GCU Fair Fashion Center brings together global fashion thought-leaders

24 May 2016

The GCU Fair Fashion Center convened global leaders at the prestigious Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, which supports organisations that are innovating to build resilience and advance more inclusive economies.   

GCU New York’s Fair Fashion Center is proving the business case for sustainability by assisting companies in moving beyond CSR, and embedding sustainable business practices that create economic value while striving for environmental stewardship, social equality and sound ethics. The Center’s work is built upon the recognition that systemic change in the fashion industry requires an approach that is aligned to the industry’s disciplines and reconciled to the bottom line.

A $2.5 trillion industry, fashion is the second largest user of water and second highest polluter, contributing ten percent of carbon emissions. Globally, one in six people work in apparel and women represent eighty percent of the supply chain. While this scale propels fashion to a top rank of global impact, it is its nature of constant reinvention that also becomes an opportunity for rapid re-evaluation and transformation.

The conference brought together executives from global brands with subject matter experts, academics and representatives from the United Nations to drive forward the University’s sustainability and responsible business management agenda.

Delegates were tasked with identifying business solutions that accelerate the incorporation of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by manifesting sustainability through good business. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are new targets adopted by countries to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda.

Discussion topics included responsible business management, materiality and business risks, efficiencies in the built environment, carbon offsetting as a mechanism for social well-being, environment and supply chain opportunities, and considerations in turning waste to worth. The input and guidance from the participants has prioritised the work of the Center and outlined the upcoming deliverables for industry partners.  

Cara Smyth, Vice-President of GCU New York, said: “The GCU Fair Fashion Center is tremendously grateful for this richly unique opportunity to bring thought leaders together to discuss the future of fashion in such a remarkable place. Together, subject matter experts and fashion industry leaders created outcomes that far exceeded the team’s expectations. The University is appreciative for the generosity of The Rockefeller Foundation and its belief in our mission.”