Chapter 3 – It’s more than environmental

My name is Derek Sabori and as a former VP of Sustainability at Volcom who helped brands like New Balance, Billabong, RVCA, Quiksilver, Zumiez and Blue Tomato build and/or strengthen their development programs sustainable, I make a case for sustainability education within your brand or organization.

In the previous chapterI wrote that for too long too many of us have been trying to implement sustainability initiatives before we even have the resources to do so. Or even before understanding whether or not these resources that we did find are the right those. Questions remain: how do we know what is best? Are these statements true? Is it a good certificate? Etc.

And I suggested that to address this frustrating conundrum, we reverse this approach and start by educating ourselves, move to strategic resource gathering, and THEN (and only then), go into activation mode; apply what we have learned and gathered in our product line and operations.

It was an approach I call: Educate – Empower – Activate and it always goes in that order.

“Sounds great”, you say… “But where do we find the education and resources for sustainability?”

I’m glad you asked…

With the knowledge I’ve gained from my 26 years in the apparel industry – 12 of which have been dedicated to sustainability – and the experience of creating sustainability programs and courses and teaching sustainable fashion to students, I’ve developed a system that brings the lessons directly to you; to your brands and businesses.

And who am I? Well, let me take a trip down memory lane.

Fast forward to 1996… I landed my first industry job at major surf/skate/snow lifestyle brand Volcom right out of college (a bit of a crazy trip to UC Irvine that meandered from the civil engineering school in Kauai for a gap semester, then to a course correction to obtain a degree in Studio Arts, to return 3 years later for an MBA; but that is a whole other story in itself) . And after volunteering as a front desk receptionist for a few weeks, I was then looking forward to getting hired in some form of a graphic designer role. However, one part-time role after another eventually found me as a fabric and trims buyer trained 1-on-1 by Richard Woolcott, aka Wooly, then CEO and co-founder himself (it was the time !). And this kickstarted my career in the apparel industry, especially on the product side.

incon truth 2

I would go on to handle merchandising and design and then start a planning and analysis department before I had what I call my flashpoint somewhere around 2006 (maybe you’ve seen the movie too An inconvenient truth at that time?) and realized that – whatever you want to call it – “responsible business, CSR or sustainability” was exactly where I wanted my career to go.

Fast forward a bit, and in 2009 I got that wish and eventually became the head of what we originally called CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) at Volcom. And at the time, don’t hold it against me, I wanted to let it be known that I was in charge of the “environmental” impacts of the brand (spoiler alert: sustainable development is much more than ” eco”…).

As I settled into my assigned (and eventually renamed) role as head of sustainability for the well-known, then publicly traded company, I realized, however, that I had a lot to learn on the subject. Sustainability School Lt Black 1

So, like any good student, I got to work.

Next week, I’ll wrap up my brief for implementing sustainability education in your brand and share what happened next. Tune in to see how it all ends and hear the final plea for your brand to make sustainability education the first step, not the last.

And, don’t forget, I will be hosting a Sustainability 101 Mini-Masterclass Thursday at 2 p.m. Expo Surfing. I hope to see you then. If you’re ready to #learn more and you’ll be there, let’s meet! This QR code takes you directly to a booking calendar for that week or any other. 20 min session 2And finally, have you already picked up my free guide? Scan the QR code here and access my free download:

Get started with our FREE 35 Must Knows for the Apparel Industry guide 1

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