In consultancy, internal as well as external communication is crucial. Olivia actively works to define a company’s vision, ambition and goals concerning sustainability based on who they are, their culture and their practices. Similarly, Diana stresses the value of ‘storytelling’. Consultancy is very much defined by the client: as clients and objectives change, the sustainability consultant must be able to adapt to the company’s culture to create a story which is authentic and engaging for those within and outside the company.
What Diana and Olivia are constantly challenged with is this crucial question: how to reconcile sustainability with businesses whose main goal is, put simply, profit? How can one develop an effective sustainable vision and goal within a structured system of production for consumption?
In the fashion industry, Diana and Olivia see a big shift happening. This balance between sustainability versus the need for profit, however, is yet to be found. According to Olivia, the quality and use of materials is a significant issue. ‘I just saw this morning that only 30% of people consider the material of the garment when buying it, which I find really surprising,’ she says. In Diana’s opinion, water management and working conditions are also salient aspects. ‘Water is a very tangible asset but it is invisible to the consumer,’ Diana explains. ‘It plays a huge part in the life cycle of a fabric, and the issues around water are both in the quantity used and, as a finite resource, how that is managed in a local area.’