Climate Confident

The Hidden Cost of Your Footprint: Transforming the Global Shoe Market

December 20, 2023 Tom Raftery / Diana Yanes Season 1 Episode 150
The Hidden Cost of Your Footprint: Transforming the Global Shoe Market
Climate Confident
More Info
Climate Confident
The Hidden Cost of Your Footprint: Transforming the Global Shoe Market
Dec 20, 2023 Season 1 Episode 150
Tom Raftery / Diana Yanes

Send me a message

Hello, Climate Confident listeners! In this episode, we delve deep into the shoe industry's environmental footprint with the insightful Diana Yanes, a seasoned expert with a passion for sustainable innovation.

Diana brings to light a staggering reality – almost 24 billion pairs of shoes produced annually, with a whopping 90% ending up in landfills within their first year. This contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, a fact that calls for urgent attention and action.

In our conversation, Diana elucidates the multifaceted challenges of shoe manufacturing, from the extensive use of diverse materials to the complexities of biodegradation. She brilliantly navigates us through the nuances of materials like leather and their impacts, underscoring the need for a shift in our perception of beauty and functionality in footwear.

What stood out in our dialogue was Diana's emphasis on small, yet impactful changes. She champions the idea of capsule collections as a step towards sustainability, demonstrating how replacing current materials with more eco-friendly options can make a considerable difference.

This episode isn't just about the problems but also about viable solutions and the role of consumer awareness. Diana urges us to be more inquisitive and responsible, reminding us that our choices as consumers have far-reaching consequences.

To learn more about Diana's work and her approach to sustainable shoe manufacturing, tune in to this enlightening episode. It's a must-listen for anyone keen on understanding the intricate balance between fashion, functionality, and environmental stewardship in the shoe industry.

Until next time, keep striving for a more sustainable future and remember, every step counts!

And don't forget to check out the video version of this episode on YouTube.



What If? So What?
We discover what’s possible with digital and make it real in your business

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Podcast supporters
I'd like to sincerely thank this podcast's amazing supporters:

  • Lorcan Sheehan
  • Hal Good
  • Jerry Sweeney
  • Andreas Werner
  • Devaang Bhatt
  • Stephen Carroll
  • Marcel Roquette
  • Roger Arnold

And remember you too can Support the Podcast - it is really easy and hugely important as it will enable me to continue to create more excellent Climate Confident episodes like this one.

Contact
If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - get in touch via direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn.

If you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show.

Credits
Music credits - Intro by Joseph McDade, and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Climate Confident +
Become a supporter of the show!
Starting at $3/month
Support
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send me a message

Hello, Climate Confident listeners! In this episode, we delve deep into the shoe industry's environmental footprint with the insightful Diana Yanes, a seasoned expert with a passion for sustainable innovation.

Diana brings to light a staggering reality – almost 24 billion pairs of shoes produced annually, with a whopping 90% ending up in landfills within their first year. This contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions, a fact that calls for urgent attention and action.

In our conversation, Diana elucidates the multifaceted challenges of shoe manufacturing, from the extensive use of diverse materials to the complexities of biodegradation. She brilliantly navigates us through the nuances of materials like leather and their impacts, underscoring the need for a shift in our perception of beauty and functionality in footwear.

What stood out in our dialogue was Diana's emphasis on small, yet impactful changes. She champions the idea of capsule collections as a step towards sustainability, demonstrating how replacing current materials with more eco-friendly options can make a considerable difference.

This episode isn't just about the problems but also about viable solutions and the role of consumer awareness. Diana urges us to be more inquisitive and responsible, reminding us that our choices as consumers have far-reaching consequences.

To learn more about Diana's work and her approach to sustainable shoe manufacturing, tune in to this enlightening episode. It's a must-listen for anyone keen on understanding the intricate balance between fashion, functionality, and environmental stewardship in the shoe industry.

Until next time, keep striving for a more sustainable future and remember, every step counts!

And don't forget to check out the video version of this episode on YouTube.



What If? So What?
We discover what’s possible with digital and make it real in your business

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the Show.

Podcast supporters
I'd like to sincerely thank this podcast's amazing supporters:

  • Lorcan Sheehan
  • Hal Good
  • Jerry Sweeney
  • Andreas Werner
  • Devaang Bhatt
  • Stephen Carroll
  • Marcel Roquette
  • Roger Arnold

And remember you too can Support the Podcast - it is really easy and hugely important as it will enable me to continue to create more excellent Climate Confident episodes like this one.

Contact
If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - get in touch via direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn.

If you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show.

Credits
Music credits - Intro by Joseph McDade, and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Diana Yanes:

Last year we produced almost 24 billion pairs of shoes in one year. And out of those 24 billions, 90% ends up in landfills the first year. So that's a very, very, very big amount of discards. And that's mainly because we are aiming at doing always cheaper shoes. So the quality is so low that people can't even sell them, donate them, give them, or sometimes they can't even use them

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the Climate Confident podcast, the number one podcast showcasing best practices in climate emission reductions and removals, and I'm your host, Tom Raftery. Don't forget to click follow on this podcast in your podcast app of choice to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hey everyone, welcome to episode 150 of the Climate Confident podcast. My name is Tom Raftery and before we kick off today's show, I want to take a moment to express my gratitude to all of our amazing supporters. Your support has been instrumental in keeping this podcast going, and I am really grateful for each and every one of you. If you're not already a supporter, I'd like to encourage you to consider joining our community of like minded individuals who are passionate about climate. Supporting the podcast is easy and affordable with options starting as low as just three euros or dollars. That's less than the cost of your coffee and your support will make a huge difference in keeping this show going strong. To become a supporter, simply click on the support link in the show notes of this or any episode or visit tinyurl. com slash climatepod. Without further ado, with me on the show today, I have my special guest, Diana. Diana, welcome to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Diana Yanes:

Hi, Tom. Thank you very much for having me. I am, Diana is perfect, but I would say it in Spanish. Diana Carolina Yanes Fair. but I'm used to Diana Yanes, Diana Yanis, so it's fine. Whatever you want.

Tom Raftery:

Cool. And tell us a little bit, Diana, about why we're talking today.

Diana Yanes:

Well, so I am a shoe expert. I've been working in the industry for over 12 years, and at the moment in the company, we are building a low environmental impact materials, parts and components library, which is let's say our main tool that help us consult better our clients. And so here we are to speak about the shoes industry, the impact it's having, and how to improve it through small changes, let's say.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And give me a little bit about the kind of scale of problem that you're tackling. Does the production of shoes cause a lot of emissions?

Diana Yanes:

Oh yes, . So, let's say that last year we produced almost 24 billion pairs of shoes in one year. And out of those 24 billions, 90% ends up in landfills the first year. So that's a very, very, very big amount of discards. And that's mainly because we are aiming at doing always cheaper shoes. So the quality is so low that people can't even sell them, donate them, give them, or sometimes they can't even use them fifth time, so they end up in the trash. And just for like that, we have an idea that only the manufacturing phase of shoes takes 1.4% of the greenhouse gas emissions each year. So I would say it's a lot. It accounts in the EU around more or less. 10.6 kilograms of emissions of CO2 emissions per pair of shoe only for producing it.

Tom Raftery:

Wow. Okay. And, and tell me then a little bit about how you are going to fix this problem.

Diana Yanes:

Well, how I am hoping to do it. Basically what we are like I've been building, I started on my own when I was a freelancer and almost like out of passion in 2018, I started collecting what more sustainable materials look like. Look like, let's say like the samples and, you know, getting in touch with the suppliers, but it was like an emmatorial thing. I, I, I didn't, I didn't have any context or criteria to order the samples. And as time passed by and I started studying, I am currently about to finish an MBA in sustainable luxury management. So I started actually curating the thing and right now this library is divided in three different categories, so waste reduction, low water consumption, and low energy usage. The waste management is divided in two at the same time because we have the biodegradable products and the recycled products. So the, the way like now this library is done, right? And this is of course a work in progress because we work with materials that exist. So we are constantly researching for new suppliers, new materials new technologies. And at a certain point I was like, okay, so what do I do with this? Because I've invested a lot of time and money because, you know, shipping those samples has been A lot of money. So I decided that the best thing to do at the moment is to start doing a capsule collection because we need to test this first capsule collection is going to be a biodegradable one. We need to test that all the solutions work together. And do a small production to understand that it works at scale because it's not the same thing making one shoe work rather than a hundred pairs of shoes. And of course that would, you know, scale up. But with a hundred pairs you can tell already, okay, 10% of the collection will be discarded, 5% or we don't have any of that, you know, so at the moment we're working on that capsule collection and the solutions are very simple. So, it's replacing. Current materials, parts and components that exist in a shoe

Tom Raftery:

Mm-hmm.

Diana Yanes:

are at least 15 by, lets say, reducing the diversity. So let's give a step back. One shoe, one simple shoe.

Tom Raftery:

step step back a little further as well, Diana, and tell us what's a capsule collection?

Diana Yanes:

Oh, , sorry. A capsule collection. It means like a demonstrative piece, let's say. So when I like when you, yeah, but like when you speak about a collection, it means that you have a broad range of products, even though if it's one style in five different colors, 10 different colors, and that you're going to produce that massively, like as much as you can correct. A capsule collection is . And it's intended for a specific reason. So for example, you can do a capsule collection because you're opening a new store in Madison Avenue and you want a collection for that store. So that's a capsule collection for the Madison Avenue new store or you are, for example, in our, in our case, we want to develop a collection that is biodegradable. So it's a capsule collection. It's a very spot on thing. It's not that it's a continuous project. The continuous project is that we're going to develop more capsule collections to push forward more sustainability concepts. That's the continuous, let's say concept, but not biodegradability. It can be re recyclability, it can be less water consumption, it can be anything. So knowing what a capsule collection is,

Tom Raftery:

Yep.

Diana Yanes:

a shoe. Let's put a black boot, a simple black boot. So we all know what a black boot is, right?

Tom Raftery:

Hmm.

Diana Yanes:

Or how it looks like for a black boot. We need the, and leather, let's say leather. We need the black leather. We need the lining, which usually will be black lining as well, made out of leather. We need the reinforcement tape, which is two different kinds for the border and for the back. We need glue, tons of glue. We need the thread, we need the reinforcements that goes in the tip and in the in the back part. Like the heel we need the insole, we need the sole, and we need the heel, which usually has two parts because you also have the heel cap, which is another material, and you will need some accessories, as in the shoe needs to, the boot needs to be opened, so you will need a zipper and elastic band. Something to open that boot. Correct. And then that's only the boot. Then you have, of course, the packaging, like you have a lot of things. In the back that you might not see as part of the boot, but that are part of the emissions of the boot. So all of that accounts for 13 already different materials and maybe the materials are not even finished in the same way. Okay. So for example, the leather lining and the leather upper are leather. And most likely because 90% of the leather, 99% of the leather currently used is chromium based because it's more beautiful, let's say, and by beautiful. It's like it's more to the standards of beauty, towards the standards of beauty that we're used to right now, because beauty is something relative and what needs to change in a way is the way we perceive beauty.

Tom Raftery:

Sure.

Diana Yanes:

So let's say that these chromium based are usually more shiny, the color is more stable. They can be softer. Like those leathers that are like, ah, you feel like it's like a cushion. Well, those are all chromium based. And then if it's a silver leather, then it has also a plating for it to be silver. So the finishing of the chromium based leather adds another complexity to the biodegradability by biodegradation of the leather. So let's say it's a very complex thing, of course, also for someone who does not know about shoe, then it becomes like a black hole which kind of is even for people who knows about truth. So what we are doing is reducing that count, that amount of different materials. Into the less possible, so maybe not 13, maybe four, five. And we try to divide that between upper part and lower part so that at least you can divide easily the shoe and it can go to a recycling facility or it can go to a landfill and it will take much less to degrade there. Because something that is important and that is where a lot of the greenwashing goes, is that everything will degrade. The difference is that something can degrade in 1000 years and another thing can degrade in one year, and that's a very big difference. So what we are trying to do is to reduce that degradation time to the bare minimum, which in a normal standard shoe is from 25 to 1000 years. So if we could try to at least keep the most of them to 25 or even less, that would be a lot of difference in terms of emissions because the more it stays in on earth, degrading and creating pollution, the more it pollutes. It's not like the thousand years pollutes the same as the 25 years.

Tom Raftery:

Hmm.

Diana Yanes:

I don't know if, if,

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. No, no, no. Yeah, no, that, that makes sense. Is there a trade off though between shoes being more biodegradable and their, let's say, durability.

Diana Yanes:

No, not necessarily because what another misconception, I once heard this, but I think it's a common thing and it almost like, it made me laugh because it was a friend of mine and she said it out of a good place, but she was like, why would I want something biodegradable if it will like biodegrade in wardrobe? I was like, sweetie, I really hope it doesn't, because that means you have a lot of fungi and bacteria in your wardrobe. So it's not only the biodegradable shoe that will suffer from that, but anything that is cotton, leather, linen, like any natural material, of course the synthetic ones as well, but they take longer in any case. So I really hope they will not biodegrade while you're walking or while it's in your wardrobe. Otherwise you have a lot of problems. So no, it's, it's not less durable, it's just we do need to take more care of them, as in I can't sneakers, which usually the soul is made out of, or synthetic rubber or TR, or micro, so like very synthetic materials You can walk in the rain and they will last, as if anything happened. You know, as a, as a, as the, as the wheels of the car, correct.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah.

Diana Yanes:

If the wheels of the car were done with leather, they would consume faster and they would get damaged before because they're made in leather. And leather is a living material. In fact, it transforms as you use them, as you use it. So it's not less durable. You just need to take care in a different way. And still leather is the most durable material and wool, that I know on earth as like from the natural ones, of course,

Tom Raftery:

Sure, sure. And how are you determining the biodegradability or you know, whether a material, one material is more sustainable than another?

Diana Yanes:

the best thing to do is a lifecycle assessment. Which is of course an expensive process. But there's ways of doing it less expensive if you want to have a rough estimate, which is still a decent estimate. So the first thing, of course, is getting certified materials that already have lifecycle assessments, because that enables us to make in an easier way a lifecycle assessment, and at the same time, in a cheaper way. So that already, if you don't want to run a lifecycle assessment, you can have already some certainty that is much less polluting or pollutant than a normal material, let's say.

Tom Raftery:

Sure.

Diana Yanes:

In any case, we do run, we do have someone that can run lifecycle assessments in our company. Again, it's an expensive thing. So what we are aiming at doing also to save that money from clients, for clients, is we're working on this capsule to have, let's say, a, well, not running a patent, but like a patented way of having that result, let's say. An accurate way of having that result. And then we are selling the, the solution. We're not selling the our black boot. We're telling you that the same materials can be used in your black boot. So your black boot will remain the same, the same shoe last, the same look, and feel the same performance, everything. But with this solution that we already tried and measured, then your boots will have a much better let's say result. The ideal scenario would be, of course, to do a lifecycle assessment because that way you can understand how much you improved your black boot because the lifecycle assessment, how it works is that you create sustainability scenarios. So, you of, the first thing you do is that you select your objective. You want to reduce waste, you want to reduce water usage. You want to reduce reduce chemical usage and so on. So you determine your objective and from there you put your materials your current materials, and it already gives you a result. And you start exchanging digitally by the materials you're suggesting. And you can see in the end, which materials works better with each other and how much the, for example CO2 emissions decrease.

Tom Raftery:

Right.

Diana Yanes:

So that, let's say, that would be the best thing to do. Since it's an expensive solution, not every brand can afford something like that. And in the EU, 98% of the companies are small and medium. And I would say that medium company among the big medium companies are able to afford a lifecycle assessment. So it's something that we need to, let's say, massify as a solution so that anyone can work in a better way.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, sure, sure. So, you were talking there about your clients, but you haven't mentioned yet who your typical clients might be. So my guess is that your clients are the actual shoe manufacturers and you're telling them how best to make shoes.

Diana Yanes:

Not necessarily. Usually, usually like I only have one manufacturer that is my client, and it's in India, by the way. Usually my clients are the brands. Also because manufacturers, I work mainly with Indi, with India, with Italy. Sorry. Because like in the company, we provide different solutions, design, production management, we make prototype samples. You know, like we, we, we offer different solutions But our affiliated factories are in Italy and we have a sample room in our office, where we can make prototypes and samples, and that's in Italy. So let's say when I speak about factories, of course I'm speaking about Italian factories because it's where I have more knowledge and connections.

Tom Raftery:

Sure.

Diana Yanes:

Okay. So factories in Italy are very artisanal, extremely. Even the bigger ones? Yeah. There's there's few that are very, very, very big. And that have extremely competitive prices that I only honestly don't understand how they get those prices. As in, I, I am not a hundred percent sure that's a hundred percent made in Italy shoe,

Tom Raftery:

right.

Diana Yanes:

but taking that out of the picture because I don't work with those factories. So I don't know

Tom Raftery:

Mm-hmm.

Diana Yanes:

say that factories are so artisanal that they wouldn't invest in this kind of solutions. There's few that would, and still it's a very craftsman mindset. So my best clients are the brands that they know that they need to do it also because they're bigger. So,

Tom Raftery:

Sure.

Diana Yanes:

and, and that's, that connects to the part of governance, no, like at the moment, governance is obliging only really big companies to have the sustainability solutions

Tom Raftery:

Mm-hmm.

Diana Yanes:

So, those are the companies who can actually pay for a service like this.

Tom Raftery:

Yep.

Diana Yanes:

Instead I have many different kind of brands. Mostly I would say from the US from the US and from the UK. Aside from Italy, let's say. And those brands that are little are the ones that are willing to try this, testers, let's say, and to let's say, engage with more sustainable materials.

Tom Raftery:

All right.

Diana Yanes:

Yeah, the, the, the problem I see and why I decided to do the capsule is because as of now most of the brands that comes to me, but in general, because that's what I see from brands advertising a super sustainable shoe, is that they're only concentrated in the upper material. And then it's like, okay, but that's only one out of 13, 15, 20. So what about the rest, you know? That's pure greenwashing basically as when you go to like the typical one I did a, an article on packaging, like greenwashing in packaging in these days and uh, what it's like one of those that I named is like, the typical tag that it says 98% of natural materials. And so people are like, oh, that's great. And I'm like, and what's the other 2%? Because if the other 2% is only cancerogenous things that 98%, I don't care

Tom Raftery:

Sure. Yeah.

Diana Yanes:

So, and, and this is the opposite. It's basically we are naming only the only let's say quote unquote, good thing that we're doing, but maybe in the shoe industry, that's only 5%. So we're naming the 5% of goodness we're doing and the rest is just forgotten. And because we as consumers are so ignorant on what's behind a shoe, because it's so much like if you would literally cut a shoe in half, you would see how many layers there are in there, and then you would start questioning yourself like, why are we only talking about the upper when there's so many other things in the shoe?

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, no, good, good point. And I, I, I as well always kind of squint a little more closely when I see brands using the term natural as if it's a good thing because sure, it can be a good thing, but arsenic is natural. You know, botulism is natural. Are they good things?, you know, so saying something is natural, yeah, it can be a good thing, but not necessarily. So yeah, it's, it's more important to your point, to do that lifecycle assessment and see what the actual damage or otherwise is based on using particular materials. You raise a good point though about, about brands and the lack of transparency. As a consumer, how can I tell whether a brand's shoe or any other product they're making is sustainable or not? Because you know, I want to be buying the most sustainable products I can, but I have no idea.

Diana Yanes:

Yeah, so I think the, the, the first thing we need to understand, and this relates also to what you were previously saying, is that there is not such thing as a fully sustainable product. Okay. A fully sustainable product does not exist. Not even like if we would die. We wouldn't even be sustainable because we need to decompose. So we would still be, you know, doing like sending emissions. So let's say that what we need to know is that there's better practices and lower environmental impact ways of doing things.

Tom Raftery:

Sure.

Diana Yanes:

So having said that, we also need to understand that everything has an impact. So for example, natural materials are better, depends on where, on which point of view we are looking at that natural material. Because I always like saying I personally don't like polyester. I don't like polyester because it's not breathable. It's uncomfortable. You feel like you're in an oven when you're wearing something polyester made. It's, it looks cheap to me. It looks like you're wearing a plastic bag. But aside from that, which is taste is personal, taste, polyester has some good things, such as, for example, for making one kilogram of cotton, you need more or less 20, like up to 22,000 liters of water. That is from the time you're cropping it until the time you dye it, until the end of life, because that counts also the laundries you're going to make on average, no? Instead, A kilogram of polyester is 19 liters of water. So there is a massive difference in the water usage one material has and the other. And for example, cotton, once you wash it, it wrinkles a lot, even though if you don't wash it as you wear it or linen, linen, linen is worse, you know. So you always need to iron that piece. Whereas polyester or any synthetic material has the characteristic that they wrinkle less, so you need to iron them less. Therefore, aside from the time that it's annoying to iron, but that's a personal taste as well, then you would be using energy to iron that piece of garment that you don't need to use as much with a synthetic material. Okay? So knowing that everything has an impact, we need to understand what's the impact of each material. For example, there was this huge scandal, and that has not been solved. It's just that, of course there's many other problems in the world. So as anything like a scandal appears and then it lowers, but Uyghur, which is a, a Muslim community in China. They are in basically called concentration camps due to discrimination, and they're the ones collecting cotton. The problem is that 80% of worldwide cotton is coming from there. So even though we are speaking about, oh, cotton is natural, therefore it's better, most likely is not as good as you're thinking.

Tom Raftery:

Hmm.

Diana Yanes:

So, and there's best practices for cotton as well. Like everything has its best practice. But we can't think that because something is natural, therefore is good. So I would say that as a consumer, the first thing we need to know is not be so basic because we stay at the thing of, oh, this is natural, therefore is good. Or this is made in Italy, therefore it's good, or this is made in whatever, you know? And instead, I think we should ask more questions. We should be more curious. I went to a shop this is last year because this year I said that I wouldn't buy anything new, so I have not been to shops. So last year I was in a shop and I really liked a sweater, like I fell in love with a sweater. As soon as I saw it, I was like, this sweater is mine. It has my name. So I went in the shop, I tried the sweater. I was like, oh my God, I need it. I asked for the price. I was like, this is a, like, this is a price I can afford and I would love to have this shoe, this sweater. I looked at the tag to see the materials. They were all natural materials, so that was already like, okay, this is walking through a direction I like, and then I saw produced in Bangladesh. So I just asked the, the person, the sales assistant. And I was like, sorry do you know where in Bangladesh is it produced? And she's like, I don't know. I guess, I guess in the factories in, I don't know where. I was like, yeah, okay, but do you know the name of the factory? Because that should be disclosed. It's a very, very big brand. So, and she was like, no, I don't know. So I was like, okay, well let me ask the customer service and in any case I'll come back. So I went to the, their email address of the customer services, and I was like, Hey, I love this sweater. I would love to buy it. I saw this, this, this, and this information. I saw that it's produced in Bangladesh. I would love to know if like which is the factory and if it's certified for like corporate social responsibility and if you have some data about that. They replied to two emails, and when I was too insistent about the factory and the certifications of the factories, they just stopped replying. And yeah, I love the sweater, but to be honest, I won't die without the sweater. So I was like, okay, well, I mean, you choice, you lose me as a client because you're not interested enough in doing something good. And at that point, I won't put my money in something that is not . Necessarily doing the best they can because it's, we're too comfortable living in the first world, having a great life, knowing that we have social security that we have decent salaries, and that we can go out and, you know, we'll have electricity at home. That we will find everything in the shelves. But, that's not life for everyone. And I come from Venezuela, you know, I've seen that first person. I've been in a supermarket where there's nothing but soap and it's the same brand in nine shelves and the rest is empty. So I do know how it looks like, and I don't think it's fair to look everything from a comfortable standpoint when there is a lot of people struggling to produce those garments and barely manage to live. And that living aside, like apart from their kids, because in Dhaka is where they pay best, but they're not from Dhaka. And the kids need to be raised by uncles and grandmothers because I need to be able to afford a $40 monthly salary to send food to my family. So if I have to put that in a balance, I would definitely not buy the sweater. And I think that as consumers we need to see from a less comfortable point of view and ask more questions. Like the same as, I don't know, if you're in a relationship, a monogamous relationship, and your partner don't come back at the usual time for five nights in a row, are you not going to ask questions like you would ask questions, I guess, right? So I think it's the same, you know, we need, we need to stop thinking of as like, this is our world and it's only like, it's the only thing that matters because there's other people. We're sharing it. More precisely, more than 8 billion people , we're sharing this world with.

Tom Raftery:

Sure. Sure. And what about the brands themselves? I mean, do you think there's more they could or should be doing to A, make themselves more sustainable and B, communicate that sustainability?

Diana Yanes:

Oh, a hundred percent. There's, there's like a a hundred percent rate of improvement that they can still do because most of the brands are greenwashing is a really hard word word, but it's mainly what they're doing because it's mostly marketing. And at the beginning, the reason why it was it was mostly marketing is because they were saying that they were educating the consumer. And at that point you still say like, well, okay, maybe they're right. But after many years of educating the consumer, I think that either you're not doing a good job educating your consumers or definitely you're just leaving it up to there. Right? So I would say that definitely from an environmental point of view, the lifecycle assessment for companies such as, H&M, the Inditex group and the massive luxury brands, you know, like the ones that can afford it, should be done. And they should start taking more responsibilities of their actions because the rivers that are being dyed in orange, yellow, and blue are not their own because the first world is try is like literally treating the developing countries as their trash, you know, sending the garments that are not being used there. The manufacturing facilities are there. So who cares if they don't dispose well the chemicals? Who cares if they don't dispose well, the dyes, you know, who cares if they don't get paid on time? So I would say that the first thing is that those brands should really commit. And in fact in 2019, many of them signed up for the Fashion Pact. The problem is that the Fashion pac, the Fashion Pact, is not an obligation. It's not mandatory. It's just saying we are committing to try to do best, but the the truth is that they're not doing anything better. And at that point, once I, I did a post on my LinkedIn because when the Balenciaga scandal happened my comment was, you know, this is a shame, yes. But this will continue to happen and this is our fault as consumers, because in few months we're going to forget that Balenciaga did this and we're going to continue buying Balenciaga as if nothing happened. And that's exactly what happened. Balenciaga is there, their balance is not bad. They're all buying the same brand, the same products, because they love Balenciaga. And that's with every brand we know. So as consumers, yes, it's the company's responsibility, but we also need to take our part. You know, it's not that if the company's not doing anything, I can't do anything. Yeah. You should not buy that sweater. Yeah. You should not buy that pair of shoe. Yeah. You should speak up and yeah, you should also stand for what you said you were not going to do. So if you're complaining about Balenciaga doing something, my question is if your kid was the one shown in that picture, a, would you have let your kid do that? And then would you have, would you go back to the brand as if nothing happened? I don't think so. And. That's again, among that, let's say responsibility, we need to take, as in we are 8 billion people in this planet. We're not only ourselves and our close ones.

Tom Raftery:

How do we know the brands that are doing a good job from the brands that are not?

Diana Yanes:

The brands that are doing a good job usually have sustainability reports, yearly reports,

Tom Raftery:

Mm-hmm.

Diana Yanes:

and those are certified by third parties. So reading those, it's good. And still asking questions is good because again, when I go to the pharmacy and I see 90% is natural materials, then I do ask myself, what's the other 2%, and I read the tag. And it should be the same for, okay, they're doing this. Super good, and that's great. Thank you for improving and thank you because you are making me having choices, but how about the rest? And I understand that sustainability can't be tackled all at once. Also because it's not the same if I am born today and I am used to buy secondhand clothes and I am used to going to the park, buy food, you know, like that's, that's something that I am born and raised with. Whereas, for my mom, it's much more difficult to understand and to fix some behaviors, right? It's the same for a massive brand because they have maybe 1000 suppliers that would need to, that would mean that they need to change 1000 suppliers. They have. 14,000, 30,000 employees. Well, that means they need to change the mindset of 30,000 people. So it is a difficult job and it can't happen overnight. But if we don't start today, we will never make that change happen.

Tom Raftery:

sure, sure. We are coming towards the end of the podcast now Diana.. . Is there any question I haven't asked that you wish I had or any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think, you think it's important for people to think about?

Diana Yanes:

Well, I always like making an emphasize in in people. Because I, I did during, during our conversation, but I would like to like give it a slot because we are all looking at sustainability from an environmental point of view. But people matters and people matters a lot. And, what we say at Diana Yanes Consulting, which is my company, is that we need to put everyone sort of an at the same level so we can be worried about the same problems. You can't ask a person that's queuing for nine hours to get chicken at a decent price. Oh, but please, could you not buy it with a plastic bag? Or would you mind changing your car that it's put, it's doing a lot of emissions because of the old gasoline. It's like, You know, we need to, I love, I love this is in terms of education, but in that sense, I love Holland because they are like, they give everyone the opportunity to study even going to university. And pay for loans, once they start earning more than an X amount of money. And that's the sense of we're putting everyone at the same level, then it's your decision if you don't want to go to university, you don't need to go to university. But you had the chance to go and you had the opportunity to pay for it. And that's what I mean. Right. And we will never all be the same. There will always be people, flying in private jets, and there will always be people going by foot because they can't afford a secondhand bicycle. But that person should have the possibility to aim at more. And I think that's where like us as managers, as employers, as coworkers, we need to ask also those questions because we are taking decisions in such a greedy way, like, This is a, a document from 2017, but the CEO from H&M is earning 1 million a year plus bonus, which duplicates the salary. And I'm like, why is the working in the plant earning $30? Like. I'm not telling you that because you are a PhD, you should earn $30. I'm just saying that maybe you shouldn't be earning two millions versus $30, like, I don't know, spread that 1 million among the workers in the factory and maybe they can earn triple,

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. Yeah.

Diana Yanes:

So that's, that's something where I want to put my focus on. We are like, I personally run two social integration laboratories. One is in a male high security jail in Milan, and the other one is from people coming with, from disadvantaged backgrounds. And even though this results are more difficult to quantify but it's, there are ways. And like last year for example, we took one person out of the streets that he was living with, his three children among, with the youngest was two years old. And thanks, thanks to that like there were for two years, they lived under the bridge and he's a single father. So that father was by chance. And that's like when I say like, this is my lucky day. Someone called me because he was having lunch in this church. And the priest was the friend from the president of the comparative, whatever. The thing is that in his past life where he used to not live in the streets, he was a hemmer. He used to stitch uppers of shoes. So she called me and she was like, Hey, are you willing to, like, do you need someone? And you know, when I heard the background to me it was like, I don't need him, but I will definitely make the, my best to need him. So I called the factories I work with and I was like, Hey, we're stitching some uppers. Why don't you send me some work? You know, I calculated how much time he was using to stitch each upper, and I just set a price. And thanks to that, that person got a house, the three kids to school, he is learning Italian, you know, so there's ways where you can improve people's life and it's not that difficult. Right now we are in touch with three different NGOs and we are aiming at training at least 10 people coming from a disadvantaged background. We're still like, I don't know if it's going to be refugees, if it's going to be single moms, if it's going to be people coming from gender equality, violence, gender-based violence, sorry. So I mean, we're still setting that depending on the N G O that will work with us. But I think those are important things that we need to start taking more into consideration so that we can all start worrying about the same problems.

Tom Raftery:

Sure, sure, sure. Well, thank you for that. Great. Diana, if people would like to know more about yourself or any of the things we talked about in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Diana Yanes:

Well, the first thing if like, if you would like to have more in-depth information, there's my first and uh, By now only Medium post, but the next one will come soon. And it's called Design As a Driver of Change and Progress. I will give you the link so you can, so you can share it. And there, then there's our social media. Instagram is the one we use the most, which is at Diana Yanes Consulting. And if you want to stay in touch with me is Diana Carolina Yanes. There, I always reply myself. The consultancy one is more like technical. Mine is like my perspective. Entrepreneurship, motherhood and entrepreneurship, my business and all of that.

Tom Raftery:

Fantastic. Fantastic. Diana, that's been really, really interesting. Thanks a million for coming on the podcast today.

Diana Yanes:

Thank you very much, Tom, for having me, and thank you very much for everyone listening. It's, it's been a pleasure.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about the Climate Confident podcast, feel free to drop me an email to tomraftery at outlook. com or message me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you like the show, please don't forget to click follow on it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show. Thanks. Catch you all next time.

(Cont.) The Hidden Cost of Your Footprint: Transforming the Global Shoe Market

Podcasts we love