ESG Outlook is Sourcing Journal’s dialogue sequence with trade executives to get their tackle their firm’s newest environmental, social and governance initiatives and their very own private efforts towards sustainability. In this Q&A, Aleks Gosiewski, co-founder and COO of AlgiKnit discusses how a seaweed referred to as kelp is rising as an unlikely savior within the battle towards poisonous yarn.  

Name: Aleks Gosiewski

Title: Co-Founder & COO

Aleks Gosiewski AlgiKnit

Aleks Gosiewski, co-founder and COO, AlgiKnit

What do you think about to be your organization’s finest ESG-related achievement?

At its core, AlgiKnit is devoted to creating higher supplies for an expansive vary of purposes. Our yarns are derived from a seaweed referred to as kelp, which is among the fastest-growing organisms on the planet. It additionally sequesters CO2 because it grows and helps struggle ocean acidification. When it involves manufacturing, we’re proud to have developed a course of that, from our inputs to our outputs, has eradicated the utilization of poisonous chemical substances normally related to fiber manufacturing.

What is your private philosophy on purchasing for garments/shopper merchandise it pertains to sustainability?

First and foremost, shopping for much less is basically probably the most ‘sustainable’ factor that may be achieved and one thing I reside by. If you do select to purchase a product, shopping for second hand is a superb different. If the merchandise is new, be conscious of the place it comes from, what it’s manufactured from, and its finish of life.

How a lot do you look right into a model’s social or environmental practices earlier than purchasing?

It’s important to do the mandatory analysis earlier than shopping for not solely clothes, but in addition any product, to make sure that you’re placing your cash in the best place. I gained’t purchase from particular manufacturers or corporations that don’t align with my values across the atmosphere, human rights, ethics, and so forth.

How do you attempt to reduce the environmental affect of the merchandise you purchase?

With a background in design and having been raised in an environmentally acutely aware family, there are just a few habits I’ve fashioned. Some examples of this are mending, repurposing, or gifting away garments, which helps prolong the lifetime of a garment and permits for up- or downcycling as obligatory. In addition to this, I grew up composting and recycling, all the time ensuring to eliminate issues in the best approach. And lastly, I’ve all the time tried to give attention to shopping for simply what I really need, versus what I need.

What would you say is the largest false impression shoppers have about sustainability in trend?  

Achieving true ‘sustainability’ within the trend trade is basically arduous. When it involves supplies, sure ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘plant-based’ textile choices in the marketplace signify steps in the best path, however there are nonetheless quite a few points related to their creation—together with toxicity, water utilization and chemical runoff. In addition, many shoppers consider that pure supplies are a extra sustainable different, when in actual fact, sure pure supplies like cotton are tough on the environment. Another large false impression individuals usually have about clothes is its means to be recycled. Given the big variety of clothes blends, it’s arduous to make sure that clothes might be recycled on an impactful scale. There’s a statistic from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that claims that lower than 1 % of clothes is recycled into new clothes.

What was your organization’s greatest takeaway from the Covid disaster?

As an organization, we care as a lot about sustainability within the office as we do in our merchandise. In different phrases, we care deeply in regards to the well-being of our workforce. As a response to the pandemic, we tailored new schedules and insurance policies throughout this uncommon interval to account for each the wants of our workforce and firm. This flexibility is one thing we hope to proceed to have as we develop.

What is your organization’s newest sustainability-related initiative?

Tracking our footprint general, past our product, has been an space of curiosity. We are within the strategy of discovering methods to higher acquire knowledge on the waste we produce and methods to enhance that.

What do you think about to be the attire trade’s greatest missed alternative associated to securing significant change?

Not being the leaders within the local weather motion and as a substitute leaning on authorities, enterprise capital and new corporations to guide the change. We have seen a really profitable shift within the meals trade the place investing in different supplies and different recycling strategies has turn out to be broadly accepted. I consider the identical alternative exists right here.