CSI Doesn’t End When the Product Leaves the StoreYolandaAD
Retail fashion giant H&M introduced an initiative called “The Garment Collection Programme” that encourages the recycling of textiles. Customers are encouraged to drop off a bag of unwanted items of clothing at H&M stores around the globe. The textiles are then sent to recycling plants where they are sorted for recycling, refurbishment, and redistribution to all those who need them most. This specific CSR initiative aims to steer the brand away from ‘fast fashion’ and towards sustainable fashion that is free from environmental and human exploitation.
In the wake of what has been labelled as the era of global consciousness, consumers and citizens alike have higher expectations of the businesses they support. Society at large is looking for purpose-driven companies that wish to make a real change. This new age consumer behaviour has spread across various industries and has even infiltrated the unwavering global fashion industry. This goes to show how deafening the cries for meaningful and impactful corporate social investment/responsibility have been on the global business environment.
Organisations are under pressure to do a little more giving and a little less taking. They are also pressured to put a little more thought into how they should give back. As much as society is progressing for the better, the world still face countless human rights issues that need the intervention of the private sector. Apart from Covid-19, the introduction of new technologies and innovations has also given rise to new challenges and responsibilities. Organisations are encouraged to develop corporate social investment strategies that are not only relevant to their respective industries, but also align with their overall company strategy. Areas of concern that can make a huge impact within communities include youth entrepreneurship, women empowerment, education, health and safety, and disaster intervention. Enterprises around the world have directed their efforts to one or more of these causes that best suit their long-term goals and business strategy.
H&M is the perfect case study to showcase how an organisation can successfully tap into a CSI niche that perfectly aligns with their brand and industry. For years H&M has committed to reducing their environmental impact. They have incorporated the ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’ philosophy into their supply chain. Apart from its garment recycling initiative, they also use renewable energy for part of their supply chain. And while the fashion outlet has made strides in their commitment to social investment, they still have a lot more ground to cover. H&M’s labour conditions and unsustainable fast fashion business model still raise red flags. But the same could be said about other organisations. This is why organisations are discouraged from conceptualising corporate social investment strategies in isolation. They need adequate CSI expertise, holistic market research, a needs analysis, and a social impact assessment if they wish to create sustainable and meaningful change. Five Tulips is a corporate social investment consultancy that partners with businesses to create sustainable programs that yield both tangible and intangible results.
About the Author:
Yolanda Gossel is the Founder and Programme Director at Five Tulips, a South African based sustainability and corporate social investment (CSI) consultancy. Five Tulips forges partnerships between communities, public and private sectors and individuals for social upliftment and preservation of our planets resources and ecosystems.
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