In September we launched our monthly SDG Meetup in collaboration with SDG House and C-Change. For each Meetup we focus on one Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) and invite entrepreneurs, innovators and knowledge partners to share lessons learned from working toward that specific goal.
We kicked off with SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. At our current consumption and population growth rates, we may need three planets’ worth of natural resources by 2050. So we asked MUD Jeans, Fairfood and Boeren & Buren to share how they are developing more responsible supply chains and consumption practices in two sectors with massive environmental footprints: fashion and food.
Building a circular textile industry one pair of jeans at a time
MUD Jeans founder Bert van Son, shared the company’s mission is to change the fashion industry by producing the most popular fashion item – a pair of jeans – in a circular way. MUD Jeans blends old denim with organic cotton, reuses materials and minimises waste. Consumers lease the jeans, with MUD Jeans retaining ownership of the materials and reusing them in new products. The company hopes that its jeans-as-a-service, subscription-based model will inspire other textile industry players to follow suit.
Using blockchain for fairer wages along a transparent food chain
Fairfood campaign manager Lonneke van Genugten explained how her organisation creates more transparency in our food chain. Fairfood believes that a living wages must come first, as a living income and social rights are instrumental for people to start making more conscious choices. But one of the major issues in the food supply chain is that companies and consumers have little access to data about what wage farmers earned for for their crops, for instance. This is where Fairfood’s open-source blockchain network comes in: by scanning a QR code on a product, such as a pack of coffee beans, a consumer can learn who the farmer is, how much money they made and how the product travelled along its supply chain.
Powering local networks for direct producer-consumer trade
Marije Ebbers, initiator of Boeren & Buren’s Buurderij Zuidas, shared how the Boeren & Buren network addresses SDG #12 by shrinking the size of supply chain for everyday goods. Through the Boeren & Buren online platform, producers set their own prices, which can be purchased directly by consumers. Once a week the producers and consumers meet up at a local pick-up point, the Buurderij, to exchange the purchased goods – ranging from vegetables and dairy products to beer and wine. Next to creating a more efficient and less wasteful supply chain, cutting out the middle man also means the process is less likely to be manipulated to increase profits at the expense of responsible production.
Inspiring the audience to develop new practices and habits for SDG #12
After being challenged by the speakers to think about achieving this SDG by 2030, the audience broke out into groups to brainstorm about their own ideas and solutions. These ranged from participating startups rethinking their approach to sustainability to consumers exploring how they can implement new habits in everyday life. Many committed to making more responsible choices, such as reducing food waste and single-use plastics, leasing more instead of buying, and opting for circular, second-hand and locally-sourced products.