Following our previous events in June and July, where we focused on the development of China’s circular economy, explored the opportunities and challenges to “sell sustainability” in China, through this event we explored the opportunities for brands, entrepreneurs, and innovators to “Deliver sustainability” in the areas of product design, material innovation, and platform sustainability.
To help provide tangibility to the strategies and tactics of “delivering sustainability”, we invited David Yeung, Founder of Green Monday / Green Common / OmniFoods, Vincent Djen, Director at Cheng Kung Garments and Chief Material Innovation Officer at Allblu, Yunan Cui, Co-Founder of YIKO Eats to share their insights and experiences with The Collective about how they “deliver sustainability” in China.
“Material technology is the new cool thing”
Vincent Djen, spoke with us in detail about how now is the golden age of material innovation in the fashion industry.
Illustrating the concept by using the image of women’s silk stocking, Vincent highlighted that while consumers are increasingly pushing brands to deliver more sustainable products, brands are often focused on functionality in order to meet the demands of the consumers.
In this new age, materials need to be stable, scalable, and sustainable so as to meet the requirements of the manufacturers, who can then use them to produce at a larger scale for the brands. Hence, material and material innovation in and of itself is becoming part of the story and taking part in changing how the story is told by the brands.
In the future, Vincent sees the demand for more bio-based, recyclable materials increasing as many brands see solving the “waste problem” through more biodegradable materials. However, many of these materials have their own externalities that will need to be considered.
Separate from the material challenges, the fact that different countries have different regulations and business practices means we are still far away from a truly closed-loop and sustainable clothing at a global scale.
This is an area where he sees the need for change, and collaboration.
Offering personalized dining experience
Following Vincent’s insights into the material innovation and technology, Yunan Cui, Co-Founder of YIKO Eats, spoke about her work to create an integrated food production and delivery platform that removes food packaging waste.
Started five years ago, the company has built a delivery platform where reusable ceramic containers deliver fresh meals made in one of Yiko’s 15 community kitchens in Beijing.
Customers can almost have the exact same benefits of cooking at home, but without the need to deal with pre-meal preparation and post-meal clean up, an experience many busy young professionals living in the city urbans look for.
When building their platform, YIKO Eats developed a system where online ordering is accessible to customers at any time, and once the orders are placed, it can be tracked. It is a system that they built, in part, as a response to consumers being concerned about eating from reusable containers.
Going forward, Yiko has aggressive plans for expansion, and has already been speaking with the major delivery platforms to test the full scalability of their system.
“Sustainability isn’t a trend, it’s survival.”
David Yeung, Founder of Green Monday /Green Common / OmniFoods, spoke to the audience about his work to build and scale Asia’s largest plant-based life style brand, as well as his personal journey being on the “Green” path almost 20 years back.
Over the last 5 years, Green Common has grown from a small team, who were trying to stabilize their first stores in Hong Kong, to a team of more than 400 with 10 stores in Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Singapore,
In reflecting on their phenomenal growth, David shared three things are critical in his journey: action, community, and science.
Action: David talked about that there is a huge difference between the slogan “Go Green” and “Go Green Monday”, and the need to move from “nice concepts” to behavior change and action. To help people act, he has found that small reasonable steps are a more sustainable “ask”.
That’s why instead of asking people to go vegan and “save the world”, they encourage people to participate in a “Green Monday”.
Community: An important piece in moving the needle. No one is an island and we each have the capacity and power to make an impact.
David talked about how himself through the experience of observing purchase behaviors of other human being at a young age, which inspired the exploration and fascination with science on human behaviors: what makes people do what they do and how to inspire human behavior changes.
Science: Green Monday is in the business of food innovation, which requires having in depth knowledge and understanding of what people want and how one human being can affect another.
After the series of panel presentations, members of the audience asked a range of questions that helped drive the conversations a bit further.
We sincerely appreciate all the speakers for sharing their extensive knowledge and experience with us again.
We would also like to give a special thanks out to our sponsor, Green Monday/Green Common, for sponsoring this event and as well as to the participants who took their time to support yet another amazing event.
For those who weren’t able to join us, you can watch the video clips through our website link.
We will be hosting our next event On September 23. You can follow our WeChat channel or go to www.coresponsibility.com/eventsto learn more.
You can learn more by scanning the QR code below, or by emailing us at [email protected].