The last time I wrote I was finishing my work with the “Health Professionals Declaration” and wanting to transition my focus to the Retail/Fashion industry to making their operations more sustainable. I am happy to say that I was able to do just that, by working alongside the new BCL sector dedicated to Retail and Fashion known as the Fashion Industry Action Team “FIAT”.
Similar to the “Health Professional Declaration”, the FIAT group is dedicated to connecting with corporate leaders within the fashion industry, such as Chief Sustainability Officers, Governance, etc, to encourage their overall industry to mitigate climate change by accountably incentivizing sustainable business practices through signing a declaration. Ultimately, doing so will urge members of Congress to enact climate solutions in an effective, bipartisan, economically supportive, and equitable way by the end of 2021. I worked alongside this group predominantly within the declaration’s outreach. With this, I researched a list of clothing companies that were leading in sustainable fashion and operations. My strategy was to connect with the people who were in charge of their organization’s sustainability efforts, as I assumed they would be the most knowledgeable about climate issues, and the most willing to sign up. I cultivated a spreadsheet that specified over 25 retail companies, each person in charge of the company’s sustainability efforts, and their email address contact. Furthermore, I utilized LinkedIn to additionally message and get in contact with these key players in effort to set up a meeting with them and discuss their companies’ efforts to become more sustainable through signing the declaration.
Since beginning my work in this area, I will say that while it has been challenging getting in touch with retail sustainability stakeholders, I have made smaller accomplishments that I realize upon reflection. One example of this is creating my own research database of companies and scoring sustainable initiatives that I can refer to in the future and share with others. The hope is for me to one day simulate these initiatives within smaller mid-sized retail companies and integrate them into other industry practices as well. The FIAT “Fashion Industry Climate and Carbon Pricing Declaration” is now live and it has gotten great traction and coverage! Here is an article by ECOCULT that mentioned the fantastic work that this team is doing. You can find the declaration here. Please share this initiative with others.
I am so happy to have begun working toward my career passion, engaging and consulting with the fashion industry to better the practices within sustainability. I have learned so many new methods and ways this specific industry can find better alternative operational practices, which has inspired me to think about how other sectors can additionally integrate similar practices into their industry as well. In relation to personal growth, I have become more proficient and confident in my ability to reach out and network with people surrounding a cause. Before I was hesitant to ever do something such as sending a message to someone on LinkedIn, now I do it with a breeze. Additionally, within networking with an array of different people I have been able to strengthen my storytelling skills. What used to take me 10 minutes to explain, regarding my work for the summer and purpose, now takes me 2 minutes. This ability to pitch something quickly is a skill I know I will need for my career journey but most importantly is a universal skill that can be applied to life. My goal for the remainder of my time is to continue outreach work alongside the FIAT group and begin recruiting other students of color within the BCL internship program.