Watch Made with Respect Founder and CEO Susan Stevens discuss sustainable fashion, environmental preservation and the health of future generations at the upcoming San Francisco Sustainable Fashion Week International this coming April 27! 

 

Transcript

Firstly, thanks Sandra and San Francisco Sustainable Fashion Week International for inviting me to be a participant of the Experts United Conference.

My name is Susan Stevens, I live in NZ with my husband and 3 children aged 6, 9 and 12. I travelled extensively in my 20s with my husband visiting many countries throughout Europe/UK, Africa & Asia, the US and Australasia.  From my travels I’ve been inspired by the many vibrant cultures and contrasting landscapes.

I have always loved spending time outdoors and at the beach and now with our children we spend almost all our free time in the water surfing and if there’s no surf you’ll find us at a skatepark. I have a huge appreciation for our environment; for the ocean & wildlife and I am passionate about helping to protect it.

In 2018 I launched Made With Respect, but my journey really started when I left behind a successful corporate career after experiencing a suppressive work environment and learning the importance of empowering and enabling others having been disempowered and disenabled.  

In 2014 when I launched my first business working with artisan brands and overseas suppliers, I saw first hand the transparency (or lack of) in supply chains.  I saw the difference in quality between mass production versus craftsmanship. Through my work over the past few years I’ve become aware of the negative impact we as consumers have on our planet, it stirred a passion within me to create a business that made a difference whilst supporting and enabling others with a shared vision.  

We are living outside our means, depleting natural resources; like forests, air and water faster than the planet can renew. By 2030 two planets could be required to provide the natural resources needed to sustain our current lifestyles.  We only have one.

Add to that the WWF 2018 Living Planet report which shows evidence that nature is dying with 60% decline in the animal population across the planet, 83% decline in freshwater species and 90% of seabirds consuming plastic.

Alarmingly, if we continue with the current rate of plastic waste there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.  

We have to stop burying our heads and being ignorant of our behaviour because unless we change, our future looks bleak. Made With Respect, a proud partner of 1% for the planet, is a platform that champions sustainable brands whilst also educating and informing consumers of the crucial role we play in the future health of our planet.  

Brands who Made With Respect partner with design and manufacture sustainable products across self-care, fashion, home and outdoor.  To partner with us, they must fall within our pillars;

  1. Being devoted to craftsmanship; making quality products that last and can be passed down through the generations
  2. Operating with a transparent supply chain; from how brands source ingredients or raw materials to good working conditions with no child labour
  3. Using natural materials & natural ingredients without toxins and chemicals
  4. Being mindful of recycling, upcycling, regeneration and reduction of waste, embracing renewable resources and preserving the environment
  5. And contributing to make the world a better place, being more than a profit driven operation

We have amazing brands, located from all around the world, who are giving back on so many fronts, not only are they operating in a circular economy, minimising waste and making the most of resources but many are contributing part of their profits to worthy causes or supporting disadvantaged communities.  

We absolutely have to embrace these brands, we have to shine the spotlight on them and make them the example.

The statistics are very real, there is enough research now to prove the way we manufacture and consume is not sustainable for our planet.  Consumerism is at the heart of the problem; through irresponsible and disposable consumption habits we are driving the market and destroying our natural resources.  For change to happen, we as consumers, need to understand the part we play and we must demand more from companies that we transact with.

Socially conscious businesses are proving that you can earn a profit while still being respectful to craftsmanship, people and our planet.  They are the game changers.

I created Made With Respect to shine the light on brands who give a damn about our future, and through MWR.Movement, we are educating and informing consumers in the crucial role we play in the problems our planet face and through taking consistent conscious actions we can be part of the solution.