Fashion, apparel and textile companies are under pressure from consumers, activists and their own employees to become more sustainable.
But, how do you become more sustainable?
This site is for professionals to learn more about sustainability in practice. The focus is on the fashion and apparel industry, but the tools and information may be applicable to other industries We invite you to explore our site. We've compiled case studies, developed tools to assess your own and your company's sustainability and provide information and tips for achieving sustainability change.
A matter of definitions
Sustainability differs from corporate social responsibility (CSR) and refers to sustainable development or growth. Sustainable development ensures that the present generation meets its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. “Sustainability” implies having an orientation on the future not just the present. Sustainability is often talked about in the context of stakeholders rather than just shareholders. More groups of people benefit from sustainability than just shareholders of companies.
Change is never easy
Adopting new sustainable practices or changing old ones requires determination and leadership. Generally speaking, we don’t like to change. People resist change because it brings a lot of uncertainty … and we like certainty. Nevertheless, our environment changes and along with that we, as individuals or as firms, have to adapt. Find out if you are the sustainability hero that your firm needs to catalyze change. Or find out where your company is along sustainability adoption path.
Triple Bottom Line
The triple bottom line refers to three main areas of sustainability: social, ecological and economic, also referred to as the 3Ps of people, planet and profit, or the three pillars of sustainability. Ideally, each pillar is in balance with the others. This often requires trade offs in decision making. Balancing the TBL is becoming more and more important in business decision making.
Check out our case studies
We have talked to many sustainanble entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in the fashion and apparel industry. They have inspiring stories about how they are changing the rules of the game: the struggles and trade offs that they make. All of our case studies depict real case studies but the data are anonymized and aggregated.
Creating sustainable change
Changing practices, or routines, or habits, is not easy. Your path to sustainable change is unique and it's meant to be wandered.
Several students from the Amsterdam Business School, University of Amsterdam,
studied why and how fashion firms (large and small) adopted sustainable practices.
We created an sustainability adoption matrix from their work.
Find out where your company is positioned or plotted on the matrix by filling in the
Plot your Path survey.
Create an account to save your plot and create new ones in the future. That way you can compare your company's plots over time and you'll also receive useful tips about your sustainability adoption path.
Best practices for collaborating with competitors to improve sustainability impact
An analysis of how small firms collaborate together to improve social conditions of garment factories
Join the conversation
We'd love to keep you up to date on our current research and conversations about sustainability. Join our mailing list to stay in touch.
The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Research Platform (SERP) is a research group from the International Business School (IBS) and the Centre of Applied Research of Economics and Management (CAREM) at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS).
Since 2011, we have talked to all types of fashion and apparel brands in the Netherlands and abroad and realized that when it comes to sustainability, firms are ‘caught between a rock and hard place’. Many, if not all, of them are uncertain about their suppliers’ sustainable practices and feel powerless. Many of them still are determined to resolve pressing sustainability issues, like a living wage for workers, fair employment practices and reducing water and toxic chemical use.
That triggered us to find out how firms become 'sustainable' and why some are more ‘sustainable’ than others. We call the project Sustainable Entrepreneurship because we see the people that champion sustainability inside and outside of their companies as entrepreneurial heroes.
Is this site for you?
This site is intended for anyone who is involved in the designing and making of apparel, shoes, accessories and textiles. We aim to help professionals, the decision makers in companies and that might be small ones like individual designers or bigger ones with more coordination between managers.
This site is not intended to inform consumers about their sustainability purchasing behavior or about the sustainability of consumer products. Simply because we provide information and ask questions about production not consumption. The information on this web site is compiled and reworked from the aggregate data collection and analysis of many researchers. Without them, this information and web site would not be possible. We acknowledge their hard work and commitment to the project and are very grateful for their contributions.