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Our Sustainable Future Panel and Party: Circular Design in Fashion, Auto & Built Environment

By Starre Vartan / Source: EcoChick

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Wow, what an incredible turnout we had at the first-ever Our Sustainable Future event! We were thrilled to see so many old friends (and plenty of new faces too) who were interested enough in learning more about our featured topic:

How the Approaching Circular Economy will Change Design for the (Much) Better.

We teamed up with the incomparable Alden Wicker of EcoCult, who was absolutely instrumental in making this event such a huge success, though sadly she was unable to join us the night-of due to emergency appendicitis! We really, truly missed her.

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Before we got to the panel, our guests had a chance to check out all the cool stuff and interesting info from out sponsors.

Dopper, which makes the world’s most well-designed water bottle (it’s now my go-to), greeted our partygoers at the door with a free bottle that they could use at the event for cocktails and kombucha.

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Dopper “…looks at the impact that our product has and use the Cradle to Cradle concept. We maximize recycling and minimize destruction.” THAT kind of thinking/doing is what we (and OSF) are all about!

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H&M’s area of the party was stocked with gorgeous pieces from the company’s Conscious Collection (above!); the international fashion retailer also brought along pieces from their Close the Loop collection for adults and kids, as well as low-impact beauty products.

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Both at OSF and since the event, H&M has been announcing that they are working towards a 100% circular model—and that they intend to ramp up quickly.

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“We have set a vision at H&M—a really bold vision—to be 100 percent circular,” Brannsten said in a Fashion Positive PLUS webinar last week. “What that means is we want to have a circular approach to how products are produced and will only use circular or sustainably sourced materials.”

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General Motors’ area was a really fun, interactive area where the company showed off how the world’s largest automaker is making huge strides in sustainability (and has been for quite some time)!

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They’ve turned Chevy Volt battery cases into birdboxes (see it camouflaged above at left); and they’ve used recycled plastic water bottles from Flint to make warm winter coats for homeless people. But they have bigger plans as well: GM’s host of sustainability commitments, include using 100% renewable energy in all 350 facilities in 59 countries by 2050, making their HQ landfill-free, and engaging communities in carbon reduction strategies.

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The company’s efforts extend beyond reusing materials: GM has partnered with Herman Miller and Green Standards to repurpose surplus office assets into $1 million of in-kind donations over the next two years.

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Left to right: Lindsay Brown and Starre Vartan, Eco-Chick with Erin Allweiss, the No. 29; Patrick Shaner, H&M; and Charlotte Gilliland, the No. 29.

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Our beautiful space in Flatiron, a part of Splacer’s network, was filling up and people were getting in the mood to hear the featured event of the evening: the panel discussion with sustainability leaders!

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But first our guests enjoyed the highest quality kombucha you can buy, Health-Ade (above), bites from Sweetgreen, and cocktails from Owl’s Brew, it was time to turn their attention to our panel.

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Our panel was made up of four of the most brilliant minds in sustainability we could find, including (left to right) Anna Gedda, Head of Sustainability at H&M; (that’s me next in line, founder of Eco-Chick.com); General Motors‘ Mari Kay Scott the Executive Director Global Environmental Compliance and Sustainability; Lewis Perkins, the president of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute; and Ammr Vandal, associate principal and micro apartment project, nARCHITECTS.

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We brought together this group in order to represent the industries that have the largest environmental footprint—fashion, transportation, and built environment.

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The premise for the discussion was:

What if making stuff not only had less impact, but had none—or even improved our air, water, or soil? The next step in sustainable production is the circular economy. We are leaving behind the old ideas of make, use, dispose and the wasteful world that is the result of that tired, linear thinking. The future is one in which products are made transparently; are built to last; hold value throughout their use phase; and at end-of-life can be transformed, recovered, or otherwise improve the environment.

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Our panel discussion was terrific, packed with passionate details and lots and lots of info on smart ways forward. Our video will be coming soon so you can check it out!

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Then it was time to party! Thanks to our amazing photographer, Rachael Elana for capturing the energy and passion of the evening!

Read more @ EcoChick

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