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Heating Up: Climate Change and the fashion industry. Time for CEOs to step up to the challenge

Kit Willow, Founder KITX and Martin Rice, Acting CEO and Head of Research, The Climate Council

The race is on.

Climate change is trending in all the wrong ways. With levels of emissions going up rather than down, the baton for action is firmly in the hands of industry and the nation’s business leaders to lead the charge of keeping global warming to below 1.5 degree Celsius.

Currently responsible for close to 10 per cent of carbon emissions, the apparel sector is predicted to lay claim to twenty five percent by 2025. Drastic action is required to reverse this trend.

Brands big and small can start today in reducing their footprint and addressing the greatest challenge of our time. From raw material substitutions to energy saving measures, the tools to change are here.

All that’s needed is the will and leadership to take action.

Responsible materials sourcing

Lucy King, Sustainability Manager, Country Road Group & David Jones Limited, and more to be announced

Natural resource depletion is increasing at an alarming rate. With the fashion industry responsible for large tracts of deforestation and high levels of water consumption, brands are looking to alternative material sources to lower their impact.

Enter the circular economy and textile innovation. Reconfiguring fibre supply chains to sustainable and circular solutions is no small commitment though. Hear from some of Australia’s leading brands transitioning from conventional to low impact fibres. Learn how they got started, their challenges, the easy wins and what’s to come.

The spark of change

In conversation with Lizzy Abegg, Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer, SPELL & The Gypsy Collective

One brand’s journey to responsible sourcing.

In 2016, Spell and the Gypsy Collective made the commitment to dig deep into their supply chain, learn further about process and understand more about impact.

This is a unique opportunity to hear from Lizzy Begg, the Co-Founder of Spell and the Gypsy Collective on how a customer query was the spark for change with one of Australia’s most popular brands and the integral role this commitment now plays in the future of their business.

What does brand leadership look like in the current climate of transparency and accountability?

Transparent supply chains & the race to end slavery : The Australian Modern Slavery Act

Mans Carlsson-Sweeny, AUSBIL Investment Management & a member of the Modern Slavery Business Engagement Unit, Department of Home Affairs

Modern Slavery is hitting the headlines and for good reason. Each year, according to Walk Free Foundation, $4 billion worth of garments and accessories tainted by slavery are imported into Australia.

With a clear focus on supply chain transparency being key to the solution, the new Modern Slavery Act will require businesses to articulate their risks and demonstrate their actions.

This is new ground for the Australian fashion industry and means much more than just producing an annual statement. Beyond reporting requirements, what are the types of risks inherent in garment supply chains that brands need to manage? And crucially, what do brands do if they do find it?Traceability 2.0

Traceability 2.0

Sandon Adams, Managing Director, Oritain Australia

Tracing fibres to their country of origin has long been the holy grail of the apparel industry. With the possibility of substitution and blending along the supply chain and the added risk of raw materials being tainted by forced labour, the ability to reliably prove provenance and authenticate claims has been missing.

All along, nature has held the answer and now forensic science is bringing it to the fashion industry. Hear how Oritain is working with brands including The Kering Group (Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent) and Marks & Spencer to verify cotton and wool traceability from the field to the final product.

A game changer for consumer trust and supply chain integrity, its application has endless possibilities.

How does it work and which fibre is next?

Driving positive impact: Developing a best practice ethical sourcing programme

Jaana Quaintance-James, Head of Sustainability & Ethical Sourcing, THE ICONIC

What are the considerations and steps that go into creating a forward thinking responsible sourcing vision?

 The Iconic has just launched an ambitious 2020 strategy establishing minimum standards for their own suppliers and that of their stable of over a thousand third party brands.

Taking a collaborative approach engaging various stakeholders, the programme is designed to take responsibility for delivering positive impact to garment makers whilst reducing it’s shared environmental impact.

Learn about their ambitious goals and how they are driving internal change to get there.

Circularity in action

Clare Press, Podcaster and Sustainability-Editor-At-Large, VOGUE Australia

A profound shift in the way we think about design is taking place in waves across the industry.

What is this opportunity called circular fashion? Why do brands need to know about it and how can businesses of all sizes begin to think with circularity in mind?

An essential tool in any sourcing programme, considering cradle to cradle and circular thinking at the design stage is key to ensuring the usability and longevity of textiles whilst reducing fashion’s impact on natural resources.

New business models shaping the future of fashion

Fanny Moizant, Co-Founder, Vestiaire Collective, Dean Jones, CEO, GlamCorner, Bryce Alton & CEO Nudie Jeans Co Australia

Disruption is all around. No more so than in the model of the fashion business itself.

As the movement for access over ownership gains ground, hear how rental, re-commerce and re-sale are growing fast and claiming market share.

Is this the solution to reducing textile waste and fighting resource scarcity? How can traditional retailers get in on the act.

On-shoring and the revival of Australian made: Beyond the rhetoric

Bianca Spender, Founder, Bianca Spender, Mary Lou Ryan, Co-Founder, Bassike and Andrew Cuccurullo, CEO Waverley Mills

Proximity to market, the ability to backfill at speed, oversight of working conditions and quality control. The pride in being Australian made. There’s good reason demand for local production is on the rise.

But can we meet it? An ageing workforce and outdated equipment are some of the vivid challenges facing Australian designers wanting to produce onshore.

With investment needed to modernise factories and training required to upskill the next generation of makers, who is stepping up to ensure local manufacturing thrives again? Hear from three brands whose roots are in Australian made, keeping homegrown alive.

Sustaining traditional artisan communities through genuine brand partnerships

Caroline Poiner, Founder Artisans of Fashion and Jacqueline Wessels, Production Manager, MIMCO

The artisan sector is the second largest employer in the world, yet with 65% of artisans residing in developing economies, one that is challenged by limited access to global markets.

Partnering with brands is one-way communities can keep age-old techniques and traditions alive whilst preserving culture for future generations.

But what makes for a genuine, sustainable partnership that goes beyond the one off capsule collection? What does it take to have a truly beneficial outcome for the long-term benefit of artisans?

#metoo for garment workers who make our clothes

Dr Anu Mundkur, Head of Gender Equality, CARE Australia

How are we standing in solidarity with the women who make our clothes?

One in three female garment workers in Cambodia experienced sexual harassment in the past year. With 85% of the global garment workforce being female, sexual harassment and gender based violence is an issue that needs recognition and attention.

Hard to detect through audits, how do brands identify this behaviour In their workforce and go about addressing it? How as an industry can we challenge systemic behaviour doing harm to those we seek to empower?

CARE has been working with brands and their suppliers achieving some groundbreaking results. Giving women a voice to be heard, reducing absenteeism levels and proving the business case for a safe and dignified workplace.

Attendees will also learn about CARE’s campaign ‘This is Not Working’ and the STOP initiative and how these can help change the narrative for the women making our clothes.