During Mandela Day, which will be held online this year due to corona, the book “Ubuntu, we are the Earth” will be presented. The book based on the (South) African Ubunty philosophy of life is an annual collaboration between Ubuntu Society and Herman van Veen (Arts Center). This year, with the theme “sustainability” in special collaboration with Prof. dr. Dr. André Nijhof of Nyenrode Business University.
The 67 authors of the book describe a pearl in their (work) life, someone in whom they see “a little Mandela”.
This essay is about a true frontrunner in the textiles industry elevating Sustainability and Purpose impact in the textile industry Monique Maissan, an independent Dutch textile entrepreneur based in Shanghai PRC since 1997 and founder of Waste2Wear and Vision Textiles, a platform for sourcing , developing and producing of recycled textile products.
As a skilled textile engineer Monique was conscious and triggered by the environmental challenges as an outcome of the end to end operating processes in creation-, and production- of textiles in Asia. A key cause for this environmental impact relates to the fact that a high percentage of materials/ yarns in textiles are oil- and cotton based materials, both having a negative environmental impact during the end to end supply chain process until the actual delivery of a product into the markets. This awareness formed the base for Monique’s conviction that she had to contribute by structurally integrating sustainability and purpose into her businesses and become a lever in optimising some of the most pressing social and environmental challenges.
Mid 2000 oil prices were excessively high, impacting costs of goods in the oil based industries including textile industry. An American article referring to the opportunity to recycle pet bottles and to convert these into recycled polyester yarns and eventually fabrics for textile usage and positively impact Sustainability, was the inspiration for Monique to rebuild her business model and structurally integrate recycled yarns in the end to end operation cycle of her business, including to bring all involved stakeholders on board from raw material-, yarn- and fabric-, as well garment suppliers, supply chain partners, clients and banks. With a mix of her belief, financial investments and perseverance formed the base for Monique to bring partners on board.
Today Waste2Wear offers sustainable recycled polyester yarns, fabrics and ready made garments, collected from post-consumer waste: PET bottles from multiple sources including the Ocean. In Monique’s journey to continuously raise the bar of sustainability, Waste2Wear has launched also recycled polypropylene material, sourced from electronical devices including white good products (refrigerators, a/c’s). This new extension of circularity, provides a major opportunity potential for industries to positively leverage the footprint of the sustainability dilemma around packaging materials in multiple industries.
Purpose was simultaneously leveraged as a structured standard with the Waste2Weave initiative. This social enterprise works through investment in hand loom weaving machinery in rural areas in India which is improving the livelihood of women and their families. QR codes on the ready-made product provides the final consumer fact based intelligence concerning the source of the material, and information on the journey of the women who produced the product.
In an era where factual transparency is key in order to guarantee sustainable credibility and integrity, Monique is one of the pioneers who uses block chain based data information, cloud based, providing insights on the status quo of the yarns/ fabrics including supply chain info such as source, volume and quality.
Monique has achieved an stunning impact, fuelled by her intrinsic belief to make this world a better place. Developing towards the new standard of a sustainable, purpose driven as business, serving the people, our planet, including unlocking lasting economical value. There is a long road to pursue in order to achieve a broad integrated awareness and industrial commitment towards sustainability elevation and integration. Monique and her Waste2Wear team are an inspirational example how her belief and vision, contributes towards an optimized sustainable output.
I’m a true supporter of pioneers like Monique who make a positive difference in sustainability and purpose in business. As a seasoned sports industry veteran, I am a believer of Nelson Mandela’s claim:
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire and unite people in a way that little else does”.
Edwin Jonkers / Lecturer Nyenrode Business University
Leveraging the full potential of sustainability pioneers such as Monique, together with leading international sports brands, will elevate awareness and inspire industries and consumers to elevate Sustainability as a structural standard going forward, that will benefit our planet and the people.
Would you like to attend Mandeladag 2020 and the book launch of “Ubuntu, we are the Earth”? The event will be held online July 18 from 10:15 AM to noon. Everyone is welcome, but registration is required. Sign up here for Mandela Day and the book launch of “Ubuntu, we are Earth.”
Ubuntu, wij zijn de Aarde, click here for direct ordering
Uitgeverij Harlekijn (Herman van Veen Arts Center)