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Japanese edition of sustainable apparel sector report

March 21, 2014 (Switzerland)

Impact Economy announced the launch of the Japanese Edition of “Sustainable Apparel Value Chains: A Primer on Industry Transformation.” The Primer analyzes the competitiveness and sustainability issues facing the USD 3 trillion (and counting) global textile and garment industry. 
 
“Japan’s JPY 16 trillion apparel, accessory and footwear market is one of the most important in the world, and is unique in that the industry has a particular sensitivity to international trend cycles, the ability of fashion magazines to strongly influence purchasing, and exceptional customer loyalty to prestigious foreign fashion brands,” said Dr. Maximilian Martin, the author of the report and founder of Impact Economy. 
 
The industry has advanced considerably in the past 20 years alone, due in large part to a number of developments:
-The movement from slow to fast fashion—fashion products now move quickly from the catwalk to high street stores in order to capitalize on current fashion trends;
-Production is increasingly shifting away from advanced economies and towards emerging markets—absorbing unskilled labor into formal employment and propping up entire economies; and
-Support for greater transparency is growing—spurred by consumer consciousness, environmental compliance requirements, advocacy groups, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
 
Despite progress, the industry is nevertheless less sustainable today than it has ever been: a point that was brought to global attention by the tragic 2013 Rana Plaza accident in Bangladesh.
 
Supply chains transparency and total resource productivity are needed, and the report identifies a series of key levers that could help achieve this kind of industry transformation, including:
-Any next generation strategy for the industry will need to consider the entire supply chain in order to foster total resource productivity and transparency;
-Impact investing could fuel critically needed upgrades to industry infrastructure;
-Improving working conditions with a particular emphasis on gender and a new level of ambition is a critical component for making systemic and lasting change; and
-Replicating the best practices of leading players could provide a meaningful way to turbocharge efforts.
 
A win-win of raising productivity and competitiveness, as well as social and environmental performance, is possible. But an ambitious, systemic approach is needed.
 
“Moving on sustainable supply chains is the right thing to do, but it is also a forward-looking business strategy. To compete, industry leaders are well advised to heed changing demand patterns and the advent of sustainable supplychains,” said Martin. “Younger consumers from ‘Generation Y’ are looking much more closely than their parents at the origin of the garments they buy.”
 
Impact Economy, the global impact investing and strategy firm, is releasing the Japanese Edition of the report. Taking a systemic industry perspective will soon be one of the key drivers of value for the Japanese fashion industry, this in addition to continuous innovation in materials. The Primer aims to inform the Japanese garment and textile industry and its stakeholders working toward greater sustainability.

Impact Economy
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