This blog entry will be a reflection on the guest speaker from Globe Hope. After the lecture I was not quite sure if I had just listened to a lecture or an advertisement. The Inka Honkanen maybe did not realize that the audience mainly consisted of future sustainability experts. The presentation was lacking something essential that would have made me believe in the company. I have to say that I was not very familiar with the company, its mission or practices beforehand, and for me the company stayed on a very superficial level.
Globe Hope claims to be a responsible company because they use recycled textiles. Looking at the issue from an environmental perspective it seems right, but from a social responsibility point of view I have my doubts. The clothes can tell a story, but where do they really come from? What if the story is something the customer does not want to hear? In the textile industry issues such as child labour and sweatshops often play a role. For manufacturers in the normal supply chain it is very difficult to trace back the contractors or sub-contractors. It must be impossible for Globe Hope as the manufacturing has happened years ago when they acquire the material. Likewise, the bag made out of army clothing has probably been worn by a person who killed people during the Second World War. Does a sustainably conscious person really want to use such a bag?
For me a truly sustainable and responsible company is triggering change in the bigger system and works against the normal norms. Globe Hope does not quite fulfil this requirement. They launch twice a year a new collection. Similarly to H&M and its Conscious collection for the spring 2013, Globe Hope has its own collection inspired by the city life in Helsinki. Also serving corporate customers and making business gifts for them is following the norm within the industry. The purpose of the b2b partnership is to boost the image of their customer as being a sustainable company raised a few eyebrows in the audience. I started feeling that an internal battle of values versus making profit was won by the economic enthusiasts. Globe Hope is a business just as any other with first and foremost profit-making aims. In addition to that, in the presentation transparency and reporting was not touched even though they are in my opinion essential for a sustainable company.
However, it should not be forgotten that waste is one of the biggest problems our planet is facing. Companies who work with waste create value out of an existing material that has no value for someone else instead of producing something completely new and using the scarce resources for that. The principle and the idea behind the company are good, and the fact that the public is interested in the company is giving hope also. Globe Hope might have changed something at least for a small minority. And rust has a lot to do with emotions – maybe one day through marketing and word-of-mouth I start trusting in the company.