The Quiksilver Journey
In this guest blog, Jeff Wilson of Quiksilver explains how a holistic approach underlines all that they do – in parallel with organic’s philosophy. In their search for the best solution, Quiksilver takes all the evidence into account and maintains that all-important holistic view.
“As our company begins the journey to better understand and reduce our environmental and social impacts across our value chain, but most importantly in our supply chain, I believe it’s critical to take a holistic view. By that I mean we see the world, and our apparel and footwear industry in that world, as an ecosystem, where all things are intimately intertwined. That serves as a valuable thought process not only in addressing strategic direction, but also tactical execution and decision-making, including how we evaluate materials such as cotton.
I use cotton as an example only because of what appears to be an increasingly interesting and important debate around the various cotton farming systems and methods. No doubt the debate could be around most any “sustainable” fabric or material today. As I work with organizations such as Textile Exchange, Cotton, Inc, , suppliers, and various universities and institutes to become better informed, what I find myself trying to focus in on is staying true to the holistic approach. And to me in this debate what that means is cutting through ideology and bias and attempting to get at facts as best we can. Facts that can elucidate what the environmental, social and economic impacts are of the various approaches to cotton farming. Best I can understand it, there’s conventional, there’s GM/biotech, better cotton initiative, the SCP in California, transitional, and organic, and each has its own proponents and advocates.
What I would find beneficial is an open, honest and fact based dialog about the advantages and disadvantages of all these systems, with no specific commercial, ideological, or other agendas, that centers around a holistic framework of thought. This approach factors in all major environmental impacts such as water, chemicals, waste, energy, carbon dioxide/GHG, along with relevant farm owner/worker social measures, and financial impacts in the community and in the commercial sector…. a quantitative and qualitative approach. What I believe that we will naturally gravitate towards is an integrated system that takes advantage of the benefits of each system or methodology and minimizes the disadvantages. And who cares if that system is called biotech or transitional or organic or whatever. If it’s our best science, fact based solution, and it generates the best environmental, social and economic outcomes we are striving for, then why wouldn’t we pursue it and support it, regardless of what it’s called?
With 7 billion people on the planet, growing to 9 billion in half a lifetime, all needing to be fed and clothed mostly from an agricultural system presently under stress, we need to be focused on real, pragmatic solutions rather than narrow commercial, emotional or ideological interests.”
Director of Travel