Sustainability is addressed within the United Nations framework and recommendations, from the original Sustainable Development definition uniting the 3 pillars of environmental, economic and social development to the Brundtland Report as a blueprint for how countries and business companies should manage economic growth with social justice and ecological viability, up to the Global Goals adopted in 2016 towards a better world by 2030.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is introduced as the recommended approach of sustainability guiding organizations to address the environmental and social impacts of business activities at a systemic level. A focus shows how companies have found relevant to simultaneously engage within the “Triple Bottom Line” approach trying to harmonize their effort to become economically efficient, environmentally sound and socially responsible, balancing the three P: “People, Planet, Profit”…
The Fashion sustainability Program will look into how fashion houses can implement integrated practices on “lean, green and corporate social responsibility” together (rather than separately), influencing the 3 bottom lines for sustainability in a systemic way.
Students understand why it is crucial for a fashion brand to drive claims and demonstrations of ecoefficiency towards third-party certification schemes and to have its products eco-labelled and certified. In that light and from that perspective, they approach and consider the promising, pioneering efforts of high-end fashion brands in developing new perspectives in sustainability accounting: Students are led to grasp under which conditions some key brands in the textile and fashion sector have started to re-align their whole value creation process towards sustainability, introducing very relevant practices and tools, often their own new derived tools, in demonstrating about product stewardship through comparisons, benchmarks, using life cycle analyses as a regular tool and leading the field in sourcing development? They are led to discover and explore these calculators, new measuring tools, indexes, such as the Kering EP&L (Environmental profit and loss) or the Nike Index, developed and used by brands to assess the strategic performance of their sourcing, yearly published through CSR reporting, often together with their “code of conduct”, social report and brand performance.
The course brings in concrete case studies and speakers showcasing how this monitoring process within fashion or textile companies is tangible and valid when it anchors in openly sharing the results of their suppliers’ audits, performed with third-party collaboration, including disclosure of factory details, towards complying with transparency? And how these tools, developed within a third-party review process, allow to benchmark sustainability performance and hence, truly advocate responsibility? What is Nike’s disclosure policy through the guiding of an NGO like FLA (Fair Labour Organization)? What are the most convincing tools in simultaneously applying and assessing CSR such as the Higgs Index developed by SAC (Sustainable Apparel Coalition) for brands (Patagonia or H&M using it) to self-assess their sustainability improvements throughout a product’s entire life cycle or to conceive their own scoring scale in communicating a product’s sustainability impact to consumers… How to start integrating ecology into economy, taking notice of these brands abiding by the law but also anticipating, questioning regulation, co-working at legislation through panels, platforms, industry workgroups, think tanks, in a participatory mode with policy-makers, local governments, institutions? How to envisage sustainability through CSR as a business opportunity offering ways to control risks, to reduce cost, to increase market share and boost revenues?
The Bachelor Fashion Sustainability shares its’ two first years with either the Bachelor Fashion Design & Technology or the Bachelor Fashion Marketing, depending on the orientation (design or business) the student wants to pursue:
- Should students choose the Bachelor Fashion Sustainability in design, the 3rd year final collection will consist of a collection adhering to the sustainability criteria.
- Should students choose the Bachelor Fashion Sustainability in business, the 3rd year will consist of a personal final project on sustainable environment in fashion.
The 3 years structuring the course correspond to the 3 levels identified within the Higher Education Framework. The course is constructed in compliance with the Bologna Convention principles and grants participants, upon completion, a total of 180 ECTS (60 ECTS per year). This program is also certified by FEDE (Fédération Européenne Des Écoles).
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