The global fashion and textiles industries face large-scale and urgent challenges: Challenges which have become even more apparent in recent months as the pandemic exposed risks within supply chains and business operations world-wide, and highlighted the need for more ethical business models moving forward. From production, to shipping, to retail and disposal, the textiles life-cycle has a heavy toll on our environmental ecosystems. Over-reliance on virgin fibres imposes a strain on water and land use, and more needs to be done to embed change at scale and find realistic alternatives to oil-derived materials like polyester. Manufacturing processes are also afflicted by dyes and chemicals which pollute nature and deplete scarce resources. According to UNEP studies, at present levels of growth, the industry is projected to consume one quarter of the globe’s carbon budget by 2050.
But the reach and scope of the textiles industry also presents an opportunity to leverage its scale for good, particularly in response to the pandemic. This will require a radical rethinking and transformation of their end-to-end supply chains and business models, making them more circular, more ethical and more sustainable, with lower carbon footprints, enhanced transparency and traceability, and more socially-positive impacts across the entire value chain. Here there are significant learnings for all sectors grappling with material production, complex supply chains and linear business models.
This event will showcase a number of inspiring examples from the fashion and textiles sectors of product innovation, enabling technologies and innovative design processes which can spearhead supply chain transparency, reduce carbon emissions and waste, and catalyse the shift to a circular system. Alongside industry leadership, there is also a need for a cultural shift to overcome fast-fashion mindsets and high-volume consumption trends, supported by civil society change-makers and global policy goals. This event will bring together leaders in clothing, textiles and beyond who are reimagining approaches across the system.
Cyndi Rhoades founded Worn Again Technologies in 2005 with a determination to make a difference and create a business out of solving the challenge of textiles becoming waste and ending up in landfill or incineration. Cyndi began her career as a film maker in music videos and documentaries which over time evolved into a deep interest in the impacts of commerce and global economics on society and the environment. These interests led to the formation of Worn Again Technologies which she has been driving forward ever since, from its early beginnings in upcycling to its current transformational polymer recycling technology. Paving the way in this uncharted territory, Cyndi is now a recognised thought (and ‘do’) leader and an advocate for polymer recycling technology as an enabler for a circular textiles industry. She is a regular speaker on circularity and innovation including the Economist Sustainability Summit and Stylus Decoded Future 2019 conferences. Cyndi is an early pioneer of the sustainable fashion movement and a co-founder of the RE:Fashion Awards, the world’s first Sustainable Fashion Awards in London. She is also an award-winning entrepreneur; in 2019 she was awarded the PCIAW Outstanding Contribution to the Textile Industry and was a finalist for The Circular Economy Awards, Leadership award. Also in 2019, Worn Again Technologies was awarded the ANDAM Innovation Prize and ‘One to Watch’ at Global Good Awards.
Deap is Head of Sustainability at Seasalt. A highly versatile and experienced sustainability and CSR professional, Deap has created and developed Seasalt’s sustainability department since 2017. She has been successful in influencing, engaging and educating business with an aligned agenda that spans across the full operations of the business. Seasalt is a national womenswear company that started in 1981 and was the first clothing retailer to achieve GOTS organic cotton certified by the Soil Association in 2005.
Orr is a founder and Chief Executive Officer of Colorifix. After his early education in Portugal, Orr did his undergraduate, Masters and PhD degrees at Newcastle University, where he studied nanomaterials, biochemistry and synthetic biology. Orr went on to co-found Jim’s lab at the University of Cambridge to apply these skills to the arsenic biosensor project and they spun out a novel and sustainable approach to dyeing textiles. Orr’s favourite colour is purple.
Ruchira is a senior executive with seventeen years of international experience working at board level and with CEOs in the field of sustainable development, with a focus on raw material sourcing. She is a UK Country Director at IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative. Previously she has held a variety of roles including Head of Responsible Sourcing at ASOS, Programme Director at Better Cotton Initiative; and Manager in the Sustainability &Climate Change Practice at PWC Consulting. Ruchira offers outstanding expertise in the areas of strategy development, supplier engagement on social and environmental issues and complex stakeholder management. She is an excellent team leader, with experience building and working with geographically dispersed teams with a 700+ global member network. She leads the SFA Chain of Custody Working Group. She is passionate about the role of business in creating more sustainable and resilient communities. Ruchira became a Board member of the SFA in 2017.
The Crowd welcomes applications from Directors/ Heads of sustainability, innovation, procurement, manufacturing, supply chains and related fields.