We've spent the past ten years tracing the way for sustainable growth of the fashion supply chain, namely capable of integrating its three key dimensions: people, profit, planet. We've defined methods, designed tools and established partnerships to affect change and affirm sustainability as a strategic business factor.
Over the next ten years, we should work on performance by firstly increasing average performance standards and making sustainability reporting a widespread practice. Most importantly, we'll have to demonstrate that the results achieved are real, by investing in credible, reliable and shared measurement systems. Only then will it be possible to give continuity and consistency to a commitment that needs, in the current historical phase, a clear change of pace, protecting the consumer from false claims.
Sustainable development, to mention the well known UN Brundtland Report, is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It is development able to combine profit with respect for the planet and the individual, and it finds its ideal synthesis in the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Those who adhere to sustainable development principles should start a journey that requires vision, method, ability to involve their suppliers and pursue transparency, as well as to test themselves by interpreting the sustainability challenge as an input to product and process innovation.
If the commitment is real, supported by performance subjected to reliable measurement systems, the reward for those who put it into practice is great: in terms of reputation, quality of relations with stakeholders, and competitive advantage. All this is decreed by consumers and the market, which prefer genuinely sustainable companies - of all sizes and sectors - at the expense of laggards and those who limit themselves to mere declarations of intent.
The fashion & luxury industry is more interested in the phenomenon than others, due to pollution damages resulting from the massive use of water and energy resources and harmful chemicals. Compared to 15 years ago, we also know that the average consumer buys 60% more garments keeping them for about half time. In the future, the clothing and footwear consumption will increase from the current 62 million tons to 102 million in 2030, bringing to +50% water consumption and to +60% the carbon dioxide emissions and waste production.
To continue on this path would be a self-defeating choice, at least, with a direct impact on business profits. To change one's behavior, on the contrary, would bring 160 billion euros to companies: Global Fashion Agenda tells us that keeping water consumption constant worths 32 billion; reducing waste production worths 4 billion and controlling CO2 emissions 67 billion.
Heavy numbers ... But numbers can also become a powerful ally, capable of bringing out the merit and distinguishing those who take the commitment seriously from greenwashing professionals. The condition, of course, is that data and information are truthful, collected, processed, monitored and communicated with regularity and transparency.
This is the challenge that fashion shall face now. If the last ten years have served to outline the direction, developing methods and solutions for change, we should dedicate the next ten years to improve and measure performance through reliable and shared systems.
The Sustainability Report is the document in which the so-called KPIs - Key Performance Indicators naturally converge (or should do it). If realized with method, the Report is a powerful tool for communicating with customers and defining and implementing sustainable development actions. Therefore, it is not a point of arrival, but a recurring appointment for every company that, wanting to grow by integrating ethics and business, recognizes the need to measure and re-measure itself in maximum transparency.
Built by Process Factory on these principles, the 4sustainability Reporting Protocol is characterized by a strong methodological approach, the involvement of all company functions and the process centrality. It is a rigorous action plan referred to SDGs and the UN Global Compact in both inspiration and objectives, aligned with the GRI - Global Reporting Initiative standard, structured on data collection for KPIs and today supported by an IT platform for their collection and traceability. It is a process designed and implemented to raise the Sustainability Report from a mere institutional communication tool to a guide for value generation.
Process Factory looked for a partner capable of technologically supporting its 4sustainability Reporting Protocol and has found Fabrica Lab, a company specialized in designing Business Intelligence and Big Data solutions, Data Integration Tools, Product Lifecycle Management, Corporate Performance Management and Identity and Access Management.
Joining human resources and skills has produced a new collaborative and multichannel web software that innovates in terms of both concept and technology an often still manual process. The ultimate goal of the platform, which will be presented shortly with special reference to the fashion & luxury sector, is to optimize reporting activities, simplifying data compilation and making this process more accurate and rapid, and more solid the complex of information.
That's what companies need, ultimately: effective and smart tools, easy to be used use and capable of concretely supporting the improvement of sustainability performance.
Process Factory Process Factory is an Italian company specialized in supporting business model transformation into sustainable business model, focusing on processes, people and tools for continuous performance improvement.
Established in 2008, Process Factory supports Global Compact, is a member of Textile Exchange and a contributor of ZDHC, as well as the first accredited training provider in Italy for chemical management. It regularly collaborates with international initiatives such as GRI and SAC (Higg Index).
4sustainability® is the Process Factory brand assigned to fashion & luxury companies joining the roadmap for sustainability. The release and maintenance of the brand are subject to the implementation of a recognized activity protocol, as well as to compliance with strict requirements on which constant monitoring is performed.
Today, over 130 organizations including international brands and supply chain companies operating in the main Italian fashion districts rely on Process Factory and 4sustainability® to implement concrete actions for sustainable development.
Sustainability expert with specialization in management systems for the reduction of chemical risk. With a solid background in the field of organizational engineering and business process management, Francesca Rulli is a founding partner and general manager of the consultancy company called Process Factory. In 2013, he created 4sustainability, the first Italian line of services dedicated to the sustainable development of businesses. Francesca Rulli is an accredited consultant and trainer of ZDHC - Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals, the most important international association of brands and companies in the fashion supply chain committed to reducing chemicals in production processes.