have a net positive effect of giving back more than we take. “What’s so exciting about the regenerative agriculture opportunity is basically that it’s a way that we can hit on all three of those pillars with one project,” said Zack Angelini, environmental stewardship manager at Timberland, the outdoor apparel and footwear manufacturing company, which uses leather for much of its outdoor wear. “This offers an opportunity to actually source in a way that can help restore the environments that we sourced from, and actually have a net positive effect of giving back more than we take.” The funding, which Timberland shares with Thousand Hills, will help the EOV program collect data about the ranches with helping them continually improve their regenerative practices and outcomes. The program collects information about soil health, biodiversity and ecosystem function, which is related to water cycle, mineral cycle, energy flow and community dynamics. Additionally, the funds will support network ranchers with resource development and getting more trainers trained, as well as covering typical administrative and marketing costs to help explain the message of what regenerative is and why it matters. The second prong of the partnership is the opportunity for Timberland to test and learn and build a new supply chain from the ground up. This fall, Timberland plans to introduce a collection of boots using regenerative leather sourced from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed ranches. Angelini said this effort will serve as a proof of concept that can show what can be done.  “But definitely our long-term vision is to really get to the wide-scale adoption of these materials, both in our own supply chain, but also getting it to be industry-wide,” he said. Scaling up and reaching critical mass Chris Kerston, chief commercial officer for the land-to-market program at the Savory Institute, said that around the time the institute was reaching critical mass in its food work — where consumers are able to access options that were produced regeneratively at similar price points and with similar quality as conventional options — it decided to start working with apparel companies. For the apparel industry, critical mass would look like mass adoption of using natural materials and natural fibers. “So much of what we wear, if we think about it, is really just repurposed oil,” Kerston said. “And I think that the next generation, the millennials and [Gen Z] are saying, ‘Is that really what we want?’” “We think we have a big opportunity in front of us to … bring this to the mainstream and help drive towards that tipping point,” Angelini added, noting that this work has been in the pipeline for Timberland for over a decade. So much of what we wear, if we think about it, is really just repurposed oil. “It actually dates back all the way to 2005 [when] Timberland co-founded a group called the Leather Working Group (LWG), which basically was formed to address the impacts of the tanning stage of leather production,” Angelini said. Through the working group, Timberland was able to revolutionize the sustainability of the tanning of its leather by going down to that stage in the supply chain. LWG also helped to bring other players in the industry along. Now a not-for-profit membership organization that has developed audit protocols to certify leather manufacturers on their environmental compliance and performance capabilities, LWG counts other apparel brands such as Adidas, Eileen Fisher and VF, Timberland’s parent company, as members.  Now, Timberland hopes to move the industry forward even further. “We’re kind of excited about this next opportunity to basically help change the industry again, but this time, I’m going a step even further down the supply chain to the farms [where] the leather actually comes from,” Angelini said. Pull Quote This offers an opportunity to actually source in a way that can help restore the environments that we sourced from, and actually have a net positive effect of giving back more than we take. So much of what we wear, if we think about it, is really just repurposed oil. Topics Supply Chain Regenerative Agriculture Fashion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Cattle on a Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed ranch, Courtesy of Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed Close Authorship

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Timberland invests in regenerative leather ranches

Horseshoe crab blood remains industry standard for big pharma

June 2, 2020 by  
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It’s a bad week for horseshoe crabs as their defenders have failed to convince big pharma that synthetic crab blood is a viable alternative for endotoxin testing in drugs. Maryland-based US Pharmacopeia (USP) has blocked this effort. Real horseshoe crabs’ copper-rich blue blood clots when it comes into contact with bacterial endotoxins — which, if present in products, can cause severe diarrhea and even toxic hemorrhagic shock. Since partially replacing rabbit tests in 1977, horseshoe crabs’ blood has been the industry standard. Animal rights groups and Switzerland-based Lonza have pushed for synthetic versions called recombinant Factor C (rFC). Related: Pacific Ocean’s elevated acidity is dissolving Dungeness crabs’ shells At first, experts thought USP, which produces influential drug industry publications, would add rFC to its chapter on international endotoxin testing standards. Instead, the organization decided to give rFC its own chapter. This means that even if a company wants to use rFC, it will still have to do additional testing with real horseshoe crab blood to validate results, which ultimately defeats the purpose. “Given the importance of endotoxin testing in protecting patients … the committee ultimately decided more real-world data [was needed],” USP said in a statement. USP said it supports shifting to rFC where possible, potentially including testing COVID-19 vaccines or medicines. Some drug companies are already using the synthetic tests to improve human health . Eli Lilly uses rFC for testing Emgality, a migraine treatment. Unlike most lab animals, the horseshoe crabs are captured, bled and released. John Dubczak, director of operations at Charles River Laboratories, told Scientific American that no more than 30% of a crab’s blood is removed and claimed a mortality rate of 4%. “One of my suppliers built a water slide to put the crabs back into the water,” Dubczak told Scientific American . “They love it!” Conservationists suspect the mortality rate is much higher for the industry as a whole. “There’s not very good science-based information on the mortality of the crabs,” Michael De Luca, senior associate director at the Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University, said in the same article. “I’ve see figures range from 15% to 40% but nobody has a really good handle on that.” Via The Guardian , Scientific American and Horseshoe Crab Image via Chris Engel

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Horseshoe crab blood remains industry standard for big pharma

The fashion industry is unsustainable — here’s how journalism is inspiring activism to improve it

May 15, 2020 by  
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The fashion industry is unsustainable — here’s how journalism is inspiring activism to improve it Kirstie Dabbs Fri, 05/15/2020 – 01:43 The fast fashion industry has long been critiqued for unsustainable practices and unethical working conditions. From global cotton supply chains to pollution from textile factories, the need to improve the industry in favor of both people and the planet is pressing.  Bard MBA student Kirstie Dabbs spoke recently with author Elizabeth Segran about their shared passion for building a sustainability-centered future for the fashion industry. They discussed the unchecked growth of the fashion industry’s business model, possibilities for regulations, and how to inspire systematic change in global fast fashion.  Segran writes about design, with a particular focus on the fashion industry as a senior staff writer at Fast Company Magazine . She also recently authored a new book, ” The Rocket Years: How Your Twenties Launch the Rest of Your Life .” In it, she discusses how all kinds of decisions that we make in our 20s — from career to love to family — have the greatest impact on how our lives play out. There are 8 billion humans on this planet, but a lot of the data suggests that we’re making about 100 billion articles of clothing for them. Kirstie Dabbs: What inspired you to begin writing about the fashion industry and climate change? Elizabeth Segran: In a lot of ways, the work I did for “The Rocket Years” is extremely relevant to the conversation about the fashion industry and climate change. The decisions young people make, the activism they pursue and the ways they think about building a career can all center around trying to solve some of these problems and having a real impact.   Collectively, young people need to be involved in being part of the solution here. I have a lot of hope that we can change this industry, which is causing so much disruption to the planet. Dabbs: As you dug into the fashion industry’s environmental footprint, what were some discoveries that jumped out at you? Segran: I was really surprised about exactly how much we’re overconsuming in the world of fashion. There are 8 billion humans on this planet, but a lot of the data suggests that we’re making about 100 billion articles of clothing for them. Plus, if you think about how those clothes are spread out around the world, people in many places don’t own that many clothes. So the vast majority of the clothes being manufactured are going to countries like the United States. Then, when you think about how many resources go into making every single garment, including the $5 shirt from H&M, it adds up. There’s an enormous cost in natural resources like cotton and wool, and there’s a massive impact on the climate because a lot of carbon is involved in manufacturing nylon and polyester.  There’s just so much waste in this industry. Clothes are made at such low cost that we go into a store or we go online, and we fill our carts with clothes that look fashionable right now but that we essentially treat as disposable. In a few months, maybe a few years, all of those clothes will end up in the trash. Dabbs: Can you speak to the discrepancy between the population growth rate and that of the fashion industry? Segran: The first part of the problem is that fast fashion has created a new way of interacting with clothes that make them pretty much disposable. The second part of the problem is that companies are measured by how quickly they can grow — investors want to see constant growth. This means that, for a fashion brand to continue growing, it either needs to sell clothes to more customers or needs to sell that same customer more clothes.  The fashion industry is growing at a rate of about 3 to 4 percent a year , but the human population is only growing at a rate of about 1 percent . We can see why we’ve gotten to the point of such massive overconsumption. Dabbs: How do you hope to inspire systemic change through your work? Segran: Sustainability reporters like myself have been talking about the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and over many years there’ve also been reporters consistently writing about human rights abuses in the fashion industry. It’s so clear now that those two things are connected. A lot of environmental destruction happens when we’re using inexpensive materials, and on the other side of that, we’re also using inexpensive labor to keep costs low.  I’ve written a lot about how farmers, particularly in India and Bangladesh, who are responsible for so much of global cotton production, are exposing themselves to toxic chemicals. A lot of the time, those chemicals end up in the ground water and poison entire villages. That’s one of the human costs we see along the chain in order to get these inexpensive materials.   Even if you ask a brand to regulate its environmental impact throughout its supply chain, that brand may just not have access to information about what’s happening lower down in the supply chain. There’s also the factory part to consider. We know that conditions in factories in many parts of the world are terrible, but because people are so desperate in those countries for work, they’re willing to work under awful conditions for very low wages. All of that for a $5 shirt we aren’t going to wear many times.   I’m asking consumers who read my stories to think about how they participate in this system. A lot of people struggle to understand exactly how the supply chain works, so I’m educating them about where abuses are happening and how they can call out companies for their bad practices.  It’s also my job to find out about companies that are doing things slightly better so that consumers can use what I call wallet activism to have an impact on the market. Investors and companies see what the trends are in terms of consumer spending and may adjust their behavior to respond. Dabbs: Is there a case for regulating the global fashion industry? Segran: This is a really important topic and one that I don’t think has been wrestled with enough. Part of the reason that the fashion industry is still largely unregulated is that the supply chain is really spread out. There are brands that don’t even know what the conditions are in factories because they work with middlemen who help them source products. Even if you ask a brand to regulate its environmental impact throughout its supply chain, that brand may just not have access to information about what’s happening lower down in the supply chain. So this is actually a very complex issue. Plus, even today we don’t have very good ways to measure environmental impact. We know that the industry is creating a lot of waste, but we’re not exactly sure how much. On the other hand, we’re beginning to use more circular models, where you might buy an article of clothing and after wearing it for a couple of years, send it back to be recycled and turned into new garments. Developing interesting models through innovation is a great way to move the industry forward. This Q&A is an edited excerpt from the Bard MBA’s May 1 The Impact Report podcast. The Impact Report brings together students and faculty in Bard’s MBA in Sustainability program with leaders in business, sustainability and social entrepreneurship. Pull Quote There are 8 billion humans on this planet, but a lot of the data suggests that we’re making about 100 billion articles of clothing for them. Even if you ask a brand to regulate its environmental impact throughout its supply chain, that brand may just not have access to information about what’s happening lower down in the supply chain. Contributors Katie Ellman Topics Retail Supply Chain Circular Economy Fashion Supply Chain Waste Collective Insight The Sustainable MBA Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Milos Vucicevic Close Authorship

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The fashion industry is unsustainable — here’s how journalism is inspiring activism to improve it

How the next coronavirus stimulus could be a win-win for cruise lines and the environment

April 7, 2020 by  
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As the federal government seeks to bail out the industry, environmental advocacy organizations urged Congress to ensure that any financial aid for cruise lines come with strings attached.

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How the next coronavirus stimulus could be a win-win for cruise lines and the environment

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