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Envisioning wellbeing economies through the Australian Fashion Industry Context

Wednesday 29 June 2022 – 16:00 – 17:00 AEST

Moderator: A/Prof Samantha Sharpe
Presenters: A/Prof Alice Payne, A/Prof Martijn Boersma, Dr Monique Retamal, Julie Boulton, Deborah Fisher, Karina Kallio, Aleasha McCallion

The fashion and textile industry is facing unsustainability through environmental impacts of production and disposal and poor labour conditions. These issues are being intensified and exacerbated by the overconsumption and over production of textiles and garments driven by the fast fashion business model. The current strategies of sustainability employed by the industry are leading to some sustainable innovations and efficiency gains, mainly fail to address the fundamental issues of overproduction and overconsumption. This dialogue session seeks to explore alternatives to the current models with a focus on growth towards the potential of post-growth and well-being approaches. Well-being economics places a strong focus on potential and positive narratives and practices of fairness, equality, good social relationships and good ecological, mental and physical health, valuing activities in collaboration, sharing, recycling and upcycling.

This panel discussion seeks to advance the post-growth discussions in the context of the Australian fashion and textile sector and its potential role and responsibility within the global context.

Moderator: A/Prof Samantha Sharpe – Associate Professor, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney
Samantha Sharpe is Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures. Her research focuses on the intersect of the world of work and climate change. This includes understanding the process of business and industrial transition to sustainability, at the firm, sector, and labour market levels. Her particular focus is innovation processes, public policy and employment implications of Just Transition.
Samantha currently leads UTS involvement in an International Labour Organisation (ILO) project on environmental sustainability in the textile and garment sector in Asia and other work on the sustainability and circularity of textiles. She also interested in the public policy settings for sustainability transitions, particularly for labour markets. Green jobs and greening employment have been a particular focus of her work with current projects investigating policy settings for green jobs and green skills in Asia, employment impacts of circular economy and increasing climate resilience and disaster risk reduction in SMEs.
Outcomes of this research are policy development and industry advice around enhancing environmental outcomes in supply chains, supporting of eco-innovative activity in places, the incubation of new technology, and the role public policy can play in achieving just and sustainable transitions.

A/Prof Alice Payne – Associate Professor, Queensland University of Technology

A/Prof Martijn Boersma – Associate Professor, The University of Notre Dame Australia
Martijn Boersma is an Associate Professor in Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking at the University of Notre Dame Australia. He was previously a (senior) lecturer at the University of Technology Sydney Business School. His research focuses on the intersection of business and society. Two of his recent projects examine labour standards in supply chains. The first aims to develop new regulatory methods to improve compliance in the commercial real estate cleaning supply chain in Australia. The second project looks at strategies to improve labour conditions in the Australian cotton value chain. His co-authored book Addressing Modern Slavery (2019), informs a broad audience, including consumers, business owners, company directors and investors about modern slavery and what can be done to address this problem.

Dr Monique Retamal – Research Director, University of Technology, Sydney. Institute for Sustainable Futures
Monique Retamal is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). She has a background in environmental engineering and social research and fifteen years’ experience undertaking research into sustainable urban systems, including for water, sanitation and solid waste. She specialises in sustainable systems of consumption and production in the Asia-Pacific region.
Her research is currently focused on circular supply chains and environmental governance for plastics and textiles. Monique is currently leading UTS’s contribution to an international research collaboration between six research institutions in India and Australia to identify pathways for a circular economy for plastics in India. Monique is also currently undertaking research on environmental governance of the textiles and garment industry in Asia for the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
In 2020, Monique led a research project for the Australian Government investigating the impact of the international trade in waste plastics on marine plastic pollution in the Asia-Pacific region.
Monique’s interdisciplinary PhD investigated the sustainability of collaborative consumption in Southeast Asian cities, which involved interviews with over seventy businesses, policymakers and sustainability experts in the region.

Julie Boulton – Sustainability strategist, Monash Sustainable Development Institute
I am a sustainability strategist, specialising in advice, analysis and implementation of frameworks to strengthen sustainability outcomes, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), planetary boundaries, doughnut economics, circular economy and wellbeing. I work at the level of systems change, building collaborative relationships to collectively design strategies that will drive real impact and embed sustainability practices (developing roadmaps and transition/transformation pathways).

Deborah Fisher – Lecturer, University of the Sunshine Coast

Karina Kallio – University of Technology, Sydney. Institute for Sustainable Futures

Aleasha McCallion – Strategic Projects Manager, Monash Sustainable Development Institute