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"
My character, Dinah Madani, is just the coolest, [most] badass woman imaginable," says @amberroserevah. The actress stars in @marvel's newest series on @netflix, @thepunisher. To prepare for her role, Revah sat down with Homeland agents to get a real sense of with Dinah's day-to-day life is really like. Read our full interview on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
A scene from the 91st annual @macys Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade, which boasts 50 million TV viewers and 3.5 million on-site spectators, is considered one of the largest and most watched parades in the world. (📷: Jason Szenes/EPA-REX)
The circus came to @bloomingdales 59th Street on Tuesday night and lit up Lexington Avenue with acrobatic dancers, death-defying knife throwing, sword swallowing and aerial acts with no net. The 45 minutes of theatrics built up to unveiling the holiday windows depicting @swarovski crystal-encrusted circus pieces and scenes from “The Greatest Showman” – songs from the soundtrack included. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Joshua Scott)
The psychedelic fashion that pervaded the ’60s is back with an exhibit at the @museumofcityny. “Mode New York: Fashion Takes a Trip” chronicles the changing styles from 1960 through 1973 and features designers such as @ysl, @oscardelarenta and more. The exhibition, which is on display through April 1, is organized into four periods: First Lady Fasion, Youthquake, New Bohemia and New Nonchalance. Pictured here is model Pat Bardonella during the Garvey Day Parade in 1968. (📷: @kwamebphoto) #wwdeye #wwdfashion
“People should be a lot more honest in expressing both the dark and light of themselves. We need to give each other the space to do that because it’s the only way we can grow and evolve,” says @noelwells of her new film “Mr. Roosevelt,” which is largely based on her own struggles. Unexpectedly leaving @nbcsnl in 2014 after just one season, Wells felt set back in her self-esteem and career trajectory. She quickly refocused her energy to more personal projects, which led to the completion of “Mr. Roosevelt.” Read the rest of WWD’s interview with the “Master of None” actress on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
@barbrastreisand is giving fans a chance to see her perform up close in a new concert series, which makes its debut on @Netflix today. From behind-the-scenes takes to her concert performance in Miami last December, the two-hour streaming special captures Streisand in her element. Pictured here is the singer/actress photographed for WWD in 1963. (📷: Palmieri Tony) #wwdeye #wwdarchive
@chanel and @pharrell dropped what’s being dubbed as the world’s most exclusive sneakers yesterday. The Adidas Originals NMD Hu, which Williams designed in collaboration with Chanel and @adidasoriginals, has a waiting list of over 120K people who pre-registered online at chanelatcolette.fr –– and only 500 pairs are on sale. The singer predicted the resale value of the shoes could reach $40K. Read the full interview on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Dominique Maître)
@imanshumpert is diving deeper into his creative endeavors and relaunching his clothing line, Post 90s, and is helping to raise money for the hurricane victims in St. Maarten with a jersey he’s designed with his brother. The Cleveland Cavaliers player talked to WWD about kneeling during the national anthem, working with fashion brands and how he wants to be more than an @nba player. Read the interview on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)