All posts by Jordan Early

We knew about reshoring manufacturing, but now business processes too?

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Earlier this year Barack Obama brought reshoring into the media spotlight when, in his state of the union speech he claimed:

“More than half of manufacturing executives have said they’re actively looking to bring jobs back from China, so let’s give them a reason to get that done.”

The stats add up as well. America is seeing somewhat of a resurgence in its manufacturing sector. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, 54 per cent of executives are planning on or considering reshoring roles they had previously moved overseas. This figure is a marked increase on 2012 numbers where only 37 per cent suggested they we considering making such moves.

It’s not all talk either. While the figures above refer only to intentions of reshoring, the same BCG study outlined that more firms are actively reshoring workers than in previous years. In 2012, only 7 per cent of firms reported they were reshoring roles, the latest study suggests that 16 per cent of firms are currently bringing jobs back to US soil.

The Wheels Turn Again

After a decade of decline starting around 2001, US manufacturing employment hours and earnings have begun to steadily climb in recent years. There are a number of proposed reasons attributed to this resurgence.

Firstly, the cost of producing in the traditional outsourcing hubs of China and India has been rising over the past decade. As these markets mature and more citizens move towards a middle class existence this trend is likely to continue.

The cost of producing at home has also contributed to the increases in manufacturing activity in the US. Energy costs in the US, one of the greatest cost drivers in the manufacturing industry, have dropped greatly in recent years. This is thanks in part to fracking, which provides cheap energy and has the US on track to once again become the world’s largest oil producer by 2017.

The shift to home production has also been catalysed by consumer preferences. Large retailers like Walmart and Costco have made commitments to source more products from the US in order to match consumer sentiment, which is showing a preference for domestically produced goods.

Manufacturing Sure… But Business Services?

New research from The Hackett Group is suggesting that the tendency to reshore is not limited to the manufacturing sector. The report highlights that decreased labour costs, lower employee turnover rates and proximity to company headquarters are sparking a drive for US firms to bring finance, IT and other business services back to home soil.

The Hackett Group’s study takes a further step of analysing potential locations across the US for reshoring activities to take place. In the company’s own words, the report is deigned:

To reflect the decision criteria used by companies today to select a destination for establishing Global Business Services centres, The Hackett Group’s Global Research Centre analyses 42 countries based on more than 30 key indicators. Five principal dimensions are taken into consideration when calculating factors that may be used to determine location choice. These are:

  1. Economic considerations: Location choice is primarily determined by labour arbitrage. In addition, office rent, telecom costs and other major cost components are considered.
  2. Business environment: Ease of doing business, wage inflation, economic health, tax burden and quality of life.
  3. Workforce quality: Availability and quality of the labor force in the context of factors such as the flexibility and business-friendliness of local labour laws and regulations.
  4. Infrastructure: Although greatly improved over the last decade, infrastructure quality (office, electricity, transport) may still inhibit location attractiveness when travel time is excessive, services are unreliable or costs are prohibitive. Though weighted to a lesser extent, this dimension is also taken into consideration.
  5. Risk assessment: Factors that may be hurdles to reliability and costs, such as potential for fraud, risk of political and social unrest, weak protection of data and intellectual property.

To access an abstract of the Hackett Group report click here.

As a postscript, it’s important to note that this recovery is only moderate and we are unlikely to see manufacturing employment numbers in the US rival those of the 80’s and 90’s (we’ve got technology to thank for that), but the developments are certainly encouraging for US job seekers.

Can social accounting change our supply chains?

Olinga Ta'eed speaking at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit

I’ve said this before, but I think we get the supply chains we deserve.

As consumers we want the cheapest possible clothes, mangos in the middle of winter, low cost technology products and effective cosmetics.

When you couple these consumer preferences with the fact that the major players in our supply chains are ultimately answerable to shareholders whose sole motivation is a dollar return on investment, a level of unscrupulous supply chain behaviour appears inevitable.

We can blame big companies, CEO’s, CPO’s, suppliers or third party contractors all we want, but under the current model, consumers have to take some responsibility for what happens in our supply chains. It’s consumers that drive the competition and at the moment that demand seems to be based around convenience and price over everything else.

Are CSR and profit diametrically opposed?

Reading and writing endless stories on unethical supply chain practices has prompted me to think on these market dynamics a lot and to be completely honest, I struggle to come up with an answer as to how we can integrate social concerns and ethical business practices into a model that is in its very essence, profit driven.

For me, the two seem to be at odds with one another. That’s why I was interested to hear Professor Olinga Ta’eed speak about the importance of social accounting and including social metrics in our company reporting at the Procurious Big Ideas summit two weeks ago.

For a long time I’ve been sceptical about companies’ commitment to CSR and ethical corporate behaviour, they’ve always looked a little fluffy to me. Sure, it looks great on a webpage or in a brochure, but I can’t help but feel the majority (not all) of these initiatives are window dressing for marketing purposes or simply box ticking for the benefit of an audit.

I believe the reason that CSR initiatives have been fluffy for so long is that it is intrinsically difficult to measure something so subjective, so sentimental and we all know that (brace yourself for a painfully over used business mantra) “if you can’t measure it you can’t manage it”.

A shining light?

Olinga and the team at Seratio have set out to address this predicament with the development of a Social Earnings Ratio (S/E). A business metric designed to provide an insight into a firm’s social performance. The S/E metric claims to:

“Harness the full breadth and depth of information in the social impact marketplace to create visualizations that uncover key insights, translate any index or metric into a comprehensive set of measurements generated specifically for you. The S/E metric can be applied to whole organisations, projects and processes across public, private, third and community sectors.”

It is hoped that the S/E metric will be rolled out to one billion businesses by 2020. It has already gained traction in the UK with the Social Value Act 2012 and the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

The Model T Ford

As I mentioned earlier, social reporting is very much in its infancy. Many firms try to report on it, but the lack of a common metric, or group of metrics, has meant there has no been real standard for reporting success in this area. This combined with the vast amounts of time and resources required to carry out these initiatives had lead to an approach of reporting social value that has been piecemeal at best. This is precisely why the S/E metric was designed with the following parameters in mind, price, consistency, comparability, speed and accessibility.

Olinga outlined that the S/E metric can provide a window into a firms social performance in 10 minutes and for a cost of only five pounds.

It may be early days now, Olinga referred to the SER as a model T Ford for measuring social value, but perhaps if can we start to generate solid comparable social metrics, consumers will start taking companies ethical performances more seriously when considering purchases. Achieve this and perhaps it’s possible to envision a more sustainable and just global supply chain.

Electrolux has 6500 people working on Big Ideas today

Big Ideas? How’s this for a Big Idea? On 11 May, thousands of Electrolux employees across the world began a 72-hour innovation-fest designed to develop new ideas for the future of fabric care. 

Electrolux iJam

The initiative, named iJam, is a crowdsourcing event where employees are encouraged to collaborate with one another online to come up innovative product improvement solutions that can be integrated into Electrolux’s business.

The event is facilitated through software platform that connects employees across the globe. The program enables participants to raise ideas, collaborate with one another and to comment on and promote the ideas that are raised.

While all ideas generated are fed into the company’s product development team for consideration, there are also winners! Once the 72 hours is over, a team of product developers will select the 20 best ideas, which along with 10 ideas voted in by participants, will be presented to the company’s management team for consideration. The management team will then select the three ideas it believes have the strongest commercial impact and will commit resourcing to further developing these ideas.

Last year’s iJam project had over 6500 participants, generated over 1500 ideas, 8700 comments were posted and 11,500 votes were cast. As a testament to the success of the initiative, two of the three winning ideas from last year’s iJam are now in mainstream development at Electrolux.

While iJam is reserved for internal employees, the firm runs another initiative, the Electrolux Design Lab, which drives innovation through external crowdsourcing initiatives. The Design Lab encourages design students from across the globe to contribute product ideas and developments to Electrolux.

This cross-functional approach is a great example of how innovation can be implemented even in the largest of organisations.

The ideas that are generated through this initiative have already undergone a significant vetting process. Ideally, a person comes up with an idea that is reviewed by someone from marketing, someone from product design, some from procurement etc. etc. Based on the feedback gained, the ideas are altered, meaning that by the time they reach the management team, each idea has already been exposed to a fair level of criticism and cross-functional thought.

It’s a great idea. I look forward to hearing the results of their work!

Got a Big Idea of your own? We want to hear it (provided it’s less that 60 seconds)! Find out more here.

As a Procurious member you can access our exclusive Big Ideas Summit video content online – just join the Group page to view.

Big Ideas: How to Deal with Monopoly Suppliers

How to Deal with Monopoly Suppliers

I feel like I’ve written a lot about Chris Lynch’s speech at the Big Ideas Summit, but the Rio Tinto CFO’s keynote was packed with useful information and provided some great ‘outsiders’ perspectives on what procurement, as a function, is capable of.

So… I’m going to bring up one more point he raised (I promise this will be the last).

Chris recounts the story of when his company was faced with the challenging situation of a monopoly supplier. The supplier was critical to his organisation’s operations and ultimately, its success. There was no one else in the market that could possibly do the job this supplier did and the supplier knew this. A competitive bid was impossible, the price was set high and the room to negotiate was almost non-existent.

If you can’t beat them, be them

That was until the procurement team came up with the innovative idea of creating what Chris called a virtual competitor.

Chris goes on to detail the steps the team took to drive this initiative; an initiative Chris stresses, was conceived and driven by ‘procurement and procurement only’.

Essentially, Rio Tinto called the monopoly supplier’s bluff. Rio Tinto’s procurement operations put together a team and tasked them with determining the cost of creating a new business that could produce the exact product the monopoly supplier was providing them.

Their efforts were meticulous from end-to-end. Raw materials costs were calculated, as was the cost of fabrication and warehousing. The team built a full end-to-end supply chain and cost structure for this good (all conceptual of course).

Now you know where you stand

By undertaking this process, Rio Tinto got a real understanding of what a ‘fair price’ might be for the product they required. But more than that, they sent a stern message to the monopoly supplier that they’d done their research and if need’s be, they could make arrangements to begin producing the product themselves.

This obviously brought the supplier back to the negotiating table and put some real competitive tension back into a relationship that had previously been very one sided.

Obviously, this is not a move that can be done by every business. Rio’s size, access to resources and the strategic importance of this particular contract made the project possible. But it does highlight that when faced with a seemingly unsolvable situation, empowering your people to think outside the box can produce real tangible results for your business. These are the sorts of innovative approaches I’d love to see more of in the procurement space.

And here end my tributes to Chris Lynch’s Big Ideas speech.

Big Ideas? I’m sick of hearing about organisational silos

Free yourself (and your team) from organisational silos

If there is one comment at conferences that kills me it’s the old “we work in siloed organisations” argument. How many times have we heard this? Your boss, conference speakers, the pages of the Harvard Business Review and countless business ‘self help’ books have discussed and debated this phrase ad nauseum.

To be honest, I’m over it. Someone mentions silos, everyone agrees they are bad, then, in the same gasp of breath, we move back into talking about how we can strengthen procurement’s image within the business (often at the expense of another function) or we start a debate over which metrics best represent our existence as a function and the silos we just outlined as problematic are further reinforced.

Hopefully procurement will be gone in 2030

My cynicism aside, I did hear something at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit last week that gave me some hope. When asked about where he thought procurement would be in 2030, Chris Lynch, the CFO of Rio Tinto said… Gone (as in it will no longer exist). The crowd of largely procurement professionals raised a collective eyebrow.

Chris went on to highlight that functions (or silos as we so often refer to them as) are not necessarily be the ideal way to drive change and innovation in an organisation (particularly one as large as Rio Tinto). He even went so far as to suggest that large organisation may even stifle innovation and stressed the need for intrapenuers to break down these barriers.

Chris’s comments, along with a few other sound bites I took away from the day got me thinking about traditional organisational structures and how unproductive they are.

It’s not about delivering procurement value. It’s about getting stuff done

We’ve all had that feeling at work when know something could be done better, a process improved, a step removed, whatever it may be. But more often than not, internal bureaucracy and politics end up shutting these ideas down before they ever get legs.

Our current organisational structures require workers with improvement ideas to first speak to their manager (who is normally busy with myriad other tasks) about the problem. Once the manager is convinced it’s a good idea, we proceed up the chain to achieve the required consensus. This process is slow, time consuming and ultimately disengaging, it’s easier just to let the idea die than to jump through the requisite hoops.

The ideas that actually make it through this arduous process are not necessarily the best business ideas either. They tend to be the best procurement/<insert function here> ideas. Our consensus gathering and approval processes mean that ideas are reviewed and processed through a procurement lens. We ask ourselves ‘will this initiative be good for the procurement function?’ (or more cynically, will this initiative help me achieve my KPIs) rather than ‘are we fixing something that IS broken or are we developing a revolutionary new idea?’

How often have good business ideas been stifled because it’s “not within procurement’s remit” or “this is going to shake the boat with the finance team”?

I’ve been going to procurement conferences for more than a decade now and I’ve heard the endless argument about how everyone forgets about procurement’s value and how no one understands how good we can be. But are we creating a rod for our own back? When will procurement stop solving ‘procurement problems’ and start getting stuff done?

Who cares where good ideas come from?

Chris Lynch’s insights hint that there is hope in this sphere, he said, he doesn’t care where good ideas come from, procurement, finance, operations, who cares? A good idea is a good idea and we should act on good ideas.

Perhaps a flatter organisation structure (not dissimilar to what we’re seeing in the tech and start-up space) is the answer.

To me, a flatter functionless business (or least a business with less functional hierarchy) could empower staff by giving them more autonomy to act decisively. Autonomy to act spreads leadership throughout the business and removes the culture of protecting your (or procurement’s) patch from a business.

We need to remember we ARE working towards company goals, not procurement goals and ultimately the way we serve our customers, not our bosses, is the mark of a strong business. Maybe cross-functional teams are the answer today but, in support of Chris Lynch’s idea, I’d like to hope that no-functional teams are not too far off.

Big Ideas – The best procurement panel discussion I’ve heard

Wow! How on earth do you write that session up?

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I’ve just sat through a panel discussion around where the procurement function is headed in the lead up to 2030. This might sound extreme but it was the best procurement panel discussion I’ve ever heard.

From redefining business models, removing ourselves from the grasps of the finance function, being the central conduit to delivering social value through to disappearing all together. If I was to sum procurement’s future up in a word it would be immense.

The panel consisted of Tim Hughes from Oracle, Olinga Ta’eed, an entrepreneur, investor and social activist, Giles Breault from The Beyond Group, Jason Busch of SpendMatters, Nic Walden from The Hackett Group, Lance Younger from Statess and Rio Tinto’s CFO Chris Lynch, so it was an all-star cast to say the least.

Full video of the discussion will be online over the coming days, so I’ll keep my commentary short, but here is a brief rundown on the insights the panellists had to offer.

Giles Breault: Suggested that while there are still significant gains to be made within our businesses, the true value procurement can provide the organisation is in opening up supply relationships and enabling our businesses to leverage external innovation.

Tim Hughes: Highlighted the challenges the function faces in attracting new talent. According to Tim, the profession is aging and more people are retiring from the function than are entering it. How do we attract the right people to procurement and how do we motivate them once they are in were questions he posed?

Lance Younger: Echoed Giles’s sentiments by saying that procurement will be responsible for fundamentally changing the way businesses operate. According Lance, procurement can alter business models by connecting organisations and enabling suppliers and buyers to work together on mutually beneficial, collaborative projects. The old buyer vs. supplier mentality will be gone.

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Nick Walden: Suggested that procurement will struggle to provide value beyond cost so long as it is answerable to the finance function. Finance’s mentality is dollar driven and procurement can offer so much more than that. The theme of social benefit was positioned throughout the discussion and procurement was seen as as the gatekeeper and catalyst to these sorts initiatives.

Jason Busch: As well as providing a fantastic analogy likening procurement’s progress to the evolution of the Porsche sports car’s transmission, Jason suggested that we are on the verge of a golden age of procurement for the SME market. He pointed out that out traditional procurement technology has been almost exclusively developed and targeted at large organisations. The evolution of new technologies like Amazon for Business provides instant benchmarking for small and medium sized organisations. It essentially an e-procurement solution for SME’s he argued.

Chris Lynch: Following on from his brilliant keynote speech, Chris took the opportunity of the panel discussion to forward the idea that, in the future we should strive towards an organisational framework where procurement (and other functions) goes largely unnoticed. He suggested that value should be seen as value regardless of where it originated. We need to think about business value, not procurement value or finance value he said. Chris also highlighted that social media platforms are the ideal medium for these ideas to be shared and developed.

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Olinga Ta’eed: According to Olinga, every government in the world is looking to procurement to change its society. He believes that the way we buy things has the power to change people’s lives and that procurement is central to delivering this social value and change. He referenced new social value acts in the UK and legislated CSR contributions in India and Indonesia that are changing lives in those countries. Olinga also suggested that in 2030 our accounting standards will be altered to report social impact as well as mere dollar values.

Well, there you have a very brief rundown of a fascinating panel discussion.

Be sure to check in on Procurious to see the full recording of this session. I guarantee you wont regret it.

What can Procurement learn from UBER?

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I’ve just been listening to Chris Sawchuk from The Hackett Group give a keynote speech about the need for agility and flexibility within procurement operations.

Chris stressed that in a business environment where markets are constantly changing (oil prices, exchange rates etc.) the need for organisations to adapt and move quickly has never been more important.

But what does all this mean for procurement? According to Chris it means being more customer centric and it means delivering value beyond cost savings.

Chris detailed that procurement’s moment in the sun as a cost cutter is coming to end. Particularly now that economies are starting to emerge from the crisis, revenue generation is again taking centre stage and procurement needs to offer more than simple cost cutting initiatives.

Chris said that organisations need to start focusing on driving innovation and that the key to doing so lies in leveraging a more customer centric approach. He positions UBER as a great model of customer centricity, UBER puts control back into the customer’s hand – it’s easy to use, you know exactly what it will cost, how long it will be and there are no hold ups. But again we have to ask, what does this mean for procurement?

The biggest criticism the procurement function has received over the years is not that we are too cost focussed or process driven, it’s that we are too slow and cumbersome. How can we ever expect to serve our customers (internal or external) when we are perceived as slow and cumbersome? Speed and usability are critical and, traditionally, this has not been an area that procurement has succeeded in.

Chris suggested that in order to better serve our customer’s procurement needs, we need to take a more advanced approach to how we classify them. We’ve all seen the classic Kraljic Matrix (strategic, bottleneck, etc.), but this simplification of our customers doesn’t stand up any more. We need to start looking at our customers in a more strategic manner and go to greater lengths to understand what motivates and drives them.

The importance of developing a procurement brand was also discussed in the session. Essentially, Chris highlighted that procurement needs to be more active in the way it promotes itself. We need to ask ourselves how we want to be perceived and then start taking steps towards making that perception reality.

Sigi Osagie’s Big Idea on ‘Unlocking our people’s passion’

If there’s a man more enthusiastic and passionate about procurement improvement that Sigi Osagie I’d like to meet him.

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I’ve just listened to Sigi outline his thoughts around the importance of people in the procurement process at the Procurious Big Ideas Summit. His insights were inspiring to say the least.

Sigi spoke passionately about how while processes and technology are critical enablers for procurement success, ultimately it’s people that make the real difference.

The analogy he gives is a great one. If you or I were to walk into a Gordon Ramsey’s fine dining restaurant and were given full access to every kitchen utensil in the building (read: procurement technology and tools) and even provided with a recipe written by Gordon himself (read: procurement processes), the food we would produce would likely be mediocre at best. That’s because its people that ultimately make the difference. It’s the chefs skills and motivations, but perhaps more importantly their passion that makes the food they produce remarkable.

After highlighting his own remarkable journey from an immigrant arriving at Heathrow airport, to a floor sweeper at the Leicester Square Haagen Dazs, to a global director in a FTSE250 blue-chip multinational in 14 years, Sigi stressed the importance of procurement bosses leaving their egos at the door and encouraging their staff to ‘be the best version of themselves’ at work. “Procurement success is all about unlocking your people” he said.

Sigi left by challenging the audience to actively take responsibility for their own growth and careers and to ask themselves if they “were being the best you you can be”.

Definitely some great food for thought.

To join the discussion, post right here on Procurious, tweet Procurious @procurious_ or me @jordanearly123. Remember to include the hash tag #BigIdeas2015.

The Big Ideas Summit 2015 Is Live!

Welcome to the Big Ideas Summit 2015!

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The Procurious Big Ideas Summit is off to a flying start. The venue is stunning, guests are fed and caffeinated and, as I type this Tania Seary, the founder of Procurious is giving her opening speech.

As Tania has just pointed out, while there are only 40 people physically in the room today, the unique nature of this event means that you, the 5000 Procurious members, can contribute to the day’s proceedings digitally.

The event has an incredible line-up of speakers. I’ve already had the good fortune of speaking with the indelible Sigi Osagie and Mark Perera who are both excited to be a part of the day.

The agenda is packed with industry thought leaders, representing the full spectrum of the procurement profession. If you’ve got any questions for us or any of the influencers here today, get in touch and I’ll do my very best to get you an answer.

To join the discussion, post right here on Procurious, tweet Procurious @procurious_ or me @jordanearly123. Remember to include the hash tag #BigIdeas2015.

Here’s to a great day!!

Is ethical fast fashion an oxymoron?

Is ethical fast fashion an oxymoron?

While looking through the agenda of the Procurious Big Ideas Summit, I noticed that fast fashion is one of the key topics that will be discussed on the day. Procurious has asked its members to contribute to the Summit by submitting question, opinions and ideas through the Procurious platform. Click here to find out how to get involved.

So with that in mind, here is mine.

Is there such a thing as ethical fast fashion?

On a recent long haul flight I thumbed through clothing retailer, H&M’s lengthy 2014 Sustainability Report. While the report tracks some great initiatives the company is undertaking to improve its performance from an ethical point of view, I couldn’t help but think that regardless of the steps H&M take to produce their clothes ‘more sustainably’ the very nature of its business (its modus operandi) would suggest that this business could perhaps be considered ‘more ethical’ but could never be considered ethical.

Let me explain my thoughts: H&M is a hugely successful organisation. Its success can be largely attributed to the way the firm has adapted to the recent retail revolution of fast fashion.

Fast fashion involves drastically reducing the time taken for fashion trends to move from the catwalk into stores. But perhaps more importantly, it involves leveraging vast supply chains and purchasing practices that means goods can be produced and transported quickly and cheaply, thus enabling mainstream consumers to access these products more readily.

Fast fashion has long received criticism for driving low wages, poor working conditions and questionable environmental practices in the developing world. However recently, firms (like H&M) have made undeniable improvements in these areas. A discussion around these supply chain practices is best left for another day (or another article) but today I want to take a step back and discuss the sustainability of their business model.

Efficient supply chains practices have enabled those companies involved in fast fashion to produce clothing at incredibly low prices. This, combined with intensive marketing cycles designed to encourage consumers to buy ‘the latest’ fashions at high frequency, have caused many to dub the fast fashion business model and the throwaway culture that has accompanied it as ‘disposable fashion’.

Does doing a bad thing better make it good?

So the question stands: can a company whose business model (and ultimate success) is based on consumers frequently buying high volumes of clothing that they wear for a short period of time before discarding and replacing, ever be considered sustainable or ethical?

To put some context to the numbers, it’s estimated that H&M produce over 600 million items of clothing a year. When you consider that more than 20,000 litres of water is required to produce 1kg of cotton, enough to make a t-shirt and a pair of jeans; that cotton accounts for 2.4 per cent of the world’s crop land, but 24 per cent of the world’s insecticides and 11 per cent of the world’s pesticides; and that unsustainable cotton farming has as been deemed responsible for the destruction of numerous river basins across the world. These include the Murray Darling in Australia, the Indus in Pakistan and the Rio Grande in USA/Mexico, you begin to see the enormous environmental burden borne in order to manufacture and move these products. (Figures quoted above are from the World Wildlife Fund)

As I mentioned earlier, H&M is making impressive steps towards improving its environmental and ethical impact. The firm is committing to using 100 per cent organic cotton by 2020 (currently about 13 per cent of its products are made with organic cotton), they are making commitments to using less natural resources in their manufacturing process and have even spoken with leaders in Bangladesh and Cambodia about improving minimum living wages for garment workers in those countries.

But do these measures actually have a positive environmental impact or are they just minor improvements to an ultimately unsustainable business model? It’s certainly a compelling angle for the firms marketers to play on, but is it actually doing any good?

H&M proudly promotes itself as the world’s largest user of certified organic cotton, but is this something to be proud of? Americans alone throw 10.5 million tonnes of clothing into landfill every year, would it really make a difference if those landfills were full of organic cotton?

I applaud the steps that H&M is taking to improve its performance from a sustainability standpoint, I understand that the company is merely satisfying the consumers needs (read wants) and that ultimately the buck stops with us. But I must admit, the terms fast fashion and sustainability simply don’t sit alongside each other for me.

Fast fashion is just one of a number of topics that will be discussed at the Big Ideas Summit on 30 April. Have your say and submit your questions for the 40 influential thought-leaders that will be gathering for our unique think-tank event.