Environmental concerns, globalization and higher expectations among consumers for ethical business practices are encouraging major apparel and luxury goods companies to sign the U.N. Global Compact, a voluntary accord to promote good corporate practices.
GENEVA — Environmental concerns, globalization and higher expectations among consumers for ethical business practices are encouraging major apparel and luxury goods companies to sign the U.N. Global Compact, a voluntary accord to promote good corporate practices.
As United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon summed up at the end of a two-day summit of Global Compact leaders here earlier this month, "You have made it abundantly clear that market leadership and sustainability go hand in hand"
Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, said commitments made "to engage subsidiaries and supply chains more actively…will provide a major boost for the initiative and for corporate citizenship more broadly"
During the summit, 153 companies, including French luxury goods giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Asian textile and apparel firms Narai Intertrade Co. of Thailand and Sing Lun Holdings of Singapore, and DuPont of the U.S., pledged to increase energy efficiency and to reduce carbon emissions.
A McKinsey & Co. survey of 391 top corporate executives from 230 companies in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East participating in the compact concluded that 95 percent "agreed that society has greater expectations for business to take on public responsibilities than it had five years ago"
The study, "Shaping the New Rules of Competition," said 50 percent of chief executive officers expect consumer influence to have the greatest impact on the way companies manage societal expectations, exceeding demands by employees, governments and activist groups in the next five years. The survey noted some ceo's think the ethical consumer "has clearly emerged and is on the rise," but also said businesses were becoming ethical purchasers.
One example sighted is MAS holdings, a Sri Lanka apparel manufacturer that has attracted ethically minded global clothing brands as a result of its reputation for labor programs such as one that provides its 35,000 female employees with a range of courses, including English.
Paul Hohnen, an international expert and consultant on corporate social responsibility issues, also known as CSR, believes the concept of "responsible competitiveness is taking root — the notion that business can build innovation, market and brand based on response to societal values"Sweden's trade minister, Sten Tolgfors, said CSR was being considered less an extra cost and more a vital part of companies' market-building strategies. He said European consumers took great interest in product price and quality, and in how goods have been produced. He also warned that a growing public interest in labor standards and environmental issues could lead to protectionism.
"One way to avoid this is to encourage CSR," Tolgfors told delegates. "Anyone in favor of free trade and market access for developing countries needs to show an alternative to protectionism, which would prohibit economic development where it is most needed. Consumers are increasingly favoring products that are produced in what they consider to be reasonable environmental and working conditions"
The Global Compact, established by the U.N. in 2000, sets forth 10 principles for businesses to follow on human rights, labor practices, environmental protections and fighting corruption. More than 3,000 corporations, along with labor unions and nongovernmental organizations from 116 countries, have subscribed to the compact and pledged to observe its principles.
Irene Kahn, secretary general of Amnesty International, said the compact "is a very powerful initiative because it's backed by the U.N.," but added, "Where the compact falls short is that it has no compliance mechanism"
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion