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Sustainia Fashion100 to Identify Best Sustainable Supply Chain Practices

With an increasing number of brands and retailers uniting around the idea of creating more sustainable supply chains, Sustainia, an initiative aimed at implementing sustainable solutions to business practices, is now directing its efforts to the fashion industry.

Every year, the organization puts out Sustainia100, a guide to 100 innovative solutions that represent “sustainable transformation.” The guide offers industry executives, developers and consumers insight into the most promising green-friendly technologies, projects and practices in their respective fields. So far, Sustainia has published solutions for ten sectors including energy, health, buildings and transportation.

This year, Sustainia is working on compiling sustainable solutions for the first ever Sustainia Fashion100, solely dedicated to best practices in the fashion industry.

Sustainia has partnered with Fashion 4 Development (F4D), a global platform promoting sustainable economic growth, wellness and independence, to assemble the first Fashion100.

Evie Evangelou, F4D founder and president, said she felt now was the best time to launch the fashion solutions because the industry is at a tipping point.

“We’re at a point where generations are realizing that if we don’t take a stand, things are going to start getting worse,” Evangelou told Sourcing Journal.

Once compiled, Fashion100 will showcase solutions like dyeing with less–or without any–water, recycling and transportation improvements, or any practice that works toward being sustainable throughout all parts of the supply chain, Evangelou said.

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And the key is to innovate. For example, as Evangelou asked, “How do you deal with the fact that even organic fabrics or natural fabrics take up so much water?” Simply incorporating organic fabrics doesn’t mean manufacturing is sustainable and Sustainia is working to uncover possible fixes for scenarios like this.

“Sustainia has been very successful at bringing industry leaders together that have that kind of experience and are really serious about making these changes and not just doing it for a marketing ploy,” Evangelou said.

Because Sustainia works in ten different sectors that are in many ways interrelated, fashion leaders can work with those in the building sector or those focused on health, for example, and exchange ideas, Evangelou said.

“A lot of issues in fashion industry are related to ill health, building safety, transportation hazards,” Evangelou said. “So fashion workers need to realize that they need to expand their vision into all these other areas. It’s not just dyeing or the actual garment itself, it’s all the factors that went into how that product gets from design to the consumer.”

Evangelou said her hope is that Sustainia will unify fashion industry thought leaders to discuss better ways and better practices that have the least environmental impact.

Sustainia and F4D will be accepting submissions from companies and organizations that want their sustainable solution considered for inclusion through the end of this summer. Ideas can be submitted at sustainia.me. All solutions will be reviewed by experts in the field.

Evangelou said she expects to announce top finalists for Fashion100 later this year and said Sustania will release the finalized guide early in 2015.

The hope for Fashion100 is to raise awareness in the fashion industry, Evangelou said. “We’re hoping Sustainia will inspire people and show them that there are sustainable solutions, and solutions that can be profitable.”

Sustainia’s full guidebook for 2013 can be accessed here: sustainia.me.