Moving beyond sustainability: To what extent does the Cradle to Cradle framework play a role within New Zealand's fashion industry?
Thesis DisciplineBusiness Administration
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Commerce
Our planet is threatened by a rapidly changing climate, alarming resource depletion and a steadily rising population growth. This calls for intensified sustainable practices within businesses of all sizes and industries. In recent years this resulted in a wholly new model called the circular economy. Inherent to this is the Cradle to Cradle framework which seeks to design and create commodities in such a way that the impact on the environment, i.e. the carbon footprint is neutralised. Significant efforts are currently being undertaken in Europe and the United States in various sectors with a recent focus on transforming the fashion industry. The literature finds that that there is generally still little known in this area, there was barely any evidence of this change taking in New Zealand. The objective of this research is to explore this and to eventually build a theoretical understanding to what extent Cradle to Cradle plays a role within the fashion industry. This was achieved by employing the grounded theory method. Data was collected by conducting semi-structured interviews with owners-managers supplemented by secondary data such as sustainability reports. In line with grounded theory principles, open and selective coding, theoretical sampling and constant comparison were used to analyse all data within the Nvivo 10 Software. The theory showed that somewhat severe resource constraints and an occurring loss of transparency by outsourcing manufacturing operations to overseas locations impede the shift towards the circular economy at present. This research contributes to sustainable development literature by providing a comprehensive model of how the uptake of sustainable practices is influenced and dependent on multiple aspects and therefore fosters the understanding of a complex, intertwined and intransparent industry. Furthermore, this research benefits companies and business networks alike.