PULSE 2019: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
If you haven't heard about it yet, The Pulse of the Fashion Industry is published by @GlobalFashionAgenda, @BCG and @Apprlcoalition and is an annual assessment of the fashion industry’s environmental and social performance.
"The Pulse report provides in-depth guidance to fashion brands and retailers looking to embark on or further advance towards more responsible ways of doing business", as mentioned by the Global Fashion Agenda themselves.
It is basically a way to help the fashion industry to get some wheels in motion towards a more sustainable business model before the planet gets fed up with us and decided to go #ByeFelicia on us.
Below some of the main intakes and the things you should be aware of (I truly deeply care about you guys, see?):
1) SH*T IS GETTING BETTER (ish)
The Pulse is based on score that ranks different factors of the fashion industry. In 2019 there has been a clear improvement (42 points) but of much slower rate year on year if compared to the previous one (38 points in 2018 and 32 in 2017).
Among the "players" ranked in 2019, 43 made it to the first quartile with +11 points VS 2018 (way to go, guys!). This group was made mainly by low and mid-prices players who adopted sustainable strategy development and governance, with targets in energy, chemicals and water savings, and by aligning association affiliations. We just have to make sure now that ALL businesses follow this trend. Second quartile (47 players with +4 points year on year) showed a slow progress but still with visible results in spite of additional challenges, as the required resources, capabilities, funding and advanced technologies. The third quartile was unfortunately the biggest with 65 players and only +1 point improvement VS 2018. This result though has to be considered carefully as a lot of the business in this quartile already went through major improvements in the past years and were therefore already high ranked in absolute values.
2) ENTRY PRICE PLAYERS: MORE POTENTIAL TO IMPROVE
If we deep dive in the split by typology of the business, we find some surprisingly results, especially if we analyse the pricing factor.The biggest positive leap had been done YoY by entry price segment businesses (yup, cheap is chic apparently... for how long, that's a different topic), that have scored much higher values than other groups.In terms of sizes, Medium Payers scored a whopping +18 point increase, followed by Large Players (+10 YoY) and then Small Players (+6 YoY). It sounds like a Super Bowl score prediction...
These companies have grown integrating sustainability in their planning and decision making, their governance and tracking. For this group of price sensitive businesses, sustainability has truly become a main pillar. Well done, guys! These companies can truly benefit from associative work especially when it comes to defining strategies and defining goals.
What's interesting to analyze here, is that the "worst" results were obtained by Giant Entry Price Point Players, who remained flat (+0 points).
Goals definition is definitely the first major step to initiate the process. This and accountability should be the first two pillars in which business base their decision making as, otherwise, it will only end up in an unclear, messy process that won't lead to anything good. Like a wedding without wedding planner... You might not even get married at all (for those who do not want to get married, this might be the wrong example. Please do feel free to change it accordingly to your relationship status goals).
3) WHAT WAS DONE "WELL"
What is also good to know, is that the two steps within the value chain that show above-average performance are Management & Target Setting (enabling activities and overarching aspects of sustainability that involve target definition, strategy setting and governance) and Supply Chain (production of garments and footwear). it is very important to see where the main focus is accordingly to the fashion business and what are considered to be the most "urgent" actions to take.
A 5 steps trajectory has been created in order to give guidance to the fashion industry as far as social and environmental performance are concerned. This process lets them position themselves among their peers as well as define the next steps to engage into.
For every step, a list of priorities is listed as well as milestones and can be summed up as below:
>> Pre-Phase: "Taking uncoordinated actions"
Weakest companies that have not yet defined any sustainability action due to lack of performance visibility
>> Phase One: "Building the foundation"
First efforts in traceability are made as well as setting up resources, strategies and communication.
>> Phase Two: "Implementing the core"
Clear actions are put in place with regards to material mixes, combating climate change, respectful and secure work environment and efficient use of water, energy and chemicals
>> Phase Three: "Expending to scale"
At this stage, not only actions are taken but a real implementation to scale the process takes place. Also, the first efforts into promotion of better wages systems and circularity take place
>> Phase Four: "Unlocking the next level"
This is the stage where fashion companies become real leaders of change and the promoters of what is going to be the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Because a real revolution is needed: how we consume, how we reuse and how we restructure the economy. And you know what? It's not that hard to make and you can be awesomely stunning all the way through. Because if we look good and empowered, nothing can stop us.