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WAKEFIELD – In the latest podcast from Ecotextile Talks, former Timberland chief operating officer (COO) Ken Pucker shares some home truths about the success of current ESG (environmental, social and governance) frameworks in play across the fashion industry.

Pucker, now an advisory director at Berkshire Partners, as well as providing advice to groups pressing for the New York Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act, says the sector has jumped from one initiative to another over the past 25 years in the hope of finding a formula to drive transformative environmental and social change in the apparel industry, but concludes that “it hasn’t worked”. 


“Emissions are up 50 per cent, we now make more than 100 billion fashion items a year and this is projected to grow probably by 50 per cent over the next 10 to 20 years and there’s no evidence that emissions are coming down,” he told podcast host Philip Berman. 

Asked where change can be expected to come from, Pucker said: “It’s not going to come from investors, it’s not going to come from consumers, and it’s not going to come from companies themselves voluntarily because the system incentives don’t argue for CEOs to focus on water usage or eutrophication or CO2 emissions at the expense of profitability.

“My sense is the place it has to come from is re-defining the system rules, which is regulation,” he insisted. 

In the podcast we also explore the potential for New York’s proposed new fashion accountability act (upon which Pucker is an advisor), to lead changes across the US and whether this type of framework could be used as a blueprint for similar progressive laws on fashion and sustainability around the world. 

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