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Sustainable must also be commercial

The industry has a responsibility to make sustainability commercial, says Jack Ostrowski, managing director of sustainable solutions consultancy Yellow Octopus.

Jack ostrowski

Jack ostrowski

Speaking at the Drapers Sustainable Fashion event today, Ostrowski said: “Commercial sustainability is what we’re after, because we don’t want this hype around sustainability to go. We have a responsibility to make sure we can create something bigger out of what is happening now. 

“We really have to think about the dollar sign, because we can talk and talk about it, and nothing will change.”

Here are Ostrowski’s four tips for capitalising on the green market: 

Focus on the right consumer

“We focus on 16-to-30-year-olds for one particular reason – they will get old. Young girls who are buying fast fashion now will grow into mothers. If we find ways and means to teach them how to recycle garments, in the future they will do so for themselves and their families.”

Done is better than perfect

“There is no point us meeting again in a year’s time, unless it’s to talk about the results we’ve achieved. Done is better than perfect.

“The trap and danger is that we are asking questions and looking for answers but, when we can’t find answers for the whole questions, we give up answering even by 20%. Instead, let’s take baby steps and do small things because, often, answers come as you’re answering questions.

Look to the tech guys

“We should copy from the tech companies because they are driving innovation. They allow employees 20% of their worktime to come up with ideas, experiment and implement, and that’s how to make change within an organisation.”

Communicate your take-back schemes to customers

“How are we going to change the behaviour of consumers if the retailer is not telling them about it and selling them the benefits of their re-use and recycle initiatives? For online retailers, you can put messages in the box or package, and for bricks and mortar, it can on the receipt or bag. There are so many ways we can communicate it in a practical way to enable us to change things from day one.”




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