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Emma Watson’s gown, made from recycled material for the Green Carpet Challenge.

to traditional Nike running footwear. Nike Free Flyknit has 35 fewer pieces to assemble than Nike's Air Pegasus+ 28 runner and that equates to a considerable reduction in terms of waste. Nike has perfectly combined the need of their customers with sustainability through innovation. Companies are also marketing to influence and raise awareness, encouraging and enabling their consumers to choose and use their products more efficiently and sustainably. The World Economic Forum has created the Positive Change Effie Award which recognizes and rewards brands which emphasize sustainability in their marketing programmes. And the new generation’s consumption patterns are also changing: millennial consumers are increasingly looking for products that make them look and feel good, and which are also good for the planet and society, according to the findings of the Forum’s Engaging Tomorrow’s Consumer project. The #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign is tied to the Rana Plaza factory collapse and calls for a renewed customer focus on supplychain transparency and the millions of people who are a part of the industry’s enormously complex value chain. Governments and civil society will also need to engage and encourage the removal of “unsustainable” products and services from the marketplace. This editing process will be critical and will also be fuelled by the new pace of change and disruptive companies. Places like Taiwan are part of the booming upcycling of e-waste. Taiwan headquarters several major technology companies such as Asus, Acer and HTC, and produces more electronics per capita than anywhere else. Their commercial efforts (which returned over US$2.2bn dollars in 2012), combined with a

“The possibilities of combining recycled materials and high fashion were highlighted by actress and campaigner EmmaWatson who, at this year’s Met Gala, wore a gown made from recycled materials and organic cotton to promote the Green Carpet Challenge.”

government fund and increased consumer awareness, have helped clean up the country. It now has one of the highest household recycling rates in the world, at roughly 42%, up from 5% in 1998, according to Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration. The government also started the Taoyuan Environmental Science and Technology Park, an industrial complex that offers incentives for recyclers of glass, plastic and electronics, and also uses advanced technologies and invests in research and development to increase the island’s reuse rates. The W Taipei hotel has embraced this initiative and each year turns 300,000 plastic bottles into coasters, games, key- and changeholders. Organizations like the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute are helping companies manage resources and address the impact at the local level. But companies, international organizations and governments still need to establish how they can work together to improve their water management. These disruptions will multiply as our existing expansionary development models clash with the natural limits of the planet. To achieve a future where the consumer will be better equipped to lead a more sustainable lifestyle, based on informed purchase, businesses and governments need to come together. We must take the necessary action today and explore new models of consumption to ensure the needs of future generations and prevent the continued degradation of our environment.

lThis article is published under the terms of Creative Commons Public License Version 3.0. It was originally published by theWorld Economic Forum.

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