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Ten things we need to change in the way we implement sustainability Part 1/10

Do you remember when Poland joined the EU? Or the Summer Olympics in Greece? Or when Janet Jackson’s breast was exposed by Justin Timberlake? It was 2004. In 2004 Shrek 2, Spider man 2 (the one with Tobey Maquire) and Troy were in the cinemas. The most popular chart music was by Usher and OutKast. I was 29 years old then.

I am working on becoming a sustainable entrepreneur since 2004. We adopted our first Code of Conduct in 2006. (See our/my history here:

What a long journey. But still, it feels like we are not there, yet. I am not even sure where there is. I am happy that we are on our way. I wish I were happy about having a head start to the most in the market.

But I cannot help of feeling a bit sore. I wish I could take care of my core business, textiles, and be happy that we have the Green Button certification which makes us exceptional.

I am quite ok with the way how my business adopted the growing requirements. I believe we will be quite fine with the upcoming legislation on supply chains for Germany. But laws are not the solution, at least not on their own.

Here is my wish list of ten things all of us need to change to make sustainable and relevant change:

Thing No.1 / 10:

Change our mindset from “They are the problem” to “we master the challenge”

This is one of the biggest issues. We are still LOOKING AT the problem. We see the factories that do not comply and tell them to change and adjust to our superior view on the world. We are in the ivory tower, complaining about the issues of others.

But we must remind ourselves: We started it. With "it", I do not mean the solution. I mean the problem.

We outsourced the risk into countries that were colonized at first. They had no choice but to comply. Later we paid them well enough. So, they happily adopted our behaviour and took over the problems.

Looking back on that history, we should openly admit that we started it and we are still part of the problem. We have just lost the direct link to the problem. Out of sight, out of mind.

Do not get me wrong: I am not against trade. I live from it. International trade is the key to more sustainability globally. But we will only become more sustainable together if we share knowledge, technology, and some of our revenue with our supply chain. The race to the bottom will not make our supply chains better. We must race to the top.

So, let us begin with us: Start spending instead of saving and use it to make things better.

Thing No. 2 /10 will follow in part 2 and will deal the discrepancy between what we committed to and how we deal with it in reality.

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1 Comment

Julian Wu
Julian Wu
Sep 08, 2020

Indeed, seldom we have the guts to admit that we are part of the problem. And based on this viewpoint, instead of saying that we should help solving problems of our factories, we should say, we should solve OUR problems in our factories, just like you have to (pay to) fix the toilet in your own house, if it doesn´t flush. You won´t say, "I didn´t cause the problem, my little boy did", will you?

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