The search for socially and environmentally sustainable business practices in the global fashion industry

Dr Maureen Benson-Rea, Senior Lecturer, Management and International Business, and Dr Michael Lee, Senior Lecturer, Marketing, with Doctoral Candidate Miriam Seifert, Faculty of Business and Economics.

The global fashion industry creates NZ$3.3 billion in sales, yet thousands of its workers have been injured or killed and it is one of the world’s most polluting industries. We are researching how firms are responding to the need for social and environmental sustainability. A recent book, co-edited by Maureen, with a chapter from Mike and Miriam, highlighted the need for socially responsible governance. Maureen and Mike co-supervise Miriam’s PhD research on the slow fashion industry, which shows firms are aware of environmental and social issues caused by over-consumption and production. This connects to research into why consumers choose not to consume. We are interested in how consumer choices against unethical and unsustainable brands affect the market, and why some are unwilling to pay extra for ethical or sustainable products. This will help uncover how firms can contribute to the UN’s sustainable development goals and enhance their dynamic capabilities by attacking environmental and social problems.