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THREE KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR GLOBAL LEGISLATION WEBINAR

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE: MEET SAMANTHA CHAPMAN, GLOBAL HEAD OF MARKETING & SUSTAINABILITY AT STEPHEN WEBSTER

As part of our ongoing commitment to sharing positive brand stories and actions from our community, Making a Difference highlights the often unsung individuals across the luxury industry making a positive impact. It is our hope that this series will be an inspiration to people working in sustainability and show professionals – particularly at the start of their career journey – the many routes there are to making a difference.

This month the spotlight is on Stephen Webster’s Global Head of Marketing & Sustainability, Samantha Chapman.

Sustainability is part of my day-to-day role, leading our goals and future steps. I am so proud of what our team has already accomplished and look forward to progressing forward in our sustainable journey

What qualifications do you have? Did they play a role in getting you where you are today?

I studied Fashion Promotion at the UCA (University for the Creative Arts) graduating with a BA (Hons). Ironically at Rochester, the same University campus as Stephen Webster. I was fortunate that my course was a huge advocate for gaining work experience in our chosen industry. I subsequently started my first placement just two weeks after joining my course. From then, I completed two further long-term placements alongside my degree, which absolutely supported me in gaining my first marketing position and future roles.

Have you always worked in sustainability? If not, what did you do before?

My prior roles have focused on marketing and communications. Since joining the Stephen Webster team four years ago, I have been privileged to work for a brand who really cares about our communities and planet, with sustainability deeply embedded within the brand DNA and company culture. It is here I have gained considerable knowledge in sustainable practices and ethical sourcing, from Stephen directly, our incredible team, and working alongside the Positive Luxury team.

How did you end up in your current role?

Just over one year ago after returning from maternity leave, we formed an independent in-house ‘Green Team’ at Stephen Webster comprising of 10 members across various departments within the business. Each member was assigned a role and set specific goals designed to enable the brand to proactively move forward in our sustainable mission, supporting both people and planet.

Known within the business for my organisation skills and passion for sustainability, I was elected as Chair of the ‘Green Team’, responsible for setting our sustainable goals, ensure these stayed on track, and providing support to the team through research and training to allow us to achieve our targets. Since then, sustainability is part of my day-to-day role, leading our goals and future steps. I am so proud of what our team has already accomplished and look forward to progressing forward in our sustainable journey.

What made you fall in love with sustainability?

I love that I work alongside a team who isn’t afraid to challenge practices and strive to always do better, and knowing that the actions we implement can support for a more sustainable future for our generations to come and our environment. Additionally, seeing first-hand how we have avoided or reduced our impacts as a business, how we have supported our communities (both internal and external), and how we are providing the tools to equip our staff and suppliers to make better choices; it provides great job satisfaction.

What does your day-to-day look like?

No two days at Stephen Webster are the same, it’s one of the aspects I love about my role. Due to being a small team and executing large volumes of work, we work very closely together to achieve a collective goal and vision for the brand. A typical day could be anything from overseeing a shoot, preparing for upcoming events and launches, internal meetings to discuss brand strategy, budget management, or working on our current certification assessments. It’s a busy role, that requires a lot of planning and organisation, but it keeps things interesting.

What challenges have you faced?

There have been various challenges along the way. No one said it would be easy, however, when a goal has been achieved it makes it that much more rewarding.

I have been required to expand my knowledge, and to do so quickly. Luckily there is so much information available, along with Positive Luxury’s incredibly informative webinars, that have helped to bring me more up to speed. The challenge I face is things are constantly evolving with new and exciting innovations, it’s a case of dedicating time to continuously learn and further improve practices.

What are you most proud of?

Releasing our first sustainability report is something I’m very proud of. The report really showcases our progress as a company and the incredible work our team has accomplished to date. We’re excited to share this journey with our stakeholders and hopefully inspire others on what can be achieved.

What advice would you have for anyone looking to contribute to their company’s sustainability goals?

Sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint, you don’t want to fall short by setting targets you are not able to accomplish in the short term

Be realistic on what you can achieve. Sustainability is a marathon, not a sprint, you don’t want to fall short by setting targets you are not able to accomplish in the short term. Speak up if you have an idea, no matter how ‘out there’ it may seem. An idea to install beehives on our building roof are now in place as a result. Know that approaching sustainability can be overwhelming at first, but if you approach as ‘bite-sized’ projects, it will all come together in the end. Lastly, always remember no matter how small, each project or new practice you put into place makes a positive impact for people, our ecosystems, and planet.

What’s next for you?

We are currently working towards our re-certification for Positive Luxury, and accreditation for Responsible Jewellery Council’s Code of Practices. This is a new area for me, but I like a challenge and know that working as a team we can achieve anything we put our minds too. I have been lucky to have the support of Stephen and our Managing Director, Kate Jarvis, and the guidance and advice of Diana Verde Nieto and Nina Timms from the Positive Luxury team, throughout my journey so far. I hope in the future to be able to share the knowledge acquired, to support smaller businesses on how to approach sustainability and positive practices.

 

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WEBINARS, GOAL SETTING AND ZINES: HOW CERTIFIED BRANDS KEEP TEAM MEMBERS ENGAGED WITH SUSTAINABILITY

At Positive Luxury we believe that your sustainability journey should be driven at every level of your business, engaging teams, partners and stakeholders. We recently asked our Butterfly Mark-certified community about the challenges of engaging team members in their sustainability strategy, and to share what they have found to be most effective.

From webinars and e-zines to setting clear goals and collaborating with suppliers, Butterfly Mark certified businesses offer inspirational ideas, leadership and insight into how your business can best engage teams.

At The Macallan we place a great deal of emphasis on engaging our teams in our sustainability strategy.  Our first step was to host a series of global internal webinars to introduce our strategy to our team members. We did this back in October 2019. This was followed quickly by the launch of a dedicated Sustainability Learning Module hosted on The Macallan Academy – our digital educational platform. On an ongoing basis we also engage our people through regular status reports, presentations and a quarterly informational e-zine titled Sustainability News. Sustainability News is a 30 page interactive, multi-media ‘publication’ which curates news and initiatives from luxury peer brands and brands innovating in areas of particular relevance to our own strategy, plans and targets. It’s intended to stimulate, inspire and motivate our people and it keeps us all informed of the fast-paced innovations happening around us. We are definitely on our way towards embedding a natural sustainability mindset in our people and our subsequent decision making processes through these forms of engagement with the objective that, over time, it becomes a ‘lived’ way of thinking that comes as second nature to us all.

Elizabeth McMillan, Head of Sustainability, The Macallan 

At Santicler, we are a very small, passionate team of professionals that want to change the apparel industry practices for the better. We always focus on implementable goals and small incremental improvements. This approach makes the progress measurable and keeps everyone engaged and focussed on the long term goal of becoming a circular company.

Monica Magdas Miller, CEO,  Santicler

As a start-up, it is crucial that every employee cares about the brand’s mission. We have been recruiting individuals who believe in sustainability and understand the social and environmental issues that we are committed to tackling as a business.

Alessandro Vergano, Founder and CEO of KAMPOS

As a small team it is really important that everyone is completely brought into our sustainability values from the off. The most effective way to do this is via weekly calls when marketing speaks to our operations team. We then share the realities of supply chain/supplier efforts against what we aim to achieve from a brand. Often our desires for a brand do not meet our standards, so regular and collaborative calls with our suppliers is key.

    Susie Willis, Founder and CEO of Romilly Wilde

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SUMMER READS WEEK FOUR: INNOVATION WITH THE POSITIVE LUXURY TEAM

This summer, we have been putting the spotlight on the books that have shaped the thinking of the Positive Luxury community and can inspire you and your business. To wrap up our month of Summer Reads we turn to the Positive Luxury team plus friend of Positive Luxury Martin Townsend, Global Head of Sustainability and Circular Economy from the BSI, to reveal their recommendations on books that can inspire innovation.

Exponential: How to Bridge the Gap Between Technology and Society – Azeem Azhar

Azeem Azhar is an entrepreneur, investor and author who founded the Exponential View newsletter in 2015 to make sense of the gap between fast-evolving technologies and slow-moving social institutions and norms. He is listened to by leading investors, entrepreneurs and policy-makers around the globe. We can’t wait to read his view on how we can (or must) grab the reigns to harness technology in order to address our most pressing problems – and build a more sustainable, inclusive, equitable world. As a leading thinker, he always offers unexpected and innovative views that in turn inspire and provide a spark for new ways of thinking and action.

Anthro-Vision: How Anthropology Can Explain Business and Life – Gillian Tett

Gillian Tett is a bestselling author, Financial Times journalist, and anthropology PhD who is part of a new generation of anthropologists that are re-examining our culture through new lenses, using this to provide new perspectives on our behaviour. Anthro-Vision gives us an insight into how we can all use the tenets of anthropology to gain a far deeper understanding of cultural shifts, consumer behaviour, and the new appetite for green investment. Anybody looking to build an innovative and sustainable business can only benefit from the deep understanding of why people behave the way they do that this book imparts.

Pirates In The Navy: How Innovators Lead Transformation – Tendayi Viki

The title of this book comes from an iconic Steve Jobs quote ‘it’s more fun to be a pirate than to join the navy’. Most of us do not get to build our own business and instead have to ‘settle’ for being a pirate in the navy – an innovator in an established business. But that is easier said than done. Large businesses move slowly and being a maverick is just as likely to make you an outcast as it is to make you a success. In this book corporate innovation expert Tendayi Viki provides a step-by-step guide to achieving continuous innovation – essential for any member of a corporate sustainability team.

A World Without Work – Daniel Susskind

Innovation is often the art of understanding what is going to happen before it does. In this book, Daniel Susskind outlines one of the biggest cultural changes we could be headed for, one with the potential to change everything we understand about capitalism – and one that every innovator needs to prepare for. The change is the coming displacement of human work by machines, potentially stripping many of our lives of meaning and purpose. How will we fill that hole in people’s lives? What will this mean for technology and government? And how can we get ahead of this change?

ZEDlife: How to build a low-carbon society today – Bill Dunster 

In a world where we are constantly overwhelmed by negative climate news, a book like ZEDlife: How to build a low-carbon society today by Bill Dunster that imagines a low-carbon society that we could achieve today is a real breath of fresh air. British Architect Dunster focuses on how we already have the technology available to build a net-zero world on both a small and a large scale – from shelters to entire cities. Although the focus of the book is architectural, the innovation on show and the thoughtful approach to how it can be applied should inspire people in any industry.

Find all our inspiration Summer Read recommendations here:

Summer Reads Week 1

Summer Reads Week 2

Summer Reads Week 3

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SUMMER READS WEEK THREE: BUILDING A BUSINESS WITH AYOTUNDE RUFAI & JENDAYA

August at Positive Luxury is about big ideas. During the scramble of the last 18 months, it has been almost impossible to come up for air and think about strategy and the long term. But now, with some semblance of normality slowly returning, we are putting the spotlight on the books that have shaped the thinking of the Positive Luxury community and can inspire you and your business.

To continue our month of Summer Reads, we turn to Ayotunde Rufai and the Jendaya leadership team for their recommendations on how to build a business. With their e-commerce site set to go live next month, the team has been hard at work building solid foundations for an innovative organisation and this is the research they found the most useful:

What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence,  Stephen A. Schwarzman 

If anybody knows how to create a successful institution, it’s the Blackstone chairman, CEO and cofounder Stephen A. Schwarzman. Of particular interest is his focus on culture, and how he hired great talent and established processes that allowed Blackstone to become the world’s premier financial institution. Schwarzman’s simple mantra ‘don’t lose money’ is typical of his relentless pursuit of excellence and this book gives any aspiring entrepreneur a new and systemic way to think about achieving the same thing.  

No Rules – Netflix and The Culture of Reinvention,  Erin Meyer and Reed Hastings 

As this book explains, the Netflix company culture is not what you would expect of a hugely successful multinational corporation. With rules like ‘hard work is irrelevant’, ‘be radically honest’, ‘adequate performance gets a generous severance’, and ‘never, ever try to please your boss’, they have completely reinvented the way we can think about building a business.  

The Lean Startup, Eric Ries 

This book is a classic of the genre for a reason. In this book American entrepreneur Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty – and that applies whether they have 5 employees or 500. In the book Ries unpacks ideas like ‘validated learning’, scientific experimentation, and accurate measurements in order to help businesses be truly agile and innovative.  

Shoe Dog, Phil Knight 

Nike Founder and CEO Phil Knight is a true visionary and this book is the first real insight into his personal history, his philosophy, and his unconventional approach to business. In Shoe Dog he takes you on the journey from selling shoes out of the back of his car to $30 billion in annual sales, introducing you to the ragtag misfits that were his first partners and employees, and the unconventional route that he took whilst building his business. Even if Nike is not your favourite brand, it is almost impossible not to be inspired by the man’s story and find an understanding of how there is no one right way to build a business.  

Am I Being Too Subtle, Sam Zell 

Sam Zell has a preternatural understanding of how to be successful in business. He is a born disruptor and entrepreneur, and his years of extensive experience prove to be invaluable for anyone looking to build a business today that is truly innovative. A self-made billionaire, Zell is the kind of unconventional thinker that can guide us through our cultural current moment and show a route to sustainable success.  

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SUMMER READS WEEK TWO: KNOWLEDGE LEVEL UP WITH DIANA VERDE NIETO

To continue our month of Summer Reads we turn to our Co-Founder and CEO Diana Verde Nieto, who shared her insights with us this week on the theme of ‘Knowledge Level Up’. These  recommendations of inspiring books cover different aspects of ESG+, and will help equip entrepreneurs, innovators, and thinkers with the inspiration they need to take their thinking to the next level.

Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben 

In Hidden Life of Trees German forester Peter Wohlleben opens our mind to an entirely new way of looking at the forest, making the case that it is a natural social network. Asking questions like ‘how to trees live?’, ‘are trees social beings?’, and ‘Do they feel pain or have awareness of their surroundings?’, Wohlleben provides an astonishing new perspective.  

He draws on ground-breaking scientific discoveries to describe how trees are like human families: tree parents live together with their children, communicate with them, support them as they grow, share nutrients with those who are sick or struggling, and even warn each other of impending dangers.  

The Lost Art of Connecting, Susan McPherson 

At the heart of this extraordinary re-examination of how to communicate in the social media era are three simple steps: 

  1. Gather: Don’t wait for networking opportunities, instead create them yourself. Susan McPherson recommends that professionals think outside the box and host dinner parties, join local meet-up groups, or volunteer in their neighbourhood. These will generate genuine connections that can shape your life or career. 
  1. Ask: Asking for help or asking to help is far more powerful that pitching. People are tired of rehearsed elevator pitches but helping opens the door to shared resources, experience, contacts, and perspectives. 
  1. Do: This feels like common sense but turn new connections into meaningful relationships is a matter of following through on the promises you make and keeping in touch. 

If we could all learn to live by these rules, networking could become a human and enriching part of our lives, instead of something we all dread.  

Green Swans: The Coming Boom in Regenerative Capitalism, John Elkington 

Friend of Positive Luxury and the ‘Godfather of Sustainability’ John Elkington has done it again with this stunning look into the future of capitalism. Where Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s ‘Black Swans’ examines the problems that are taking us exponentially toward breakdown, Green Swans finds solutions that take us exponentially towards a new, kinder way of living in harmony with nature.  

His approach to thinking about the future of business and capitalism aligns with Positive Luxury’s and shows us ways to survive the coming shift in global priorities and expand our horizons from responsibility, through resilience, and onto regeneration. 

Friend of Positive Luxury and the ‘Godfather of Sustainability’ John Elkington has done it again with this stunning look into the future of capitalism.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Search for a Perfect Meal in a Fast Food World, Michael Pollan 

Michael Pollan is a leading light when it comes to thinking about what we eat and – most importantly – whether we should be eating it. He has spent the past twenty years writing about the places where the human and natural worlds intersect: food, agriculture, gardens, drugs, and architecture.  

In The Omnivore’s Dilemma he takes a very complete and thoughtful look at a very simple question: ‘what shall we have for dinner?’. Anyone with an interest in living sustainably has agonised over this. Organic? Local or imported? Wild fish or farmed? Pollan follows his next meal from land to table, tracing the origin of everything consumed and the implications for ourselves and our planet. A truly enlightening look into what we eat.  

Ageless: The New Science of Getting Old Without Getting Old, Andrew Steel 

In Ageless computational biologist Andrew Steele examines the science behind biology’s biggest question: why do we get old and how can we stop it? 

Ageing is the world’s leading cause of death – one that we accept as inevitable in a way that we don’t with something like cancer. Ageing is so deeply ingrained in human experience that we never think to ask whether it is even necessary. Biologists, however, are not quite so complacent. Ageless  introduces us to cutting-edge research that is paving the way for a revolution in medicine and reveals how understanding the scientific implications of ageing could lead to the greatest discovery in the history of medicine – one that has the potential to improve billions of lives. 

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SUMMER READS WEEK ONE: FICTION WITH AMY NELSON-BENNETT

August at Positive Luxury is about big ideas. During the scramble of the last 18 months, it has been almost impossible to come up for air and think about strategy and the long term. But now, with some semblance of normality slowly returning, we are putting the spotlight on the books that have shaped the thinking of the Positive Luxury community and can inspire you and your business.

Positive Luxury’s Summer Reads series is a chance to recharge your batteries, take inspiration and help you think differently about leadership, sustainability and innovation. To start this month of Summer Reads, we turn to our Managing Director Amy Nelson-Bennett.  

I cannot remember a time when I did not love a great novel. The absorbing nature of a well-told story helped me while away the long empty hours of childhood summers; pursuing a degree in literature made the rigors of academia not just bearable, but enjoyable; and in more recent years the escapist nature of fiction has enabled me to ‘turn off’ at the end of a demanding day at work and provided a coping strategy for insomnia. Writing this, I ask myself what five decades of reading has given me other than a high volume of crowded bookshelves and an iPad with little memory left? Alongside travel, reading has provided the best way for me to continue to learn about the diverse world around me. Non-fiction provides a solid, fact-led understanding of history and the present and can be an unbeatable source of coaching and advice. But to get beneath the skin of a place, a culture, a community, or a person’s experience alien to my own, only travel rivals the richness of understanding and empathy a wonderful novel can build. I’m interested in the facts, but I relate to the emotions. And so I’m sharing three novels I would recommend you immerse yourself in this summer. They are all based in reality and on facts, but are bursting with vivid characters and their emotions. In different ways, each changed me. 

I’m interested in the facts, but I relate to the emotions. And so I’m sharing three novels I would recommend you immerse yourself in this summer. 

Positive Luxury Summer Reads

The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison

I read Toni Morrison’s first novel, The Bluest Eye, for the first time in 1990 as college coursework. My copy from the university bookstore is compact, so a bit worse-for-wear from being thrown into the suitcase for holiday reading before the advent of digital. Black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove is growing up in small-town Ohio in 1941, praying for blue eyes, for the perceived beauty and the privilege of the children of white America. But ‘this soil is bad for certain kinds of flowers’. The marigolds in the Breedlove’s garden don’t bloom that year. Consider yourself warned: this novel contains pain, the graphic pain of a lonely, scared child. It is not light reading, but Toni’s writing – as with all her novels – allowed me to experience the world for 160 pages through Pecola’s eyes, to feel her want, her confusion and her hurt. As well as insight into the need for role models and support for black girls like Pecola, a need which remains equally relevant today, The Bluest Eye gifted me a harsh glimpse into a time and a life so different from my own, a vivid lesson in self-awareness that remains with me more than three decades later. 

When Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison died age 88 two years ago, she was aptly described by the New York Times as a ‘towering novelist of the black experience’. She was the first African-American woman to win the Nobel prize. If you really want to try to understand the history and experience of black women in America, I’d recommend her Pulitzer-prizewinning novel Beloved as a slavery-era companion to The Bluest Eye. 

The Overstory, Richard Powers

After reading Richard Powers’ The Overstory, I never walked through a forest again in blissful ignorance. This is a novel exploring activism and protest, but it is also a love story to nature and an ode to those who study and work to protect it. At its most basic level, Powers’ novel is about trees, but its 620 pages provide an illuminating crash course on biodiversity.  It provided me with an understanding of and newfound respect for the interconnectedness of nature, the inter-dependencies of life. This is an extraordinary read, an epic novel spanning multiple generations and involving a diverse, overlapping cast of characters – human and plant. My favourite character, Patricia Westerford, is purported to be based on the highly respected forest ecologist Suzanne Simard. This character’s dedication and work in the novel ultimately convinced me to see each tree as an individual and each area of forest as a community. Every time I walk through Hyde Park and see a tree felled by man, nature or age left to be consumed by natural forces, I think of Overstory with great fondness and respect. Within what appears to be a growing genre of ‘environmental’ novels, in my view this is the best. 

Flight Behaviour, Barbara Kingsolver

Positive Luxury has its origins in the amazing story of the Large Blue Butterfly, a species which died out in these isles in 1979, the dedication of the scientist who successfully reintroduced it and his unravelling of the intricate web of interdependencies necessary for the Large Blue’s survival. And so my final recommendations continues the study of butterflies. In Flight Behaviour novelist, poet and essayist Barbara Kingsolver talks class, poverty, climate and the majestic but threatened Monarch Butterfly’s bi-annual migration. I would recommend every single one of Kingsolver’s novels; she masterfully merges discussion of social justice, biodiversity and the relationship between communities and nature. Never shying away from awkward subjects, in Flight Behaviour she addresses the seemingly conflicting relationship between faith and science, as well as the extreme poverty endured by many individuals in the Appalachian region. However it is the subject of climate change, and the empathetic landscape she paints illustrating belief in and denial of it, that is persistent throughout. A stark warning, but also a thought-provoking and beautiful novel. And an easy read.  

If you need a dose of non-fiction, but like me perhaps not a book-length dose, I recommend Emily Atkin’s Heated, “a newsletter for people who are pissed off about climate change” as well as the gorgeous and well-informed Instagram account @earthrise.studio 

To quote Barbara Kingsolver, “What keeps you going isn’t some fine destination but just the road you’re on, and the fact that you know how to drive.” Keep reading, keep exploring. It’s a joy and an education. That’s my ultimate recommendation. 

Next week: Summer Reads Part 2 – Knowledge Level Up with Positive Luxury co-founder and CEO Diana Verde Nieto 

 

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SUSTAINABILITY BEST PRACTICE: KAMPOS ON INNOVATION, PLASTICS AND CHARITY

KAMPOS
KAMPOS

The journey to net zero is a collective one, with the destination out of reach without the open sharing of information and collaboration between brands. To help facilitate that process, we recently spoke to KAMPOS. During the process of earning the Butterfly Mark, we were impressed by their innovative production process, their approach to plastics and charity, and how this all ties into a holistic relationship with the ocean.

Innovation

Sustainable material innovation is at the core of KAMPOS. Every piece of swimwear they create uses either recycled PET or Econyl nylon, both of which are created from recycled materials.

Their swim shorts are made from recycled plastic bottles collected from the Mediterranean Sea, using seven recycled plastic bottles to produce each pair. 80 grams of abandoned fishing nets are used to make the regenerated nylon that goes into their swimsuits and bikinis.

Remarkably, they have extended this approach to their organic cotton and natural cashmere. When creating these fibres – in addition to organic cotton from producers who don’t use any toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilisers or natural cashmere from highly regarded suppliers who can guarantee full traceability and certifications –  PET bottles are washed and mechanically ground, then converted into flakes to be transformed into the new polymer ready for the spinning stage. The polymer is extruded, span into Newlife™ yarn, which becomes the base for the unique textile they use.

When speaking with Melanie Hiernard, KAMPOS’ Director of Marketing, she shared that ‘the luxury industry is the industry that sets the upcoming trends. There is an undeniable need to reinvent ourselves and challenge norms that are obsolete and damage our planet. Our goal is to transform marine pollution by using plastic bottles or fishing nets as our main materials to produce a high-quality and timeless range of products. Our production method guarantees the recycling of our products infinitely.’

What we found especially inspiring about this was how KAMPOS has identified that because they profit from the ocean, it is also their responsibility to preserve it. Whilst not fully circular, their production model is truly innovative and is undoing some of the damage done to nature.

Plastics & Recycling

We want to make people reflect and encourage them to take actions for the good of our planet as we tell our brand story

Alessandro Vergano, CEO and Founder

In addition to their excellent work on materials, KAMPOS have extended their progressive attitude to plastics across their entire business. As part of this work they have instituted a zero-plastic policy across all of their plastics and packaging: no single-use plastics are used anywhere in their products or packaging. The packaging itself is fully recycled, recyclable, and FSC/PEFC certified.

Impressively, KAMPOS recently launched a pop-up at Credit Suisse Europaallee 26 in Zürich that was built entirely using recycled materials, with design features like recycled PET plastic bottles trapped inside a fishing net hanging from the ceiling. Alessandro Vergano, CEO and Founder of KAMPOS had this to say about the pop-up: ‘Everything we do must be creative and impactful. We want to make people reflect and encourage them to take actions for the good of our planet as we tell our brand story’.

This is a demonstration of the brand’s genuine commitment to sustainable practice in every possible opportunity, and demonstrates that it is a genuine part of their values.

Charity

KAMPOS are an official partner of the One Ocean Foundation, a charity dedicated to the preservation of our marine environment. They donate part of their proceeds to the charity, supporting their daily activities, which include education, scientific research, communication and environmental impact. In addition, they raise awareness of environmental protection while stimulating constructive relations between all stakeholders, of varying age groups and involved on different levels, in the preservation of marine ecosystems. Its mission is to accelerate solutions to ocean issues, promoting a sustainable blue economy and enhancing knowledge through ocean literacy.

To read more about KAMPOS’ sustainability efforts, read their Positive Luxury brand page.

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MAKING A DIFFERENCE: MEET LA PERLA BEAUTY’S CHIEF SCIENTIFIC AND REGULATORY OFFICER, LES SMITH

As part of our ongoing commitment to sharing positive brand stories and actions from our community, Making a Difference is a new feature highlighting the often unsung individuals across the luxury industry making a positive impact. It is our hope that this series will be an inspiration to people working in sustainability and show professionals – particularly at the start of their career journey – the many routes there are to making a difference.

This month the spotlight is on La Perla Beauty’s Chief Scientific & Regulatory Officer Les Smith – accomplished chemist, sustainability expert, and rock aficionado.

What qualifications do you have? Did they play a role in getting you where you are today?

I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Stirling in Scotland. I have an Honors Degree in chemistry and a Ph.D. from the Research Institute of Medicine and Chemistry in Cambridge Massachusetts under the supervision of Sir Derek Barton, a Nobel Prize winner. I also did Post Doctoral research at the University of Geneva in Switzerland on photochemistry of organic molecules.

Clearly my academic qualifications placed me in a good spot to continue into academia or industry. However, in my post doc position in Geneva, I was given responsibility for a large group of research scientists and also had to teach undergraduate chemistry in French. I think that this was when I realized that I was a better manager than a practical chemist.

Have you always worked in sustainability? If not, what did you do before?

Believe it or not the overall topic of ‘sustainability’ in the years when I moved into industry was not a clearly defined topic. My first job was with Procter and Gamble in Brussels where I ran a large analytical team and a product development group. In those days – the (yikes!) early ’80s – there was a growing concern about the effect of detergents on the environment. Most specifically of the effect of phosphates on the environment (eutrophication of lake water).

How did you end up in your current role?

When I was with Coty I was asked to set up a global centre of excellence for fragrances in Switzerland. At the same time I maintained global responsibility for a diverse range of departments like toxicology, fragrance development, engineering, analytical, sensory testing, consumer affairs, regulatory, etc. At that time our chairman Peter Shaefer was based in Switzerland and we worked together on a number M&As and had an occasional beer. I met up with him more by accident than design in the Channel Islands back in 2019 and he proposed that I join the start-up La Perla Beauty group. I jumped at the chance since I had been reduced in retirement to studying astrophysics at Princeton University and playing with a rock band in local pubs.

What made you fall in love with sustainability?

It has become clear over recent years that the concept of sustainability goes much further than environmental issues and I’m excited by the rapid expansion of the topic into social responsibility, human safety and of course the love of our planet.

The area is still not clearly defined from a legal perspective but what is very encouraging is how the cosmetic and of course other industries are moving rapidly towards being and promoting the concept of ‘clean’ products. Regulation will inevitably come but I’m proud that our industry is leading the charge.

What does your day-to-day look like?

Being pinned down now in Princeton, New Jersey I live on Microsoft Teams. Thankfully my colleagues are very respectful and rarely schedule meetings before 8 am EST. Start of the day is usually about 5.30am and I check my e-mails from Europe. If there’s nothing urgent, roll over. Sometime later I take my bearded collie Dougal (named after Fantasia’s Dougal of Fife) for his first walk. Most of my days revolve around calls with Europe and the subsequent homework and now with our growing team in the USA I have regular meetings with our Texas and Colorado-based colleagues.

What challenges have you faced?

In the last year clearly the pandemic has been a major challenge. I have to say that our supply chain and marketing teams have done an amazing job. To move from basically a concept a year and a half ago to physical (and fantastic!) products on the shelves says a lot.

What are you most proud of?

Coming from a very working-class background in Scotland I can give myself a pat on the back as to where I’ve gone professionally. I’m also pretty proud that I’ve achieved some notable important things in my rugby career.

I think the shining star however is Coty’s global center of excellence that I built and staffed in Versoix in Switzerland. The company gave me a carte blanche to build and staff a state-of-the-art facility on the lake in Switzerland. I hired the best people and this group continues to be a major component of Coty’s success in the fragrance industry.

What advice would you have for anyone looking to contribute to their company’s sustainability goals? 

You need to be conscious of merging regulations and laws worldwide. At the same time I think it is important to work closely with industry groups to maintain and develop our industry’s contribution to sustainability and to steer authorities in the right direction.

What’s next for you?

I have to say that the La Perla Beauty group is a superbly experienced and gifted team. We have an evolving culture which will lead to success in the marketplace. I’d hope to continue to be a leader in the group. After that? Get back on a plane and meet all of my new colleagues in person.

Find out more about Butterfly Mark-certified La Perla Beauty here

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UK LEGISLATION UPDATE: GREEN CLAIMS MUST BE SUBSTANTIATED BY SEPTEMBER 2021

Advertising sustainable products in the UK is about to undergo a fundamental change that all luxury businesses trading in the UK need to be aware of. The Green Claims Code – due to be published in August or September 2021 – will render ‘greenwashed’ brands and products both a reputational and financial risk. Luxury brands who want to feedback on these proposals have until 16 July 2021 to do so.

Context

Historically, the vast majority of complaints about malpractice in advertising have been dealt with under the largely voluntary scheme operated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which has relatively limited powers. Whilst that is likely to continue, publication of the Green Claims Code draft guidance is a reminder that the CMA (Competition Markets Authority) recognises the increasing significance of environmental issues for consumers when making purchasing decisions and is willing to use its profile and resources to target what it regards as bad or misleading behaviour.

Luxury businesses will therefore need to take extra care that their ‘green’ claims can be substantiated, given the possibility that they will come under increased scrutiny from the regulator and consumers alike. Any attempt to promote goods or services through the use of inaccurate or misleading claims as to their eco-friendly credentials will carry a significantly higher reputational risk, as well as the risk of the CMA potentially exercising its statutory powers against businesses which do not cooperate. Compliance with the latest guidance should not be taken lightly.

The CMA has invited interested parties to respond by 16 July 2021 to a consultation document and Positive Luxury will take feedback to them that represents the complexities of the luxury industry. If your brand would like to have its voice heard, please contact us using the email address at the end of this article.

Green Claims Principles

Marketing should take into account Government guidance including the Code published by DEFRA and BIS here. We have summarised the key principles of them for you below:

  1. Claims must be truthful and accurate
    Claims should not mislead consumers by giving an inaccurate impression, even if they are factually correct. They should only give consumers the impression that a product or service is as green and sustainable as it really is.
  2. Claims should be clear and unambiguous
    Claims must be worded in a transparent and easily understandable way, without confusing consumers or giving the impression that a product or service is better for the environment than it is. The meaning consumers are likely to take from a claim and the actual environmental impact of the product or service need to match.
  3. Claims should not omit or hide important information
    Claims made by businesses should not omit or hide information necessary for consumers to make informed choices.
  4. Comparisons should be fair and meaningful
    Comparisons should enable consumers to make informed choices about competing products and services and should not benefit one particular product or brand to the detriment of another if the comparison is inaccurate or false. They should be based on clear and objective information and compare like with like.
  5. Claims should take into account the full life cycle of the product
    When making broad and general environmental claims businesses should consider the effect of the total life cycle of a product or service, taking into account factors such as its component parts, how and where it is manufactured or carried out, its use or performance, disposal of the product and waste by-products. Where claims are based on a specific part of a product or service’s life cycle it should be made clear which aspect they refer to and consumers should not be misled about the total environmental impact.
  6. Claims should be substantiated
    Businesses should have robust, credible and up-to-date evidence to support their claims. They will need to be in a position to provide that evidence when under investigation for potentially misleading claims.

Simply put, ‘greenwashing’ – where a business makes environmental claims about their products or services in breach of the CAP Code – will no longer be tolerated in the UK. If the ASA finds that you have ‘greenwashed’ a product or service, they may request that you change or withdraw the advert, disqualify you from media awards or ask the CAP to inform its members of the breach, which may result in the CAP refusing to give you advertising space, pay you commission or allow membership of a trade association.

Because the ASA publishes its findings online, you may also suffer reputational and sales consequences, as shareholders and consumers are increasingly conscious of green issues. In exceptional circumstances, the ASA may refer the matter to the National Trading Standards Board, who, in conjunction with local authorities’ trading standards, can take enforcement action against you, including civil sanctions and prosecution for continued breaches of consumer law.

Essential actions

  • Get your facts right. Do not exaggerate the environmental benefits of your product.
  • Back up advertising claims with documentary evidence
  • Do not present claims as being universally accepted if the science is inconclusive
  • Do not use pseudo-science or terms that are not generally understood by your readers
  • Avoid sweeping and absolute claims such as ‘environmentally friendly’ or ‘wholly biodegradable’
  • Only say something is ‘locally’ produced if it is. Shipping goods from abroad or the other end of the country does not make them ‘locally sourced’

Have your voice heard

The CMA has invited interested parties to respond by 16 July 2021 to a consultation document on the draft guidance which specifically requests their input on the following:

  • Whether the guidance covers all the important consumer protection law issues related to making environmental claims;
  • Whether the guidance ought to apply to B2B, as well as B2C, relationships;
  • Whether any sectors should be given special treatment;
  • Whether the six principles included in the guidance are the right ones to help businesses comply with consumer protection law;
  • Whether any aspects of the guidance require further explanation; and whether the guidance is sufficiently clear and helpful for the intended audience.

As mentioned, Positive Luxury will take feedback to the CMA that represents the complexities of the luxury industry. If your brand would like to have its voice heard, please contact us before Friday July 16, 2021 at hello@positiveluxury.com with your feedback.

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SUSTAINABILITY BEST PRACTICE: MONICA VINADER ON RECYCLING, CARBON, AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

The journey to net zero is a collective one, with the destination out of reach without the open sharing of information and collaboration between brands. To help facilitate that process, we reached out to the recently certified Monica Vinader as, during the process of earning the Butterfly Mark, we were especially impressed by their approach to recycling, carbon neutrality, and their community. They kindly agreed to share not only what they have done but to also give some insights to their fellow brands into how they have done it.

Recycling

Monica Vinader only uses 100% recycled gold vermeil and sterling silver. By the end of 2021, more than 1,100,000kg of CO2 emissions will have been avoided due to their commitment to using recycled gold vermeil and sterling silver. When we spoke to their team about how they achieved this milestone, they told us ‘working collaboratively with our business partners whilst empowering our employees to lead sustainable change has helped drive progress against our recycling goals. It has been a real team effort and we’re all learning along the way.’

In addition, Monica Vinader are phasing out single-use plastics throughout their entire supply chain this year – a complicated task for any brand. They approached this by carrying out plastic audits of their direct suppliers, their operations, and their stores to gather information on every single piece of plastic before identifying those items that are single-use and then for each one deciding whether they could a) stop using immediately, b) switch to a non-plastic alternative, or c) replace with a recyclable or compostable equivalent. They are working through each of these in order and as of spring 2021 have sourced alternatives for 85% of the plastic in their supply chain.

However, this process was dogged by unexpected roadblocks. During the process, their plastic recycling partner reached capacity so instead of being able to outsource the sorting of all plastic, they needed to take this responsibility on themselves. When we spoke to the Monica Vinader team about this, they told us ‘our Operations team have been great in responding to this challenge and because we’re committed to the cause we’re making it work with our current resource. In the long term we hope to revert back to the previous service model.’

We see there being two clear actions from this for brands looking to achieve their sustainability goals:

  • An effective recycling strategy is a collaborative effort that requires buy-in from every level of the business and external partners
  • Phasing any material out of your business will lead to unexpected problems. Clear goals and processes are essential from the very beginning

Carbon Neutral

Absolute carbon reductions are the ultimate goal for any sustainable brand as we recently explored in our Understanding Carbon report. Monica Vinader have accepted that and, after calculating their yearly carbon emissions from shipments to customers last year they planned to offset all of it. This year, they extended their carbon offsetting commitment to include both their corporate and products’ greenhouse gas footprint, making them entirely neutral.

However, what really impressed us was that Monica Vinader have recognised that offsets are not a solution and that reductions, not neutrality, are the goal. To that end they have enacted a series of bold positive actions, including building on their strong work with recycled metals by continuing to look at innovative materials in order to reduce their environmental impact, driving initiatives like their customer jewellery recycling programme, operating with a flexible approach to employees and travel, and working closely with their partner couriers and producers.

Our positive action recommendation for brands:

  • Recognise that absolute carbon reductions are a long-term goal. Plan small changes that your brand can make along the way in order to make incremental gains

Social Responsibility

The process of becoming a sustainable business is about more than just the environment. ESG – Environmental, Social, and Governance – is a true reflection of a business’ impact on people and planet. Monica Vinader have made this a central part of their organisation by building relationships with their suppliers, supporting charities like Women for Women International and The Jagriti Foundation, as well as raising money for The NHS during the pandemic. Speaking to the Monica Vinader team, they commented that their ‘Senior Leadership team care deeply about the empowerment of women (something our jewellery aims to do too) and the education of those in need. Our charitable endeavours are led from the top and something we feel our employees have really responded well to. We are looking to roll out an employee volunteering scheme to build on our work too, with a particular focus on education, empowerment and other causes linked to the 6 key UN SDGs we’re aligned to.’

Our positive action recommendation for brands:

  • Examine how your brand interacts with people as well as the planet. From D&I to charity work, racial justice to uplifting your suppliers, there are so many opportunities for your brand to enact lasting social change

Monica Vinader’s sustainability journey has seen them make plenty of meaningful innovations across their business and across each of the categories of E, S, and G. For more information on their sustainability journey, download their latest sustainability report here

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EU LEGISLATION UPDATE: THE EU STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES

From May 12 – August 4, 2021 the EU is seeking feedback from businesses that trade in Europe on the EU strategy for sustainable textiles. This strategy is designed to help the EU shift to a climate-neutral, circular economy where products are designed to be more durable, reusable, repairable, recyclable and energy-efficient. It aims to ensure that the textile industry recovers from the COVID-19 crisis in a sustainable way by making it more competitive, applying circular economy principles to production, products, consumption, waste management and secondary raw materials, and directing investment, research and innovation towards sustainability.

Following our recent article exploring the EU Sustainable Products Initiative, Positive Luxury has collected all the important information below and encourages luxury businesses that trade in Europe to prepare for this legislative change – and take advantage of this opportunity to co-create ambitious climate solutions with legislators.

You can contribute to the consultation by responding here

Context

The European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan (CEAP) and the Industrial Strategy identified textiles as a priority sector in which the EU can pave the way towards a carbon neutral, circular economy, and announced an EU Strategy on textiles.

In the Commission Staff Working Document ‘Identifying Europe’s recovery needs’, which accompanied the communication ‘Europe’s moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation’, the Commission outlined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industrial ecosystem for textiles in the EU, identifying its recovery needs in the light of current and expected weaknesses on both the demand and supply sides.

The problem the initiative tries to solve

Textiles and clothing make up a diverse industrial ecosystem covering different value chains and types of products. The industry employs 1.5 million people, spread across more than 160,000 companies in the EU, most of which are SMEs, with an EU annual turnover of EUR 162 billion in 2019.

Despite a growing social trend for sustainability in the EU textile and fashion industry, Europeans consume on average 26kg of textiles per person per year with a significant share of these coming from third world countries. Each item is used for a shorter period, resulting in 11 kg of textiles discarded per person per year – this is the true cost of the popularity of fast fashion across the continent.

Whereas the EU textile industry is globally competitive, especially in the areas of technical textiles and luxury fashion, the ecosystem is suffering significantly as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, both in terms of disrupted supply and a drop in consumer demand. The crisis has also affected international trade in secondhand textile products and disrupted waste streams.

The textile sector is a resource-intensive sector with important climate and environmental impacts. Textile consumption is the fourth highest pressure category in the EU in terms of use of primary raw materials and water (after food, housing and transport), and fifth for GHG emissions (EEA). Most of the pressure and impact linked to clothing, footwear and household textiles in Europe occur in other regions of the world, where the majority of production takes place.

Moreover, it is estimated that less than 1% of all textiles worldwide are recycled into new textiles. The presence of substances of concern hampers future high-quality recycling and pollutes water and soil, whilst textile waste collection rates and recycling capacities are low to medium in the EU. Besides their impact on the environment, textile value chains are recognised as being long, globalised and diverse. As a result, the European textile and clothing industry faces an uneven playing field due to the often lower production costs and environmental and social standards in place in third countries. They find it challenging to prove that their products are produced under acceptable environmental and working conditions. The textile sector also suffers from skill gaps, shortages and mismatches due to the rapid technological changes taking place that require international workforces to continuously re-adapt.

Basis for EU legislation

Boosting the sustainability of the sector and addressing the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis are EU-wide concerns, in which the stakes in terms of cross-border pollution effects and impact on the internal market are high. In order to address this, a coordinated and harmonised response at EU level will be needed to address structural weaknesses regarding textile waste collection, sorting and recycling in the Member States, and to strengthen capacity both of the industry and public authorities.

Since the textile sector is highly globalised, fragmented action at national and local level will be insufficient to drive change. A lack of EU action would undermine effective environmental protection across the EU, as well as the possibility of creating a level playing field for textile businesses in and outside the EU. The proper functioning of the internal market would also be at risk. Finally, failure to act would run counter to the strong demand from stakeholders in recent years to develop a sustainable textiles approach at EU rather than at national level. Subsidiarity will be duly considered for any legislative action that derives from this strategy, in accordance with the Better Regulation Guidelines.

What does the initiative aim to achieve and how

The aim of the initiative is to set in place a comprehensive framework to create conditions and incentives to boost the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of the EU textile sector, taking into account its strengths and vulnerabilities, after a long period of restructuring and delocalisation, and addressing its environmental and social impacts.

It will ensure coherence and complementarity with initiatives under the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, the Industrial Strategy and the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability. The initiative will facilitate and encourage optimal use of the recovery plan and sustainable investments, in particular in production processes, design, new materials, new business models, infrastructure and capacity. Support to technologies, including through digitalisation, related to innovative textiles, tackling the release of microplastics, manufacturing and recycling processes will contribute to the digital and green transition.

To boost the EU market for sustainable and circular textiles, the initiative might consider setting targets to significantly step up reuse and recycling efforts as well as green public procurement in the EU. These objectives will be considered through a structured engagement with the industrial ecosystem and other stakeholders (i.e. research and innovation, consumer associations, investment companies, Member States, civil society), to allow for their swifter achievement, and to contribute to monitoring subsequent implementation of the initiative.

The initiative will propose actions to make the textile ecosystem fit for the circular economy, addressing weaknesses regarding sustainable production, sustainable lifestyles, presence of substances of concern, improving textile waste collection and recycling in the Member States as well as capacity building (including for skills).

The initiative will do so by identifying textile-specific and horizontal actions along the whole value chain. Taking into account the preparation of the Sustainable Products Initiative, the initiative will underline possible approaches for improving design for sustainability (ensuring the uptake of secondary raw materials and tackling the presence of hazardous chemicals, among others), facilitating its future implementation. The initiative will also propose actions to promote more sustainable production processes.

In addition, the initiatives will look into supporting more sustainable lifestyles, for instance by incentivising ‘product as a service’ and other sustainable business models. The initiative will promote voluntary approaches such as the EU Ecolabel and look into maximising the synergies within the New Consumer Agenda and the Bauhaus initiative.

The role of extended producer responsibility in promoting sustainable textiles and treatment of textile waste in accordance with the waste hierarchy will also be considered, and the implementation of the legal obligation to introduce separate collection of waste textiles by 2025 will be supported. Finally, the initiative will explore how to reinforce the protection of human rights, environmental duty of care and due diligence across value chains, including improving traceability and transparency. It will steer international cooperation and partnerships, including aid for trade, towards more sustainable consumption and production patterns, including in terms of land and water use and the use of chemicals

Better regulation: Consultation of citizens and stakeholders

Stakeholders in the textile ecosystem have been very active in recent years and have shown keen interest and commitment to making the industry more sustainable. Their willingness to developing new business, behavior and consumption models are therefore of particular importance and value.

Stakeholders to be consulted will include all industry players including: fibre, yarn, fabric or clothing manufacturers, SMEs and global companies, suppliers, retailers, service providers, collectors, sorters, recyclers, research and innovation centres and other stakeholders such as public authorities, consumers and consumer associations or civil society. Consultation activities will reach out to and engage with industry and other stakeholders, including by organising workshops, (tele)conferences, and holding a 12-week public consultation which will be published on ‘Have Your Say’.

Recommended actions for luxury business operating in the EU

  • As this legislation is only in the Feedback Period, we do not know the exact shape it will eventually take. However, the focus on sustainable and circular textiles, the promotion of more sustainable production processes, and a changing attitude towards waste textiles clearly implies sweeping changes in the pipeline
  • We recommend that businesses contact the commission before the feedback period closes on August 4, 2021 (midnight Brussels time) to ensure that this legislation is as bold and progressive as possible.

You can contribute to the consultation by responding here

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EU LEGISLATION UPDATE: THE EU STRATEGY FOR SUSTAINABLE TEXTILES

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