Innovator Spotlight: Fashion CEO Agenda

Learn more about members of Global Fashion Agenda’s Innovation Forum paving the way for industry-wide transformation across these five priorities.

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The Fashion CEO Agenda 2023 is a concise report to support the establishment and implementation of leadership strategies to achieve a net positive fashion sector that puts back more into society, the environment, and the global economy than it takes out. 

Developed for executives of fashion brands, retailers, and producers, the Fashion CEO Agenda is a succinct resource to support executives in accelerating tangible action across five socio-environmental sustainability priorities: Respectful and Secure Work Environments, Better Wage Systems, Resource Stewardship, Smart Material Choices, and Circular Systems. 

Featured in Global Fashion Agenda’s Innovation Forum, these companies are paving the way for industry-wide transformation across these five priorities.

Respectful and Secure Work Environments 

Respectful and Secure Work Environments uphold standards for the respect of universal human rights for all people employed along the value chain. Fashion has the potential to drive positive social and economic development for the more than 300 million people employed across the fashion value chain 

These organisations are offering solutions to promote respectful and secure work environments across the textile supply chain: 

OEKO-TEX® offers standardised solutions that companies in the textile and leather industry can use to optimise their manufacturing processes more transparently and sustainably. 21,000 manufacturers, brands and trading companies in more than 100 countries are currently working with OEKO-TEX®. At the same time, millions of consumers around the world use the OEKO-TEX® labels as a guide for their responsible purchasing decisions.  

TrusTrace streamlines the processing of textile supply chain data from digital and offline sources to help brands gather the evidence in one place. Powered by intelligent automation and high-quality data inputs, TrusTrace provides brands with verified product traceability data needed to make confident certified material and compliance claims, and progress towards scienced-based targets and responsible supply chains.  


Better Wage Systems. 

Better Wage Systems present an opportunity for fashion brands and manufacturers to realise a just, fair, and inclusive fashion system, improving the livelihoods of millions of garment workers and, more broadly, aiding equitable global economic development. Current wages in most garment-producing countries are far below what workers need to reach fair compensation and living wage, a universally recognised human right.  

These companies are supporting the industry in providing fair compensation and a living wage: 

Kno Global is an HR solution for factories to reduce labour turnover costs and demonstrate commitments to responsible manufacturing. Kno Global’s approach starts by building community with factory workers. Once workers feel heard, they convert real-time data into actionable targets for factory managers to improve upon. This helps keep workers satisfied and more willing to stay at the factory for longer, so the factory can reduce turnover costs and boost productivity. 

Better Work is a comprehensive programme bringing together all levels of the garment industry to improve working conditions and respect of labour rights for workers and boost the competitiveness of apparel businesses. As well as advising factories, Better Work collaborates with governments to improve labour laws, and with brands to ensure progress is sustained. They also advise unions on how to give workers a greater say in their lives, and work with donors to help achieve their broader development goals. 


Resource Stewardship 

Good Resource Stewardship entails the decoupling of value creation from virgin resource extraction and emission growth through coordinated and multi-stakeholder action. Fashion alone is believed to contribute up to 4% of global CO2 emissions annually and, as such, contributes to climate change, with the Global South exposed to the most direct adverse effects.   

These organisations are paving the way for industry-wide transformation by contributing to improved resource stewardship: 

Algaeing™ is an innovation that converts algae into bio-fiber and eco-friendly dye. Conventional materials like cotton often require substantial harmful chemicals, and pesticide use and harm biodiversity, while textile dyeing can have severe consequences for water usage and pollution. Algaeing™ solves both issues by harnessing the power of algae to enable every textile company to finally become part of the solution, and start creating cleaner, more responsible textile. Detoxifying Textile: that is the Algaeing™ vision.  

Bluesign SYSTEM functions as a textile production solution that eliminates harmful substances from the beginning of the manufacturing process and later sets and controls standards for a more environmentally friendly and safe production. bluesign® SYSTEM connects chemical suppliers, manufacturers, and brands around responsible production, responsible use of resources, and responsible chemistry. This not only ensures that the final textile product meets very stringent consumer safety requirements worldwide, but also allows brands to offer more sustainable textile products to their consumers. 


Smart Material Choices 

Smart Material Choices entail the responsible sourcing of preferred fibre or raw materials that consistently deliver reduced impacts and increased benefits for climate, nature, and people. The industry must proactively address its impact on soil health, biodiversity, and water and drastically reduce its emissions through smart material choices. 

These companies are facilitating an industrywide transition towards more smart material choices: 

Balena is a material science company, developing advanced, compostable, recyclable, and bio-based thermoplastic materials. Through the development of its proprietary material BioCir®, which is a biobased and biodegradable thermoplastic material, Balena created a circular solution for diverse consumer goods industries that can be used as conventional fossil-based plastic without compromising high-performance properties like flexibility and durability and thus opened the biodegradable polymer material to diverse market segments and circular business opportunities. 

MycoWorks’ Fine Mycelium™ is the world’s only proprietary biotechnology harnessing mycelium to grow a made-to-order material at-scale. Reishi™– the technology’s first product– is a luxury leather-alternative offering the performance of the finest animal leathers with lower the environmental impact. Fine Mycelium™ is spearheading a new category of fully customisable materials slated for fashion, footwear, automotive, and the décor industries, exclusive to MycoWorks. 


Circular Systems 

Circular Systems present an opportunity to decouple economic development from the consumption of finite resources and offer dignified, inclusive employment opportunities for workers throughout the fashion value chain. Today, global circularity stands at 7.2%, down from 9.1% in 2018, revealing that 90% of materials are wasted, lost, or untapped for reuse.  

These organisations are creating alternatives for the ‘take, make, waste’ business models often characterised by excessive over-production, underutilisation, and poor disposal: 

Compreli offers a circular business model that transform damaged garments from the production process into shippable products, allowing manufacturers to realise full export value instead of scrap value, whilst reducing the chances of post-industrial textile waste reaching an incinerator or landfill.  Compreli to-date, have repaired 7 million garments, equivalent to conserving 70,000 mt of CO2, 3.6 billion gallons of water, 210,000 MW of electricity, and preventing 70,000 metric tons of waste from being generated.  

TEXAID is an experienced global solution provider for professional collecting, sorting, reselling and recycling of textiles and footwear. As a European market leader with over 40 years of experience and a strong dedication to sustainability, TEXAID processes more than 280M items (80,000 tons) annually. TEXAID’s Retail Solutions unit is designed to address the textile industry’s growing needs for sustainable end-of-use solutions. It provides customized concepts for producers, distributors, brands and retailers to keep pre- and post-consumer textiles and footwear in the circle. 

The companies featured in this article are all members of Global Fashion Agenda’s Innovation Forum. Find out more here 

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