Created with Sketch.
Big Closets Small Planet
59 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Climate & The 1 Trillion Dollar Question
Now that climate action has rapidly moved to the top of the apparel industry's agenda, it is crucial that the industry moves from intention to action - and fast. The latest analysis indicates what we need to do, but the 1 trillion dollar question is how much capital will be required to do it. Enter the Apparel Impact Institute (AII) and Fashion for Good (FFG), who have now weighed in regarding how much financial outlay is needed. You've probably already guessed it: they arrived at 1 trillion US Dollars needed over the next 30 years. During this interview, Michael speaks with Ryan Gaines, Finance Director at AII, and Rogier van Mazijk, Investment Director at FFG who co-authored this new report, "Unlocking the Trillion Dollar Opportunity". We quickly get into the weeds and discuss what needs investment, how much, and who needs to do it. We talk about the roadblocks, and we even hear how finance people view legislation and industry growth. So if you are committed to helping the apparel and textiles industry meet its climate targets, and want to know if and how we are going to get there, then this podcast for you.
72 minutes | Dec 16, 2020
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Fashion is endangering our forests. A new report from Canopy weighs in on what we need to do about it.
Forests play a crucial role in promoting biodiversity, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and supporting livelihoods, especially in poorer countries. But because wood is the basis for so many of our products, the pressure to exploit forests, usually in unsustainable ways, continues to increase. What does this have to do with the fashion industry? A significant percentage of the fibres used in fashion come from wood, and the market for wood based textile fibres is expected to grow. Our industry may therefore be indirectly contributing to the unsustainable management and even destruction of our remaining forests. In this episode, Mike speaks with Nicole Rycroft, Founder and Executive Director of Canopy, an NGO that works with the forest industry's biggest customers and their suppliers to develop business solutions that protect our last frontier forests, and Robert van de Kerkhof, Chief Commercial Officer at Lenzing. Using two recent reports released by Canopy as a point of departure, Nicole and Robert explain why forests are crucial for our survival, what brands and viscose producers can and should be doing to protect them, what next generation innovations are needed and what it will cost to transform viscose supply chains by 2030.
53 minutes | Nov 25, 2020
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Are the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the HIGG tools making a meaningful difference? A new report weighs in.
It's been nearly a decade since Patagonia, Walmart and a number of other brands, retailers, manufacturers and NGOs established the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), an innovative industry collaboration. As the coalition's website states, its vision is "an apparel, footwear, and textiles industry that produces no unnecessary environmental harm and has a positive impact on the people and communities associated with its activities". In turn, members must commit to measuring and improving their social and environmental sustainability impacts, using the HIGG Index suite of measurement and management tools. A significant amount of resources and hard work has been invested in the SAC, so it is appropriate to discuss and constructively debate whether, after nearly a decade, the coalition's tools and overall work are making a meaningful difference. In this episode Michael speaks with Dara O'Rourke, associate professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and co-author of a report assessing whether the SAC's Facilities Environmental Model (FEM) and the act of standardising, measuring and reporting has resulted in meaningful improvements. Dara presents what he sees as the strengths and weaknesses of the FEM and explains the report's recommendations for increasing the SAC's impact. On top of this, Dara and Mike talk consumer psychology and communication, data, the limits of voluntary industry standards and monitoring, and why there are no silver bullets. The report can be found here: https://osf.io/preprints/socarxiv/g67d8/.
52 minutes | Nov 11, 2020
DEBATE: Part 2 - A proposed Swedish chemical tax on textiles - is this a case study in great government leadership or political greenwash?
Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise revenues for its national budget? And is the proposal a done deal, given the political parties agreed to this ahead of time when forming a government? In Part 2 of this episode, Michael speaks with experts who are positive to the proposed tax. We hear from Therese Jacobsson, Head of Ocean, Water & Toxics at the Swedish Society of Nature Conservation (a well established Swedish NGO), and two researchers who participated in the proposed tax advisory group: Daniel Slunge, an environmental economist at the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development and the FRAM Centre for Future chemical Risk Assessment and Management, and Åke Bergman, a professor at Stockholm University and highly respected environmental chemist. Unfortunately the politicians and political parties supporting the proposal did not respond to our request for comment. Given we need bold and smart government leadership more than ever, we think this is an excellent case study for exploring what good government leadership can look like as well as which government actions can be problematic.
80 minutes | Oct 28, 2020
DEBATE: Part 1 - A proposed Swedish chemical tax on textiles - is this a case study in great government leadership or political greenwash?
Sweden has a reputation for being a sustainability leader in many areas, so you can imagine how curious we were to learn about a newish proposal from the current Swedish government for a chemical tax on textiles. The proposal was recently made available to stakeholders for comment, and of course, a robust debate has ensued. Is this proposal, as presented today, going to lead to a reduction in harmful chemicals in Sweden and globally? Or is it a smoke screen for a government that is looking for ways to raise revenues for its national budget? And is the proposal a done deal, given the political parties agreed to this ahead of time when forming a government? In Part 1 of this episode, Michael speaks first with textile industry representatives to hear why they think the proposed tax is very problematic. You will hear from Jérôme Pero, Secretary General for the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry, Magnus Nikkarinen, Senior Policy Director in Sustainability at the Swedish Trade Federation, Mikael Larsson, researcher at the RISE Research Institute in Sweden, Eliina Brinkberg, Environmental Manager from Nudie Jeans Co. and Anna-Karin Dahlberg, Head of Sustainability at Lindex. In Part 2 you will hear from actors and experts who are more positive to the proposed chemical tax. Given we need bold and smart government leadership more than ever, we think this is an excellent case study for exploring what good government leadership can look like as well as which government actions can be problematic.
57 minutes | Oct 14, 2020
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: Sustainable investment expert Sasja Beslik thinks the fashion industry is a very poor performer and possibly a stranded asset.
Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance Development at J Safra Sarasin, fled Bosnia when he was 18 to escape the war. He ended up in Sweden and today spends his time leveraging the power of the financial sector to improve the world. He is particularly interested in the fashion industry's impact on people and has recently attracted attention for his calculations showing that a well-known fashion brand could afford to pay living wages to garment workers by increasing the prices on their clothes by only a few cents. In this interview Sasja weighs in on the apparel industry's sustainability performance and - spoiler alert - he comes down very hard on the industry. Sasja and Mike cover a range of topics, including the strengths, weaknesses and greenwashing of the sustainable investment industry in general, why he thinks apparel brands should be more directly responsible for paying living wages to factory workers, why a t-shirt should be more expensive, and why, despite it all, the fashion industry is still worth investing in.
27 minutes | Sep 30, 2020
MAKE YOUR CASE: Phil Patterson believes the way we use chemicals in the textiles industry is broken and here is his plan to change it!
Phil Patterson, Managing Director at Colour Connections, has been working at the intersection between the textile industry and influential retail brands for over twenty years, and after some recent soul-searching he had an epiphany. He has come to the conclusion that the current way we use and dispose of chemicals is extremely wasteful and will not achieve the environmental and health improvements we are aiming for. During this episode, Phil outlines his arguments for why we need to move from the current single use, linear buy-use-dump model for chemical use to a circular model, and he explains what this new model should entail. Key success factors in his proposal include making the chemical user responsible for the chemicals they use and a suggestion that a move to 'Zero Liquid Discharge', where no waste water discharge from wet processors is allowed, should be mandatory throughout the industry. Phil makes his case. What do you think? This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
41 minutes | Sep 16, 2020
FACT OR FICTION: Alden Wicker and Sandra Roos think the fashion industry has a misinformation problem... do you agree?
In this episode we continue to explore the most commonly repeated "factoids" in fashion and sustainability in order to determine whether they are substantive and useful. As a reminder, a "factoid" is information that is reported and repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact. During Stockholm Fashion Week, Mike spoke with Alden Wicker, freelance journalist and founder of Eco-cult and Sandra Roos, Head of Sustainability at KappAhl and PhD in Environmental Systems Analysis, about commonly used social and environmental statements related to the fashion industry and if they are based on credible research and robust analysis. They then dive deeper to discuss whether fashion has a broader problem with misinformation regarding sustainability, the role of fashion journalists and fashion researchers in promoting misinformation, and what could be done moving forward to ensure robust and credible information is used when presenting the status of sustainability performance in fashion. This interview was inspired by an article written by Alden for Vox.
50 minutes | Jun 24, 2020
THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: Femke Groothuis argues that tax reform is the best way to transform the apparel industry at the scale and pace required.
You've heard it before: The global environmental challenges we face are daunting and time sensitive. If we want to avoid catastrophic tipping points, we need to move quickly and ambitiously. If we want to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we need to invest trillions of dollars. And so we scratch our heads and wonder if the actions we are currently taking are meaningful. We wonder if we must choose between economic development, job creation and the environment. And we cannot help but feel that even though our intentions are good, our actions amount to the equivalent of moving the deck chairs on a sinking ship. But what if there is a way to accelerate change at the pace we need, and create benefits for people and the planet? And what if the way to get there is by leveraging our tax system as a tool for transformative change? Most people like to stay away from tax, either because it's unsexy, too complicated, or punitive. But tax policy is the fundamental way we steer our nations and fund our public services. So what can tax policy, and tax reform do for the apparel industry? In this episode Michael talks with Femke Groothuis from the think tank Ex'tax about the potential power of tax reform to change the apparel industry. Femke explains both the theory and practice of green tax reform, and presents the results from recent case studies applying these principles in both high income countries in the European Union and Bangladesh. One of her key messages is that if countries use tax reform effectively, they will not have to choose between economic development and the environment. And this perspective has gained even more relevance since the Covid-19 induced economic crisis has put domestic revenues, jobs and sustainable growth at the top of the priority list worldwide. This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
54 minutes | Jun 10, 2020
LEADING CHANGE: What can a new psychology of climate action teach us about being better change agents?
As a listener of Big Closets Small Planet, you are likely interested and engaged in changing the apparel industry. So for those of you who are keen to strengthen your change agent skills, we are introducing a new segment called Leading Change. In this first episode we are joined by Per Espen Stoknes who is that rare combination of thinker and doer. He is a psychologist, economist, politician, and the author of "What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming". In conversation with Mike, Per Espen illustrates how psychological research helps explain why we do so little when we know so much, and how we can harness this research to find better solutions for driving change. We cover a broad range of issues, including the five psychological barriers to climate action, concrete solutions to overcome these barriers, Per Espen's surprising analysis of Greta Thunberg's strengths and weaknesses as a change agent and why we as change agents should stand up for our depression - even if being sad about the state of the world can feel counterproductive. Tune in to get inspired and receive concrete tips on how to be a better change agent! This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
56 minutes | May 27, 2020
INDUSTRY UPDATE: Circular business models, like clothing resale and subscription rental, are taking off - but can they ever fully replace today's retail models and deliver the radical sustainability improvements we need?
Experts and practitioners agree that simply improving upon today's take-make-waste linear business models will not ensure the apparel industry can operate within the planet's ecological boundaries. Instead, a new circular economy is needed and thus new circular business models. Circular business models, like resale and rental, are not actually new. But up until a few years ago, models like these were marginal, primarily employed by second hand stores and charity shops. How things have changed! Today, nearly every major brand has a circularity department working to develop and test these circular models as a means to increase their market share, profitability and sustainability performance. So is this the radical breakthrough we have all been waiting for? And will these models, if scaled, deliver the environmental and social benefits advocates are promoting? To get updated, Michael invited three industry pioneers - Gwen Cunningham, Lead of Circle Economy's Textiles Programme and Switching Gear Project, Jeff Denby, co-founder of The Renewal Workshop, and Sam Gillick-Daniels from WRAP (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) - to weigh in. If you are interested in getting updated on the current state of circular apparel business models and the challenges and opportunities facing them, this episode is for you. This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
34 minutes | May 13, 2020
FACT OR FICTION: Does the apparel industry really create more greenhouse gases than flights and shipping combined?
In this new segment we will explore commonly repeated "factoids" in order to determine whether they are substantive and useful. Perhaps you have heard the statement that the production and use of clothing creates more climate impact than that of flights and shipping combined? A range of organisations - including the United Nations - have referred to this when promoting the need for climate action in the fashion and textiles industry. But is this statement true? Mike spoke with Simon Glover, a journalist from Ecotextile News who recently investigated this topic, and Sandra Roos, a textile researcher at RISE Institute in Sweden, to learn what they found after digging deeper. Sandra also uses the opportunity to propose three things that are needed to ensure industry stakeholders have access to credible analysis to base their actions on.
43 minutes | Apr 29, 2020
INDUSTRY UPDATE: COVID-19 - Are millions of workers at risk? Will Bangladesh ever be the same?
The impacts of the corona virus on the apparel sector have been fast and furious. We are all affected, but millions of low-wage garment workers are facing a potentially catastrophic situation. In this episode we talk to a number of experts and union representatives to better understand what is happening on the ground, what responsibility buyers have for ensuring workers get paid, what this crisis reveals about the apparel supply chain, and if Bangladesh will ever be the same. You will hear from a number of smart and committed people: Mark Anner, Associate Professor in Labor & Employment Relations; Anne-Laure Henry-Greard from the ILO / IFC BetterWork Program; Jenny Holdcroft, the Assistant General Secretary at the IndustriALL Global Union; Towhidur Rahman, President of the Bangladesh Apparel Workers Federation; and Amina Razvi, Executive Director, Sustainable Apparel Coalition. This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
31 minutes | Apr 15, 2020
INSPIRING INNOVATION: Is digital clothing the future of fashion and a solution to overconsumption?
The Fabricant, a digital fashion house, recently sold a piece of digital clothing - clothing that is only available in digital environments - for over 9000 USD. This experience helped them realise that their expertise in 3-d digital modelling could be used for a better purpose: creating a new industry sector for digital only clothing which is very good for business and the planet. Mike speaks with Amber Slooten, Fabricant’s Creative Director and Adriana Hoppenbrouwer, Fabricant’s Commercial Director about the potential for digital clothing to meet our short term fashion desires while reducing negative environmental impacts. We talk #outfitoftheday, market potential, gaming, social media behaviours, fast fashion, human needs and more. Is this the future of sustainable fashion? This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation (formerly the C&A Foundation), The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
55 minutes | Mar 25, 2020
HOT OFF THE PRESS: Pioneering analysis estimates 300 billion USD is needed by 2030...
...to develop and mainstream the sustainable apparel innovations required to meet key sustainability goals for the apparel industry. Listeners of this podcast series are familiar with our on-going focus on the crucial role finance and investment plays in enabling industry transformation. For the past two years SFA and Fashion for Good have been convening stakeholders to analyse this topic while calling for an analysis estimating how much financial investment is needed. Now we have it! A new report "Financing the Transformation in the Fashion industry" makes a strong case for what financial investment is needed. Michael spoke with two of the report's authors, Katrin Ley from Fashion for Good and Catharina Martinez-Pardo from BCG. Katrin and Catharina explain how they estimated the amount of finance required, what six barriers currently prevent access to this capital, and what six solutions should be implemented to overcome these barriers. If you truly want to understand how the innovation and finance space should work, this is the interview for you. It also reminds us that actors who are serious about transforming the industry need to be honest about what it will take, and will need to act to implement these solutions now. This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation (formerly the C&A Foundation), The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
12 minutes | Mar 11, 2020
MAKE YOUR CASE: Lewis Perkins warns the industry not to reinvent the wheel
In this new segment - Make Your Case - Big Closets Small Planet provides industry experts and stakeholders a platform to argue for a particular position or perspective. In this episode, Lewis Perkins, President of the Apparel Impact Institute (AII), outlines his organisation’s vision and advice for accelerating change in the apparel industry. He makes a case for why the duplication of efforts will slow industry progress, and warns against starting new initiatives when existing initiatives can deliver the impact needed. He also outlines the key steps he believes needs to happen to ensure significant progress is made. This is thought provoking opinion piece, so have a listen and let us know what you think by contacting us at email@example.com. This podcast is supported by the Laudes Foundation (formerly the C&A Foundation), The Rylander Foundation, and TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News. Lewis Perkin’s opinion does not reflect the official position of Big Closets Small Planet, or that of our supporting partners.
9 minutes | Nov 27, 2019
INSPIRING INNOVATION: Will molecular bonding of fibers mean the end of polyester?
Here is a quick dose of inspiration! At Planet Textiles, Mike spoke to Spencer Null about Natural Fiber Welding's breakthrough solution: enabling natural fibers like cotton to behave like polyester. Is this a game changer? It is if it means poor quality fibers can be upgraded to premium fibers... Listen to this bite size pod to get a quick lesson on cool chemistry, and get inspired by a potentially disruptive approach. This interview was recorded in June 2019. This podcast is supported by the C&A Foundation, the H&M Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and Tencel. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
43 minutes | Nov 13, 2019
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP: The optimist CEO of Lenzing, Stefan Doboczky, weighs in on circular business models, short-termism & watchdogs.
Do you ever wonder how CEOs from some of our industry's most influential companies view the big social and environmental challenges we are facing today and the potential of business and innovation to adequately address these? TENCEL is a sponsor of this podcast series, so Michael took the chance and invited Lenzing's CEO Stefan Doboczky to discuss a wide range of topics in a recent interview. They touch upon Stefan's expectations of business leaders, the economics of sustainability investments, the circular model of Lenzing, the danger of short-termism, the conservative nature of the industry, climate change and forestry, and Stefan's personal view of a better world where "being something is more important than having something..." If you ever wanted to peek into the mind of a global fiber company CEO, here is your chance. This podcast is supported by the C&A Foundation, the H&M Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and is part of the #MakeItFeelRight campaign from TENCEL™. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
14 minutes | Oct 30, 2019
INSPIRING INNOVATION: Can a simple phone call make invisible workers visible?
Dr. Lea Esterhuizen, an expert in gathering sensitive data from scared populations, believes we are unwittingly eating and wearing products that have likely been made or assembled using forced labor. Typically the apparel industry has used the "social audit" to address this problem. But social audits provide an incomplete picture of the situation. "There is a serious problem with worker invisibility". And that is why Lea started &Wider. Listen in to hear Lea describe her company’s elegant method to enhance social auditing by gathering anonymous data from workers - making the invisible visible. To paraphrase Lea, fast fashion has been toxic, but it has also taught brands to be fast and innovative. This podcast is supported by the C&A Foundation, the H&M Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and Tencel. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
47 minutes | Oct 16, 2019
INDUSTRY UPDATE: Finance & Innovation - Today’s financing models don’t cut it. We need new approaches that are structured in a way to help reduce risk for all parties involved.
Mike had the unique opportunity to sit down with an impact investor and a vertical manufacturer to share their real world views on what it takes to accelerate the uptake of sustainable apparel technologies in the apparel supply chain. Tanvi Karambelkar, representing the newly launched Good Fashion Fund, introduces the fund’s pioneering approach for providing financing to manufacturers who want to invest in high impact but often disruptive technologies - which are very high risk. Abhishek Bansal, representing Arvind - a vertical manufacturer based in India, describes the challenge of implementing radically new technologies in practice. Listen in as these two experts break down the complexities, share their views on larger industry trends and highlight what needs to happen to transform the industry in the short and longer terms. “The problem with the textile industry is that it is still seen as a niche. But the problems we are solving with our fund are universal...” This is a great learning conversation, if we do say so ourselves! We hope you agree. This podcast is supported by the C&A Foundation, the H&M Foundation, The Rylander Foundation, and Tencel. It is produced in collaboration with Ecotextile News.
Terms of Service
Your Privacy Choices
© Stitcher 2023