In this series with Testex, Ragtrader looks at trailblazers in the sustainability space. Eloise Bishop is head of sustainability at David Jones and Country Road.
What is your day to day role?
My team is responsible for the group’s overall sustainability strategy, so my day to day role can be a mix of anything from strategy and reporting, to a deep dive into circular design principles or climate impacts.
We work to embed the Group’s sustainability program, the Good Business Journey, across the wider business, which allows us to work with the amazing team who strive to push their sustainability agenda above and beyond.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
Having worked in sustainability for 20+ years, I’ve seen this area become far more mainstream than it once was.
However, there is still so much work to do and we will need to continue adapting to risks and opportunities as they emerge.
While there are often moral and ethical reasons for businesses to invest in a particular area, it’s also important to build a case from a risk or commercial perspective.
Where would you like to see the industry head?
Ideally, longer term, I’d like to see responsibility for environmental and social impact becoming integrated into business as usual. But I think it will be a while before sustainability professionals do themselves out of a job!
For a company that is committed to becoming one of the most responsible retailers in the world, it’s incredibly rewarding to know that our programs have very real and tangible benefits across all touch points.
From the Better Cotton Initiative cotton farmers who are better able to support their families, the improved soil and farmer health that comes as a result of organic farming methods, to the old growth forests that are protected through our partnership with Canopy.
It is heartening to see our brands engaging community on all the hard work we have been undertaking, all the while educating customers on the journey garments have been on prior to reaching shop floors.
What do you see as the biggest change coming for fashion retail?
Operating on a planet with finite resources and growing populations, businesses need to move to more circular systems of production in order to remain viable.
Resources that were once considered waste destined for landfill are now becoming commodities in their own right and are being made into new products.