Technology Record - Issue 24: Spring 2022

156 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om The fashion and apparel sectors have a serious waste problem. In fact, the fashion industry and related sectors contribute 10 per cent of all carbon emissions worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum. Over the last few years, brands, consumers and entire countries have realised that it is time toditch our wasteful practices. For example, Germany is to introduce a Supply Chain Act, which aims to hold businesses accountable for any social or environmental failures in their supply chains. Consumers themselves have also started to take action. In 2021, K3 conducted a study in which it found that 30 per cent of consumers had boycotted a retailer due to its lack of environmental awareness. With mounting pressure from new legislations and eco-friendly consumers, it is evident that businesses must start to adapt their processes to become more ethical and sustainable – but just how well equipped are they to do so? K3’s latest research surveyed 402 fashion and retail business decision makers (BDMs) and found that while recent events, like the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, have changedhow themajority think about their brand’s sustainability strategy, they have not yet allocated sufficient IT resources to meet their goals. Some 67 per cent stated that their thinking on sustainability has changed. However, only 30 per cent have placed environmental sustainability in their top two IT budget priorities. Meanwhile, less than half of respondents use IT resources to manage corporate social responsibility or company-wide sustainability objectives. And while three in five have implemented some technology or IT solutions to help manage their sustainability efforts, less than one-quarter have fully implemented such solutions. The research shows there is clearly a disconnect between retail and fashion BDMs’ The sustainability conundrum As attitudes to social issues and sustainability change among the younger generations, fashion retailers must adapt to meet their expectations CA S E Y POT ENZONE : K 3 V I EWPO I NT