Zero Waste Week, which was the first week of September, was an opportunity for consumers, businesses, municipalities, NGOs and nonprofits to brag about the efforts (and successes) on their journey towards creating a circular economy where plastics, in particular, are not used.
In the wake of the global event, Robert Lockyer, CEO and Founder of Delta Global, urges fashion brands and retailers to embrace “purpose rather than profit” where they embrace a waste-free approach and identity. Delta Global is a luxury packaging supplier that “provides tailor-made and sustainable solutions” to brands such as Tom Ford and Estée Lauder.
“With fashion giants such as Christian Dior embracing the waste-free beauty model and Nike announcing that the brand will only use recycled plastics in all of their shoes and clothing by 2024, there is a global determination to address the issue. environmental crisis we’re all in, ”the company said last week. Lockyer cited recent commitments to do just that.
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“While there may be economic business risks to reducing your environmental footprint, a greater threat looms in irreversible climate change and reputational risk,” Lockyer said. “More recently, we’ve seen over 30 top brands commit to a G7 Fashion Pact. By working together to implement the change, other brands will need to be part of the revolution in order to remain relevant to consumers. With just over 10 years to stop the irreparable environmental effect, everyone should now consider the “goal” if they want the world to stay as we know it. “
In this case, Lockyer sees “goal” as a specific approach of “doing” and not just “talking”.
Lockyer cautioned against companies that engage, but don’t really take action. “Many companies are just ‘greening’ their messages and showing no tangible action they have taken to deal with the crisis,” he said. “Businesses should be made to monitor and report on their impact, as well as set realistic goals based on size and revenue in order to secure our future. “
With “zero waste”, one of the easiest fruits to hang is in the packaging. Lockyer cited Christine Dior as an example of a company creating a circular economy by carefully examining packaging. He said Dior had removed “excess inner packaging, replaced instruction leaflets with scannable QR codes and [has] even removed plastic store fittings for more durable glasses.
The development of “circular product streams,” Lockyer said, adding that using compostable materials, “rethinking dyes and inks, creating refillable and reusable items as well as moving waste through the supply chain are all notable trends “.
“We have to make sure that the end of one product’s lifecycle is the start of another and educate the supply chain,” Lockyer added. “Whether it’s salvaging paper clippings in brand name inserts or salvaged paper handles, there are many options manufacturers can think of. If not, can we recycle the clothes into designer handbags and new clothing lines? “
Balancing sustainable practices and zero waste approaches is getting the message across to consumers and end users, but in a sustainable way. “Zero waste shouldn’t mean you have to dilute the brand message or the marketing,” Lockyer told WWD. “The world is digitized and you can therefore promote your values through various communication strategies that do not require any material use. Social media, online press, web media, podcasts, email marketing can all reach a large audience who will want to know about your brand because you present an ethical stance and demonstrate your commitment to environmental change.
Lockyer also said that instead of delivering products online in “a single-use plastic bag or brown box with endless unnecessary packaging material, develop artistically designed boxes, anti-crush systems. and multifunctional uses for your packaging and articles. Make sure that your product is circular in its possibilities of life, that it stays in a person’s house as an interior, that it is sold on second life sites or that it is “versatile” to be reused in a different way. “
Lockyer said behavior change is needed to implement a circular economy. “Breaking away from day-to-day habits, whether it’s handing out a physical receipt at a store, printing an email for a meeting is going to take time, but creating a digitized environment and encouraging employees and consumers to getting involved in greening their daily lives is certainly the future.
Regarding the broader sustainability trends, Lockyer said the fashion industry has already “seen consumers start to embrace the idea of buying fewer but better pieces, with some brands creating entire lines designed to be “versatile”. Think about clothes that can be worn in different ways, like wrap dresses and blouses that can be tailored into skirts.
“It’s not about being counterproductive by not making money; it’s about delivering a different message to your consumers, ”he added.