fashion

100 Water Heroes: Eileen Fisher

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Founder of EILEEN FISHER INC

Eileen Fisher is the founder of EILEEN FISHER INC, a highly successful clothing brand that puts human rights and sustainability at the forefront of their work.

Currently, 70% of the cotton used in their production is organically sourced and, as a way to cut down on fabric and fiber waste, the company has developed a recycling programme. Customers can take their ‘gently used’ clothing back to the store and are gifted a $5 coupon for each returned item. The garments are dry cleaned and resold, with all revenue put towards funding leadership programmes and business grants for women. This system has collected and sorted over 1 million pieces of clothing.

As part of their move towards complete sustainability, the company has launched Vision2020, an overview of their goal to reach 100% sustainability by 2020. This includes a pledge to use only the most sustainable, organic fibers, as well as wool that comes from ethically raised sheep. They are also funding alternative energy sources, and reducing their reliance on air shipping. By 2020, they aim to be not only climate neutral, but climate positive.

Speaking on the role her company has to play in changing the world, Eileen states:

I feel there's a role for EILEEN FISHER to play in this shift by sharing the collaboration skills we practice and helping to create the kind of change that wouldn't be possible if each of us acted alone. When I give talks, I often say that business can, indeed, change the world. EILEEN FISHER has done a lot by committing to organic and sustainable fibers, manufacturing clothing in the USA and recycling our clothes with EILEEN FISHER Renew. There's much more to do. And I believe we can do it. I believe we can make a difference. Business can be a movement.

Eileen is one of our #100WaterHeroes for leading a clothing company that has put human rights and sustainability at the forefront of their work, showing us that businesses can make a difference.

100 Water Heroes: Karin Ekberg

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Global Sustainability Expert, Managing Director and Sustainability Executive

Karin is the Managing Director and Sustainability Executive of Leadership and Sustainability, a company that “delivers a broad and deep spectrum of Consulting, Empowerment, Sustainable Business Models and Software & Tools in the sustainability area.” Karin has extensive experience in sustainability management, and has worked with a number of leading brands, NGOs and governmental agencies.

Karin also co-led the development of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, a trade organisation that connects the industry and works towards reducing the environmental and social impact of clothing and footwear products. Karin was also integral in the formation of ZDHC, a group striving for Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals in the textile, leather and footwear industries.

Karin’s passion for a sustainable future extends to her belief in the #RunningDry movement, and she has been an active supporter of the campaign since the beginning. From the first call for help, Karin has contributed km’s to the tally every single day, and has spread the movement’s message wherever possible. She has a running total of 83,4km donated to #RunningDry!

Karin is one of our #100WaterHeroes for creating a more sustainable future and for contributing km’s to every single #RunningDry tally.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/karinekbergleadership

Twitter: KarinEkberg10

100 Water Heroes: Hilde-Gunn Vestad

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Director Compliance & Sustainability at Lidl Hong Kong Limited

Hilde-Gunn Vestad is the Director of Compliance and Sustainability at Lidl Hong Kong Limited. Originating from Norway, Hilde moved to the Asia Pacific, and has lived and worked there since. Hilde has led a career of impact, and has been involved in a range of sustainability programmes in the fast fashion, sporting goods and retail industries.

In 2003, prior to her work with Lidl, Hilde joined the adidas Group, where she audited a wide range of suppliers throughout Asia Pacific. Hilde has long since been an advocate for workers’ rights, migrant workers’ rights, human rights and women’s rights. Her involvement in this sphere led to her serving on the board the Mekong Club, a group that fights modern day slavery. Hilde is also on the board of amfori, a “global business association for open and sustainable trade.”

In addition to her impactful work in the Compliance and Sustainability field, Hilde has been an avid supporter of #RunningDry since its inception. She has passionately highlighted the movement and its purpose every day, on every platform. Hilde has contributed a massive 71km to #RunningDry, ensuring the movement grows and awareness surrounding the global water crisis spreads.

Hilde is one of our #100WaterHeroes because of her impactful work in Compliance and Sustainability, and for her tenacious support of the #RunningDry movement.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/hilde-gunn-vestad-1b82bb14

Twitter: @HildeVestad 

100 Water Heroes: Graham Ross

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Co-Founder of BlockTexx & Founder/CEO of Kusaga Athletic

Graham Ross is the Founder and CEO of Kusaga Athletic, a sustainable sportswear company that has produced the world’s greenest t-shirt. Graham launched Kusaga after realising the environmental impact of the fashion industry. They have developed four sustainable fabrics and manufacture a variety of clothing including sports, casual and inner wear.

Kusaga’s products offer a sustainable alternative to cotton and polyester garments, the most famous of which being the Greenest T-shirt on the Planet, which requires only 1% of the water used to make a cotton t-shirt. This t-shirt not only uses minimal water, but is also plant-based, compostable and biodegradable.

Graham is also the Co-Founder of BlockTexx, “an end to end recycling eco-system incorporating multi-fibre separation facility, recycled textile marketplace and advisory services to drive significant change within the textile industry and the way fashion brands work.” Graham’s belief in the need for closed loop sourcing in the textile industry led to his involvement in BlockTexx, as he turned to the Internet of Things as a possible solution to consumer textile waste.

Writing on the issue of consumer textile water, Graham noted:

It’s time to move past simply collecting textile waste and establish programs that will enable the development of the textile industry and post consumer textile resource streams. I believe the future is a true closed loop sourcing methodology — from raw materials through to consumer use and kept in play within textile recycling. One where new players are encouraged to get involved along the entire supply chain with future uses going beyond current building products and shop rags.

Graham is one of our #100WaterHeroes for creating the Greenest T-shirt on the Planet, and for highlighting the need for closed loop manufacturing in the textile industry.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/grahamross2

Twitter: Graham__Ross

100 Water Heroes: Alfredo Ferre García

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Managing Director of Hilaturas Ferre

Alfredo Ferre Garcia is the Managing Director of Hilaturas Ferre, a company that turns “textile waste in to the world’s finest quality recycled yarns.” The Ferre Company was founded over 100 years ago and, in 1947, began transforming textile waste into cotton yarn. Ever since, they have been committed to pioneering sustainable materials and processes.

In 2006, they named their system of textile waste collection and recycling The Recover Upcycled Textile System which is now led by a team of experts in the textiles, fashion and sustainability fields. From its conception, The Ferre Company has held the belief that upcycling is the most effective way to sustainably transform the fashion industry. In 2017 alone, Recover saved over 43.1 billion litres of water through their upcycling initiatives.

Under the leadership of the third generation of Ferres, The Ferre Company is a key player in the sustainable and recycled textile sector. Alfredo speaks on their collaborations with important fashion stakeholders, and how using their approach has already saved massive amounts of water:

"The impact of water, electricity and chemical savings reaches very high values. Two years ago we worked with H&M and in less than five months, which was what it took us to manufacture 300 tons of clothing, they saved two million liters of water".

Alfredo is one of our #100WaterHeroes for leading Hilatura Fer and Recover in their goal to transform the fashion industry by upcycling textile waste into valuable products.

100 Water Heroes: Debra Tan

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Director and Head of China Water Risk (CWR)

Debra Tan leads China Water Risk (CWR) in its mission to “foster efficient and responsible use of the China’s water resources by engaging the global business and investment communities in understanding and managing China’s water risk.” Launched in 2011, CWR has become a internationally respected institution in the water risk sector.

Prior to her involvement with water issues, Debra worked as a chartered accountant and investment banker. She has produced a number of reports for financial institutions that focus on the water risks surrounding the power, mining, agricultural and textiles industries. These reports “have been considered groundbreaking and instrumental in understanding not just China’s but future global water challenges.” Particularly notable was a report that resulted in the fashion industry nomination CWR as a finalist for the Global Leadership Awards in Sustainable Apparel. She is a renowned speaker who has delivered numerous key note addresses, as well as having been invited to join prestigious panel discussions, conferences and academic forums.

Under Debra’s leadership, CWR has focused on transforming China’s industrial and agricultural sectors to be environmentally sustainable, particularly because they are the country’s main polluters and make up over 80% of their overall water use. CWR’s long-term vision is to create “an investment and corporate universe that understands and responds to the inherent environmental and business risks of China’s water crisis, working together to ensure sustainable use of water resources.”

Debra is one of our #100WaterHeroes for leading China Water Risk as they seek to create industrial and agricultural sectors that are environmentally sustainable and water-conscious.

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