At the first Social Enterprise Conversation in Victoria, Thrive Impact Fund convened a candid conversation with Rene Gauthier from ecologyst and Kat Kavanagh from Water Rangers at theDock: Centre for Social Impact about social enterprise leadership, acquisition, and operation.
ecologyst and Frankie Collective
The clothing industry makes up about 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Also, about 20% of industrial water pollution. ecologyst focuses on reducing this industry’s large carbon footprint and setting an example for new industry standards. ecologyst’s manufacturer-to-consumer model prioritizes local manufacturing. Ultimately, this model streamlines the long chain of steps from raw materials to clothing items and actively reduces waste.
“The industry on the whole makes about 100 billion garments every year. Thirty billion of those go unsold. And three-fifths of sold clothing is not worn after one year. We look to get that fabric as raw material and make new pieces out of it,” said Rene Gauthier.
To help scale industry change, ecologyst purchased Frankie Collective, a market leader in reworking. “Nobody has been doing rework at the scale that they’ve been able to do it,” said Rene Gauthier. The team at ecologyst works to advance the UN SDG responsible consumption and production targets. Gauthier resonates with the goal of 1 in 5 clothing pieces sold to be used, by 2030.
Kat Kavanagh, Executive Director of Water Rangers, shared that we don’t actually know the state of our water in Canada. “WWF put out the watershed reports in 2017, around the same time that I started Water Rangers. It showed that at that time, over 70% of the sub-watersheds didn’t even have enough data to give them a health score.” Those with health scores highlight many issues in our waters.
Water Rangers’ citizen science model and online data platform help build baseline water quality data. This strong base of data can be compared with future data to prove which issues exist and how they progress.
In addition to collecting data, Water Rangers recognizes how shared understanding of and care for our waters builds community. “Water is so place-based. People in those places know the local issues and create that personal connection,” said Kat Kavanagh.
As well, partnerships with equipment providers and academics help build organizational capacity. These partnerships contribute to a more comprehensive data set as great tools that provide accurate results get paired with more expensive equipment.
Thrive Impact Fund hosted this conversation in partnership with theDock: Centre for Social Impact.
The second conversation in the series was in Nanaimo, November 17, 2022. Read the takeaways here.
Photos from the event: