Kering and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launch separate sustainability curriculum modules

French apparel company Kering has launched a new curriculum to gain understanding of the environmental impacts of student fashion designs, just days after the Ellen MacArthur Foundation moved to place circular economy into International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.

Kering has introduced a new aspect to its long-standing partnership with New York’s The New School’s Parsons School of Design, which will add new modules to the school’s fashion programme tailored to developing sustainability within the fashion sector.

The partnership will see student analyse the impact that fashion has on the environment, using a smartphone app and Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss methodology – which quantifies and measures footprints in the company’s supply chain.

“My EP&L illustrates the power of an Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) analysis and will assist fashion designers to easily calculate better options in real time in order to embed sustainability into their products at the very beginning of the design phase,”Kering’s head of international institutional affairs Marie-Claire Daveu said.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to advocate the importance of sustainability with the next generation entering our industry, we are excited to expand our Parsons collaboration with a view to sharing My EP&L with further educational institutions following the pilot.”

By using the app, students can compare how material choice, sourcing and manufacturing techniques can impact the footprint of jackets, shoes, handbags and rings. The leading 10 students that use these decisions to create sustainable fashion products will have their designs displayed at upcoming exhibitions.

The modules with be offered to students in three senior Systems & Society Thesis sections and two Materiality Thesis sections.

The French company has previous in dealing with students, having also partnered with the London College of Fashion (LCF) to introduce new sustainable fashion modules. Kering has also claimed that the fashion industry urgently needs to improve its supply chain resiliency as climate change inevitably starts to impact the production of vital raw materials like cotton, leather and silk.

Closed-loop curriculum

Kering’s new modules arrived just days after the Ellen MacArthur Foundation partnered with international educational foundation IB to embed systems thinking and circular economy into the foundation’s curriculum across Europe.

Known as an alternative to A-levels, IB curriculums are currently being studied by 1.3 million people across the globe. IB will provide teachers and students with resources that educate on circular economy. From 2017 the new Diploma Programme in geography course will feature aspects on closed-loop models.

Dame Ellen MacArthur said: “The link with education is clear. We need an entire generation of young people and adults alike thinking differently, thinking in circular ways. At the moment our economy is predominantly linear: we take a material out of the ground, we make something out of it and ultimately that product, in the most part, gets thrown away. 

“Circular thinking means considering from the beginning of the process of designing a product, how to design it to fit within a system, and how the materials it contains will be recovered after use.  So it’s an entirely different approach, and in order to apply this at scale across the global economy we need to think differently.”

Last month, a panel convened by the Institute of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (ICRS) suggested that businesses should expand the capacity of corporate responsibility and sustainability job markets, by looking beyond graduates and in-house employees. 

edie’s sustainability skills month

The month of November sees edie shift the editorial spotlight from green buildings to skills. From essential soft skills, to bridging the skills gap; this month of exclusive content will highlight how professionals have honed techniques to improve departments.

Stay tuned for skills-focused news stories, in-depth features and a special Sixty Second Skills article which will investigate how well-known sustainability professionals have developed skills to account for today’s pressing environmental needs.

Matt Mace

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