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Retail bosses call for more sustainability regulation

Three-quarters of leading fashion, retail and luxury executives surveyed for executive search firm Odgers Berndtson’s leadership poll said that real sustainability change would only be achieved with greater regulation.

Meanwhile, four out of ten said commercial pressures, including sales growth and competitive pricing, are the biggest obstacle to building a sustainable business.

Although 70% said a more sustainable approach was “mission critical”, only 32% cited their main motivation as company ethos. Almost 40% of those surveyed said the change to a sustainable business model a result of consumer expectations. 

“Senior executives don’t need convincing about the importance of embracing sustainability, but it is difficult and counter-intuitive to implement initiatives which negatively impact profit, even in the short term,” said Catherine Broome, head of fashion and luxury at Odgers Berndtson.  

Executives were divided over the causes of their company’s shortcomings in implementing sustainability: 20% cited lack of leadership, while 29% blamed the lack of continuity across the objectives of every department. 

“Companies don’t routinely include sustainability as a measure of success for all senior executives, instead relying on a few named individuals and departments,” Broome added. “In many cases, this results in confusion over who is really accountable, puts individual performance indicators at odds with company sustainability initiatives, and ultimately slows overall progress.”  



Join the world’s leaders in sustainability at Drapers Sustainable Fashion 2020 in London on 11 March 2020.

The event is for fashion brands and retailers, clothes manufacturers, supply chain experts, innovators and anybody for whom sustainability matters.

We are creating a programme of hard-hitting talks, projects showcasing sustainability in action, and start-up innovation that is pushing the boundaries of the possible.

Book your place now


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