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WAKEFIELD – Our host Philip Berman talks to Magnus Dorsch, head of corporate sustainability at German online fashion retailer About You, and Joyce Tsoi, senior director of the decarbonisation programme at Cascale, for our latest podcast on decarbonising the fashion supply chain.

This final episode of this four-part podcast series, brought to you in association with Cascale – the new name of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition – features a look at the deep and intentional partnerships required for the fashion and textile industry to accelerate greenhouse gas reduction, and how collective action and pre-competitive collaboration can be mobilised to deliver real impact.

Tsoi begins by outlining how pre-competitive collaboration has worked before to help solve large-scale environmental problems in the industry, "Brands come together and they start talking to each other,” she explains, citing the example of work done between Patagonia and Walmart as far back as 2009, which eventually led to the launch of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. “Then they come up with this radical idea about having a universal approach in measuring sustainability performance.”

Outlining recent collaborative initiatives that About You – which has just under €2 billion in sales – Dorsch agrees that this approach can bring significant benefits. “As retailers we have, for example, set science-based targets and engagement targets,” he says. “That means that we have set the target to engage with the third-party brand partners that we work with so that they also set science-based targets.

“Personally, I feel this is a necessary first step to achieving decarbonisation – to set a target, to measure the progress every year, and then see if a company remains on track.

“Having tried different approaches, we have aligned (with our partners) and developed one shared approach.”

Berman and his guests also discuss the challenges involved in adopting competitive collaboration practices at all levels of the supply chain such as conveying to manufacturers the value of joining a particular programme, the speed of change that is required, and how no single organisation can go it alone.

Tsoi touches on the role played by the growing adoption of renewable energy polices as a major route to advancing decarbonisation, although she highlights the effectiveness of the positive impact of European and US markets, she admits that this is an area that still requires significant work in Asia. “There are lots of developments that still have to be done there (Asia),” she tells listeners.

“Manufacturers have to look at energy efficiency, because I think this is the first step where perhaps you can gain your confidence in driving decarbonisation. There are always the low hanging fruits that you can grab from the beginning. And once you have more confidence in running energy efficiency programmes, you can move on to do more complex, medium-term decarbonisation interventions.”

Don’t forget to listen to Episode 1 of the series where our host Philip Berman speaks with Jeremy Lardeau, senior VP of the Higg Index at Cascale, and Quentin Thorel, group head of sustainability for CIEL Textile, talking about the re-branding of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and the importance of ‘measuring for impact’.

In Episode 2 Berman is joined by Elisabeth von Reitzenstein, senior director of public affairs at Cascale and Baptiste Carriere-Pradal, co-founder of the 2BPolicy who advise listeners how best to prepare for new European Union legislation.

And in Episode 3, Berman sits down with Sean Cady, vice president of global sustainability, responsibility and trade for VF Corporation and also elected board director for Cascale, and Andrew Martin, executive vice president of Cascale to explore how best to tackle carbon reductions in the global apparel industry and take a closer look at Cascale’s shift from tools to programmes.

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