Mindful Mondays - Sustainable Development Goals for your Fashion Business
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Hi, this is Leekei, and this is a new episode of the Mindful Monday series, a small dose of ideas and inspiration to help you quick start your week. 

In our constant quest for better understanding on how our business can deliver value to people and to the planet, I want to talk today about the Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the SDGs, and how these can be implemented in your fashion business. 

Do you know what these goals are? You might have heard about them in 2015 when these goals have been adopted by the UN Member States Nations. The SDGs are part of a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity in 2030. 

These are 17 goals with a grand objective to provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and for the planet, now and into the future. 

Each goal is defined by a subset of targets. These goals are set for the governments of the UN member states, so as Business Founder, we can of course, not achieve any of the goals by ourselves but what we can do, is to take action towards the achievement of these targets.  

Some of the targets could be an inspiration to build your own targets and define your own set of business operation rules that you can implement in your Fashion Business. Actually all targets could be a source of inspiration, but I chose those that are most actionable for your fashion business.

You can find the details of all the goals and targets on the SDGs on the website sustainabledevelopment dot UN dot ORG 

Today we will look at the targets related to air, water, soil and ocean pollution. 

  • Target 3.9 is the reduction of the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination
  • Target 6.3 is the improvement of water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, water reuse and recycling
  • Target 12.4 is the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, and the reduction of their release to air, water and soil.
  • Target 14.1 is the prevention and reduction of marine pollution.

You can find the full details of each target on the UN website sustainabledevelopment dot UN dot ORG

Does your business have any direct connection with the achievement of these targets? Maybe not a direct connection but certainly an indirect connection through your … suppliers. 

The suppliers that provide you with the fabrics, with the leather parts, with the metal parts...etc.

Of course, in most countries and for most factories, there is a regulatory framework and certifications. But I like to ask my own questions, such as:

What kind of dye do they use? 

How is the chemical waste managed and disposed? 

Is the manufacturing process polluting the air outside the factory? 

How about inside the factory? Are workers exposed to indoor air pollution? 

Is their protection equipment adequate and sufficient?

Is the room sufficiently ventilated? 

Do they reuse or recycle water?

These are some of the suggestions for questions you can ask your suppliers before you enter into a business relationship with them. 

But I am sure you will have lots of other questions.

Make a list. Ask your questions. 

And if possible, spend some time in the factory to see with your own eyes how the product is made. Talk to the workers. 

Be curious, be alert, look around.

Then you can make your own assessment and decide if you want to work with this particular supplier. You might have not checked all boxes but at least you know and you can decide if it is acceptable to you or not.

I know that it’s not always easy to visit a factory but if you can, do it. Maybe you will learn something new and get closer to the workers of this particular supplier. The workers will also be able to associate a face with a company name. 

This makes the whole difference to them and to you.

So even if the SDGs do not directly apply to your business, you can use them as a framework to get inspiration to build a better business that delivers value to people and to the planet. 

I hope you’ve found this episode useful. In a future episode, I will explore with you another aspect of the SDGs.

The objective of Mindful Business Founder is to become mindful of the consequences of our choices and of our business decisions. 

We cannot transform the fashion industry, but we can always take small but mindful actions to make it better.  


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