Transparency: the hope for sustainability

We need to stand for transparency to achieve a real sustainable system.

We need transparency, indeed. In the financial sector and in the public practices of course. But also in our business and sectors. To defend the transparency principle helps to create a sustainable system. To show the point, I will use fashion industry to explain how transparency can help.

It is crucial to pursue the innovation within business models in order to achieve sustainability (Kant Hvass, 2015: 11; Fletcher, 2010; Fletcher, 2014). Among many features, one option is to be open to cooperate and create new associations  (Kant Hvass, 2015: 27; Molderez et Van Elst, 2015: 112). Yet, to achieve any big change, we need to be transparent.

As discussed in a round table hosted by The Guardian about sustainable and ethical fashion (Payton, 2013), the social fashion enterprises should bring new values and practices into their business such as transparency which would open an easier way to trace the sustainable practices and business chains. For that, an option is a clearer labelling where it can be shown the sustainability in the materials, practices and chains within the business. Thus, besides a better way to identify sustainability and it would be a clearer path for customers to find this brands.

Transparency also is a way to be opened to cooperate with other brands, designers and business. First, because it is a way to share best practices (Payton, 2013). If brands share their best practices then others can follow and change wider and faster the industry. Thus, government and other institutions can recognise when business have created new sustainable business models and support new ways for other business to find it attractive and adapt it (Morgan, 2015: 91).

All in all, there is a plethora of options on how to innovate in the business model (Fletcher et Grose, 2012; Fletcher, 2014; Morgan, 2015). It is just a matter of accepting the new roles of the actors within the sector and thus innovate the industry.

This is only a small part of the innovation we need. This is just an idea. However, something that we can do, now: To be open to share and receive business models and best practices for a sustainable system that works for the benefit of all. This is something we can do in the fashion industry, within banks, in governments and in our homes as well. So, if we really want a sustainable world is time to be transparent. Maybe a leak of ‘fraudulent’ names from a bank is a good moment to start innovating the system.



Fletcher, K. (2010). “Slow Fashion: An Invitation for Systems Change”. Fashion Practice. 2:2. 259-265

Fletcher, K. (2014) Sustainable Fashion and Textiles. Design Journeys. (2nd edition). Oxon: Routledge.

Kant Hvass, K. (2015). “Business Model Innovation through Second Hand Retailing.A Fashion Retailing”. The Journal of Corporate Citizenship. 2015 (57). Pp. 11-32

Molderez, I. et Van Elst, B. (2015). “Barriers towards a systematic change in the clothing industry. How sustainable fashion enterprises influence their sector?”. The Journal of Corporate Citizenship. 2015 (15). Pp. 100-114

Morgan, E. (2015). “’Plan A’ Analysing Business Model Innovation for Sustainable Consumption in Mass-Market Clothes Retailing”.  The Journal of Corporate Citizenship. 2015 (57). Pp. 73-98

Payton, J. (2013). “A sustainable model fashion”. The Guardian. Available at [Last accessed on April 12, 2016]


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