ESG Outlook is Sourcing Journal’s discussion series with industry executives to get their take on their company’s latest environmental, social and governance initiatives and their own personal efforts toward sustainability. In this Q&A, Carlo Parisatto, CMO of packaging and labels company Cadicagroup Srl, explains how companies aiming for sustainability shouldn’t have to choose between price and ethics.
Name: Carlo Parisatto
Name of Company: Cadicagroup Srl
What do you consider to be your company’s best ESG-related achievement over the last five years?
The Ethical Choice Collection. The sustainability approach has been developed by Cadica over several years, and in recent seasons, Cadica dedicated an exclusive collection called “The Ethical Choice,” based on eco-friendly materials—no-waste, recycled, recyclable, biodegradable and organic. The Ethical Choice Collection presents sustainable alternatives together with an innovative design, closer to our customers not only in materials but also with modern solutions.
The new FW 22/23 Collection is produced under the banner of responsibility—fewer in products but richer in details. This is a targeted collection for unisex and genderless style that will reduce waste and samples. We can say that fashion chose fluidity to promote sustainability.
That’s why Cadica Group’s FW22/23 Collection no longer has a dedicated sustainable capsule, but rather made the ethical choice to have all proposals be 100 percent circular.
After that, I’d highlight our certification and sustainability goals. Cadica continues to invest in process and product sustainability, not only with research and proposals but also to obtain certifications that ensure customers the commitment and seriousness behind each project.
For years we have had active certifications such as IS 9001, FSC, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Oeko-Oeko-Tex Leather Standard; we have always worked with GOTS, GRS certified materials. We have a team dedicated to the sustainability project, made up of product and quality control experts who guarantee and supervise every stage of processing.
To underline Cadica’s commitment to improving working conditions throughout the supply chain, we have begun the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) certification process, which should be completed within the year.
Cadica’s new lines and products are proof of the continued research for authenticity, supporting and promoting new languages and values: the respect of the environment, not only the natural one but also the social, cultural and artistic ones.
We aim to evolve the Ethical Choice project, by supporting sustainable activities such as reducing plastic waste and promoting re-usable/sustainable products. For example: substituting all corporate materials by following ethical concepts of recyclable, biodegradable, natural, no waste, re-use; collaborating with start-ups and platforms dedicated to the research of sustainable suppliers in all the supply chain; collaborating with Tree-Nation to help reforest the world and plant new trees in a selected forest (to be considered Cadica’s forest!); educational and training lessons to fashion schools dedicated to sustainability; and collaborations with local artisans to promote the social commitment.
Regarding digitalization, it’s time to look ahead and think about how the “new normal” will impact all the different working areas. To face this new digital era, Cadica Group has launched the Cadica app. Digitalization is also a green choice, saving on sampling and shipping costs. We improved our B2B web shop for customers with additional services, launched the new CadicaApp Collection to let customers browse our latest labeling and packaging proposals, order samples, chat with a representative, and watch webinars explaining materials and technical information for each collection.
How much do you look into a brand’s social or environmental practices before shopping?
Usually, I go shopping with my daughter. She is young and her new generation cares not only about a garment’s materials and composition, but also its origin.
What is your personal philosophy on shopping and caring for your clothes?
I buy only what I need or really like, taking care to choose quality and durable items.
What would you say is the biggest misconception consumers have about sustainability in fashion?
As of now, the social and economy situation is a barrier, not a support, for sustainable production. Industries do not have economic financing to transform their production into green productions; they need to invest in systems, training and materials research, but the costs are too high. For these reasons, the circular economy is a process that only a few strong companies can implement; it is for a privileged group.
Because of these barriers, sustainable fashion is too expensive. But this is not always understood by final consumers who buy a product that has ‘less’ but costs more than general fashion garments. The misconception is that consumers are not ready to spend more for green, so the green option is just for who can spend more. If sustainable fashion were the only choice, it can accessible by the companies and so by all consumers.
What was your company’s biggest takeaway from the Covid crisis?
We are pushing the entire company into a real sustainable mission, focusing on people, materials and behavior.
What is your company’s latest sustainability-related initiative?
Cadica fixed a specific sustainable aim for each SDGS ONU Agenda 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, as they address the global challenges we face. At Cadica, we answer the ONU call every day, but we would like to improve our commitment to perform better in all goals, from the social to the environmental. You can see our latest initiatives here.
What do you consider to be the apparel industry’s biggest missed opportunity related to securing meaningful change?
Change can only be possible when the entire system can access the circular economy, but now that is only a target because of the high costs of required investments. If the sector will receive real economic and political help, it will be able to create new production systems, train the experts and produce strong and extended change. Only then can the final products completely have lower prices without renouncing the ethical solution.