Have you identified some of your biggest eco-culprits and are ready to take action? But does turning green words to action seem like a giant mountain ahead?
Here are 7 quick steps to guide you in greening your fashion business.
1. Set Up a Green Company Culture
As Gandhi said, change comes from within. This is true in business as well as anywhere else. That’s why the first thing is getting your crew to embody the green spirit and strive for eco-solutions. From top management, to the design team, to purchasing, to development. Everyone has to get onboard.
Having sustainability as a core value of the company gives everyone a common mission and cultivates a feeling of being part of a team. This will help make your current action plan and future ones successful.
Photo by Dương Trần Quốc on Unsplash
2. Map Your Suppliers
To implement changes in your supply chain, you need to know your supply chain.
To start, get in touch with your primary suppliers. Let them know and get them on board with your need to discover and green-up your supply chain. It’s a win-win situation for both parties involved, so make sure your suppliers see the benefits. For example, coffee company illy provides coffee grower with training programs and an additional margin for excellent quality.
Once on board, ask your primaries to identify their suppliers. Continue this process until you reach the bottom of the chain. (Let’s hope it’s not too long). As always, balance effort with reward.
3. Establish Reachable Goals
Working with your suppliers will help you to see the biggest impacts throughout the supply chain. Some maybe that you didn’t even know were there or significant.
It’s important to find what the biggest roadblocks are and tackle those first (remember the greenwashing problem?). Establish a few significant, reachable goals and action plans that work for you and your supplier.
4. Get the Data
Implementing green solutions will (probably) not come overnight. That’s why it’s important to set up benchmarks and track your processes with metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
Working together with your suppliers on creating and applying these KPIs will not only track solutions, it will also build trust throughout your network. Just don’t forget to regularly monitor your progress and adjust your KPIs when needed.
5. Build Supplier Relationships and Knowledge
Long-term relationships with suppliers is key to a green supply chain. Holding regular meetings, trainings and/or workshops with suppliers will build their knowledge on the win-wins of green business, enhance their motivation on the matter, and help them find solutions to local regulations.
As McKinsey & Company explained, companies which collaborated with their suppliers saw a double earnings growth rate compared to their peers.
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6. Broaden Your Horizons
Apart from just collaborating with suppliers, it helps to build friendships with… your competitors! While competitors share customers, they also share the same difficulties and missions. It helps to have fellow friends to share knowledge on green solutions and save resources on mutual innovations. Plus, shared technology, knowledge, or suppliers can also lead to shared training responsibilities and factory check-ups.
7. Show Your Progress
Lastly, it’s always a must to share your developments with your customers (preferably in easy-to-understand graphics). Greening is a process, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate each step of the way.
And a little gift for reading this far, our free ebook on authentic marketing, so you can show your customers your green practices.
Environmental Justice Foundation. Somebody Knows Where Your Coon Comes From: Unravelling the Supply Chain. Environmental Justice Foundation, 2009, pp. 1–13, Somebody Knows Where Your Coon Comes From: Unravelling the Supply Chain.
New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development. Business Guide to a Sustainable Supply Chain. 2003, pp. 1–44, Business Guide to a Sustainable Supply Chain.
Oelze, Nelly. “Sustainable supply chain management implementation–Enablers and barriers in the textile industry.” Sustainability 9.8 (2017): 1435.