Challenges

Carbon Footprint Calculation Tools

As designers and educators we find that without an ability to calculate the carbon footprint of our work in industry, it is extremely hard to know that we are making the right decisions in terms of design/sourcing/logistics etc. See http://www.kering.com/en/sustainability/methodology.

Currently there are no tools available either by open-source or by subscription, only methodologies. If we are really to prevent environmental disasters and make the right shifts across all levels, working together and sharing tools like this is critical.

* Impact assessment tools should be available within schools, also not just in fashion!

Comments (5)

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How can this be improved?
Kate Rushton
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  • Hi Stephanie! I like the idea of these tools. Could they also include water footprint and maybe some sort of social scoring of how workers are treated in the supply chain? Could fashion students be involved in the development of the calculation tools? Maybe there could be an ideation hackathon with statistics/data science; business; and computer students to get initial concepts.

    Ana Ramos
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  • Hi Kate! This Tool from Kering does measure water footprint. It is an Enviromental Profit & Loss Tool, measuring carbon emissions, water use, water pollution, land use, air pollution and waste.

    There is also the Higg Index that provides a series of tools to measure environmental and social impact: https://apparelcoalition.org/higg-facility-tools/
    Specifically regarding how workers are treated along the supply chain, they have "The Higg Facility Social & Labor Module (Higg FSLM): a tool dedicated to promoting safe and fair social and labor conditions for supply chain workers globally. It enables manufacturing facilities to measure their social impacts across the value chain. It also assesses the efficacy of social management programs. The Higg FSLM is appropriate for any tier of manufacturing."

    STEPHANIE LAWSON
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  • Glad it is of interest. Firstly, truly knowing the stats/facts of the matter is already becoming a barrier to key decision-making for my own brand. We see often that ideologies can very easily be mis-leading when we lack data, such as 'being vegan does not necessarily reduce your carbon footprint'. These conflicts are damaging and slow our progress in sustainable development. Secondly, as Ana mentions below, it doesn't cover the social/ethical aspects of the product. It would be interesting to compare with B Corp - how they calculate/certify organizations - since they pay attention to both aspects of operations - carbon footprint & ethics. Thirdly, I believe Nike has a similar methodology that I read has been open-sourced and yet I have not managed to find this either.

    How can this be improved?
    Laura Scherer
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  • The carbon emmitted through the production and selling process is just one impact on the environment (on the atmosphere).
    In higher education, a thorough impact analysis should also include negative externalities related to the material footprint in terms of resources extracted and wastes produced.
    Methodologies related to that are Life-cycle assessment and/or material flow analysis:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life-cycle_assessment#Cradle-to-cradle_or…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Material_flow_analysis#The_difference_bet…

    I do not know in how far there are tools for these anlyses in place to facilitate them, that could also be used by students for projects or other purposes. Perhaps somebody else knows?

    How can this be improved?
    Ana Ramos
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  • The challenging part with these assessment tools available in schools is that students lack clear data to input to try them out, so, probably, assessment wouldn't be as good as in a professional context.
    Still, it is true there are advantages: students that are not only aware of the existence of these tools but also clearly informed of how they work, can have a better impact among the brands they will work with in the future, and it may be a plus on their CV.
    Maybe universities could request Kering or Apparel Coalition to give masterclasses on these tools on a regular basis. Not a simple presentation, but a walk-through with real specific examples from real brands: like "we wanted to measure X impact, so we collected this and this data, and the results showed us that Y"...