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McKinsey Reveals Challenges of Driving Sustainable Sourcing at Scale

While sustainability has become a chief concern within apparel circles in recent years, plenty of challenges remain that have prevented industry players from making tangible progress. For one, because sustainability is defined differently across every company, the industry has not established a common standard that retailers and manufacturers alike must abide by in order to deliver significant change at scale.

Additionally, although 55 percent of apparel execs aim to source at least half of their products with sustainable materials by 2025, finding available material remains a substantial hurdle for 83 percent.

In this episode, Karl-Hendrik Magnus and Sara Kappelmark, apparel industry experts from McKinsey & Company, discuss results from the McKinsey Apparel CPO Survey, which revealed purchasing officers’ plans for creating sustainable sourcing at scale. As part of the survey, the McKinsey team interviewed 64 apparel CPOs that have a combined sourcing volume of $100 billion.

Magnus indicates that the major impediments to sustainability’s progress are twofold, with one coming from the consumer side and the other originating from a lack of alignment on frameworks:

“Given that we do not have one common language towards the consumer yet, the demand for sustainability is not as big as it could be. If the consumer was able in a more simple way to understand the degree of the sustainability of the piece of garment she or he is buying, she or he would simply ask more for that and make it a core part of their consumer journey. That is not the case yet. The second hindering factor is that among industry participants, there’s a huge willingness to work together, but it requires a lot of work on getting common frameworks, common language and common KPIs in place.”

With these hindrances becoming a stark reality within apparel, the pace of collaboration to launch sustainability-driven initiatives remains too slow.

Listen to the episode to learn more about how the C-suite can prioritize true change in this area despite these challenges, and ultimately drive sustainable sourcing at scale.