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An Interview with Anna Karin Dahlberg of Lindex

TWENTY6 MAGAZINE , ISSUE N , ANNA-KARIN DAHLBERG , LINDEX , THE NATURE ISSUE ,

These days, sustainable fashion is often perceived as plucky group of quirky independent designers and boutiques fighting the good fight against the fast fashion machine. So, when we found out that a giant fashion retailer like Lindex is utilising sustainable organic cotton over 95% of their product range across 490 stores and 18 markets — it is not only an inspiring bit of social and environmental responsibility from a big retailer, but also a gargantuan achievement that is definitely worth shouting about. 
We sit down with Anna-Karin Dahlberg, Corporate Sustainability Manager of Lindex - one of Europe’s leading fashion chains and one of the foremost sustainable brands in 2018. We chat with Anna-Karin about Lindex’s commitment to achieving a number of the UN’s world sustainability development goals throughout every aspect of their business — from supply chain transparency to their Better Denim project. Lindex is not only a leader in sustainable fashion, but a hopeful vision of the future of the industry. 

 
At the moment, more than half of Lindex’s total assortment is made from sustainable sources, with goals to reach 80% by 2020. How is Lindex working towards achieving that goal? 
We have integrated our sustainability goal in the business so these goals are everybody’s goals. Both our buying team and production team are very dedicated to these goals, and work closely with our partners to achieve them. We always look for the most sustainable option of each fibre and keep updated with new research in order to sometimes pilot new inventions with the aim of scaling up.

Almost 50% of our collection is made of Cotton and we have a goal of reaching 100% more sustainable cotton by 2020 -  currently we are at 95%.

How important is sustainability to the ethos of Lindex as a brand? 
It is one of our core values and thus very important to the Lindex brand. We want the customer to know that by shopping at Lindex, you have already made a more sustainable choice.
Lindex is committed to achieving the wold’s Sustainability Development Goals, which are 17 goals that will hopefully make the world a better place by 2030. How is Lindex contributing to achieve these Sustainability Development Goals? 
We have selected 6 SDGs that are relevant to our industry and our scope of impact. These are gender equality, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth, responsible consumption and production, climate action, and partnerships for the goals.
We have a strong focus on all of these goals in everything we do and all through the garments’ life cycles. We believe that the private sector plays a very big role in achieving these goals.


91% of Lindex’s cotton comes from sustainable sources — how important is supply chain transparency to Lindex? 
Supply chain transparency is a challenge in the fashion industry. However, it is a must in order to fully work for a more sustainable fashion industry throughout the value chain. Through working with more sustainable fibres, we get a little bit better insight. However, we are also mapping the supply chain ourselves, in order to address challenges in the lower tiers of the value chain. We work with comparably fewer suppliers, with whom we have a close relationship and can be on the sustainability journey together.

TWENTY6 MAGAZINE , ISSUE N , ANNA-KARIN DAHLBERG , LINDEX , THE NATURE ISSUE ,

Today, sustainability is more important than ever, with fashion brands becoming more and more concerned about their carbon footprint. What role does the fashion industry play in the effort to minimise our environmental impact as a species?
The fashion industry plays a very big role in the total carbon footprint in the world, since production of fibres, fabric, and garments requires huge amounts of resources. Working with our supply chain for cleaner energy is one way of addressing this, choosing more sustainable fibres is another, and having a circular approach in design and choice of material is also another great way of reducing the carbon footprint.

As consumers, how can we make a difference in protecting the future of our planet?
There are a numbers of ways to contribute to the protection of our planet as a consumers. Here are a few.
 
  • The first and most important way of reducing your own carbon footprint is not to buy more of anything than you need. Buy things that have a long life and that you will love for a long time. Build a good basic wardrobe with long-life products that you update with a few things every now and then.
  • Care for your garments so that they last long. Washing a garment too often is neither good for the garment, nor for the environment.
  • When you buy new items, choose items that are made of more sustainable materials. For example, organic cotton improves the livelihood of the cotton farmers, saves water and doesn’t use pesticides. Also, choose items that are made with water and energy saving processes like Lindex’s Better Denim!

    ALL PRODUCT BY LINDEX


    Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies

    Portraits by Curtis Gibson