#201 - How to Measure, Manage, & Create a Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain with Mandeep Soor of bendi

December 16, 2021

#201 - How to Measure, Manage, & Create a Sustainable Fashion Supply Chain with Mandeep Soor of bendi
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Mandeep Soor is one of the co-founders of bendi, a company helping businesses to measure, manage, and communicate their impacts and become sustainability leaders.  In this episode, hear why even the statement ‘sustainable fashion’ is fraught with challenges, why the only truly sustainable product is a fully circular one, and why she thinks of sustainability as a spectrum rather than a goal.


Mandeep Soor is one of the co-founders of bendi, a company helping businesses to measure, manage, and communicate their impacts and become sustainability leaders. 

In this episode we pick Mandeep’s brain about the progression of bendi as they delve deeper into measuring and defining sustainability, the challenges and roadblocks her clients face, and her predictions for the future of fashion and technology. 

You’ll hear why even the statement ‘sustainable fashion’ is fraught with challenges, why the only truly sustainable product is a fully circular one, and why she thinks of sustainability as a spectrum rather than a goal. 

Hear all about how bendi works, what she envisions for its future and the future of fashion as a whole, and why she talks about footprints and journeys in the sustainability space in this new episode in our series on The Impact of Fashion, with our partners at Dhana.

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🗣 TOPICS DISCUSSED:

  • The impetus for starting bendi and how Mandeep and Ben met and started a business
  • A definition for sustainability that goes beyond the material construct of your apparel
  • How they did over 100 interviews with people and what they found in common: a level of confusion on how to compare items
  • Why even the statement ‘sustainable fashion’ is fraught with challenges
  • What the only sustainable product is: a fully circular one, and how even that is taking a resource
  • Her perspective that sustainability is a spectrum rather than a bar to be reached
  • How they are developing a tool to start business owners on a journey
  • The most difficult areas to gather data: the dashboard for analytics for companies that have close relationships with the farmers, and the lack of knowledge for those who don’t
  • What the future of bendi looks like: continuing with small and medium firms
  • The free version they have created to help brands get started
  • How the sharing economy will impact the future of fashion
  • Trends around extending the life of a product within the marketplace system
  • Her thoughts on introducing a labeling system and what that looks like
  • How government regulations could be introduced to the apparel industry

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Transcript

Mandeep Soor  0:00
 
We thinking, Okay, we need a framework to and we didn't reinvent the wheel here, that framework. Lots of frameworks exist around sustainability. But how can we look at all the different types of impacts and they're really the big ones around environmental impacts, and then around people impacts. And we wanted to have all of that information available for brands so they could say something across the spectrum of sustainability. And so all of those certifications very much sit into various areas of this. 

Cory Ames  0:33  

Hey, y'all, it's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcasts, as always, so grateful to have you here and back today, specifically for our series on the impact of fashion, where we're exploring the challenges, innovations and opportunities facing the fashion industry with our partners over at Donna and today's episode, we are talking about measuring and managing a sustainable fashion supply chain. And to do so I'm joined by Mandy SOAR is one of the co founders of bendy a sustainability as a service platform for fashion brands. bendy helps fashion brands to measure, manage and communicate their impacts and become sustainability leaders. And so in today's conversation, we talk about bendi's progression as to how they are measuring and defining sustainability in the context of fashion, what challenges and roadblocks brands that they're working with are experiencing in this point in time, and we as well explore some of the deeps anticipations and hypotheses for where the future of fashion is headed, and how that converges with technology that they themselves provide. So wonderful episode to come. But before we dive in, I want to invite you to sign up for our Better World weekly newsletter, which is a weekly newsletter that I writes curate and publish myself send out every single Monday that's the Grow ensemble Better World weekly newsletter at grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter. So join in on our discussion with our community of changemakers and innovators, all sectors all over the world go to grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter. Alright, well, without further ado, here's man deep sore from bendy.

Mandeep Soor  2:36
 
Monday, and I'm one of the cofounders of bendy. In a nutshell. We're a technology company that helps fashion brands to measure and manage their sustainability impacts and then reduce them over time.

Cory Ames  2:50  

And can you explain to me a little bit as to what was the impetus for for starting bendy, and in particular, what brought you together with with your co founder, Ben, who didn't happen to be able to make it to our chat here

Mandeep Soor  3:02  

today? Yeah, let's sorry. Apologies on Ben's behalf. He's been caught with the flu at the moment. I think it's made a bit of a comeback after COVID. But yeah, I think the backstory really for me, there's a couple of really big reasons why I got into this. I think firstly, just from a very personal perspective, my mother works in the informal, she was an informal seamstress here in the UK as many years ago, when I when I was a child, I remember her actually being paid less than minimum wage and having to deliver things and get them in on time. So it can be sold on high streets. And I think experiences like that really shaped my views around what happens in the supply chain of fashion, the things that we don't know about those human impacts and the way that it really affects people's livelihoods. And that's just an example of a personal one here in the UK. But I think it's much more far reaching. And we hear about those things publicly a lot. So that was something, I never even thought that I'd have an opportunity to work in an area that could address that. So when this came along, that was great. And at the same time, have wanted to like many people start to address some of the causes of climate change. And fashion is a huge polluter. Approximately 10% of carbon comes from the fashion industry in some form or another. There's also other types of impacts. 20% of industrial wastewater comes from fashion. So it's a pretty dirty industry. And to be able to do something to address these issues have felt just like a calling, really. I think then my background wasn't in fashion at all. I'd spent the last sort of 1213 years in commercial roles I've worked in consulting for a bit visually actually started off in banking. And then the last couple of years I was working at a data science startup here in the UK, working with teams of data scientists who made tools on demand For a range of different organizations, things to help them personalize their technology, things to help them stop losing customers things like churn models, but also recommender engines. So pretty cutting edge stuff. And then when I started talking to Ben, so Ben and Mandy, together, that's the, that's kind of where the name comes from. Handy, but I'd say the organization as well as it was amalgamation of our experiences. So that was my commercial and data science background. And Ben had spent the last 10 plus years working NGOs, he spent some time at the UN, he then segwayed into the carbon disclosure project that works with organizations to help them map their carbon, as well as things like biodiversity. And then he moved into fashion, but working in sustainability. So he worked in the sustainability team here at London, in Burberry for a number of years, before moving to the global fashion agenda, which brings together brands fashion brands globally around the topic of sustainability. And he was telling me about all of his experiences and some of the challenges that fashion brands have, they want to be able to understand the impacts of their products and their operations. And they want to be able to reduce them. There are all sorts of external needs, and internal needs to do that, and an impetus to do so now. But the tools that they're using to do this is kind of Excel spreadsheets and the stuff that they've been doing for a while. And it was like, I work in data science and look at the stuff that we're building for other companies in other sectors. But I don't think people were looking at using these tools to help fashion brands and tech, I think technology has been used by fashion to help, I think on the front end to talk to customers, but not in the back end to help manage kind of sustainability through the supply chain. So that's all sort of came together. And somehow our experiences and what we've been doing for the last 10 years with our lives, we can make sense out of this. And I've heard this before that there's a kind of an aha moment really where it all comes together. And that was I think, bendy for me totally.

Cory Ames  7:15
 
Well, thank you so much for that. Mandy been one thing in particular that I'm curious to start with. There are other certifications that may act as something of sustainability measurements in the industry of fashion, organic, Fairtrade a few others, I'm curious exactly as to how there's something that y'all are providing that bendy fit into the scope of what the significance of those certifications might mean. And why as well. Did you and Ben see bendy is something that's so essential, and so missing, as a gap in the fashion industry for for how sustainability could be measured?

Mandeep Soor  7:56  

Yeah, great, great question. So I think there's yeah, there's a huge number of certifications out there in the industry. Everything from, as you mentioned, standards around materials, standards around treatment. So something like you know, the chemical processes or what chemicals have been used, there might be certifications around certain processes around water, for example, or something around whether you can reuse something or can be recycled, for example. So there are lots of lots of different certification, but they sit in different areas. And so sustainability is more than just the material construct of your apparel. It's more than just the process. It's also how it was shipped. It was also where does the energy come from? What happened to waste? Under what conditions were the raw materials grown? Where were the kind of, let's say, Finish, the zips and everything else? Where do they come from? What can we say about those is there's quite a lot of processes that go into making an item and all of its impacts. And so we saw our role is trying to bring these existing certifications together, so that there was a lot of confusion we did, right, the beginning we did over 100 interviews with consumers. She mostly parents at the time, because we were thinking about waste in the children's sector. We moved away from that, but I think the problem still exists. And it's very true. So we spoke to all these parents and there are a few things that we found really in common across all of them, given some sentences or information about sustainability. They really varied and what they understood and didn't, but there was always some level of confusion around how to compare items. And that's mainly because they're difficult because they have different bits of information. If you have one item there tells you one thing and the other side and tells you the other thing. How do I know if I pick this this item has got 50% Carbon let's say this sweater and has 50% as much carbon as the average butcher, and then I've got another item. And it says that every single person who produced this item in the supply chain was paid a fair wage will actually those two things are incomparable. And so we were thinking, Okay, we need a framework to and we didn't reinvent the wheel here, that framework. Lots of frameworks exist around sustainability. But how can we look at all the different types of impacts, and they're really the big ones around environmental impacts, and then around people impacts. And we wanted to have all of that information available for brands, so they could say something across the spectrum of sustainability. And so all of those certifications very much sit into various areas of this. And that was one of the starting points, how can we help consumers to become, you know, less confused by standardizing some some information, but not by creating a new standard? Because there are a lot out there. And we don't need to make that more confusing for people?

Cory Ames  10:59  

Well, Mandy, as well, just to make sure that that we are all on the same page here. I think it's important. And I would love to know how it is that y'all bendy are measuring what is sustainable fashion, you mentioned there that that you are working off of existing frameworks, you didn't reinvent the wheel. But I think it is so important, as we've had with many of these guests in this series of the impact of fashion has gone through this exercise of defining what is sustainable fashion. And so I'd love to hear from your perspective, what what are you seeing as defining or setting the standard right now for sustainable fashion?

Mandeep Soor  11:35  

Yeah, I think just the even the statement, sustainable fashion is fraught with pilot challenges, because the only sustainable products is one that's like fully circular. But even then you're using some resource for that. And I think whenever we take some resource from the world, you have to account for it. And so is that sustainable? And it's like truest sense, there is no such thing as sustainable fashion, because you're producing some good and you're using some resource. So that's kind of a textbook, I would say answer. But in reality, I think we have to look at sustainability on a spectrum. And we can say that in some areas, or one area, so we are actually looking at sustainability across 18 different areas. So things like carbon emissions from your operations would be one things like chemicals would be another things like waste would be another things like water would be another. So adding all of those up, we have 18 different areas that we consider to be some units of sustainability in fashion. And we separate them by people impacts impacts related to planets, and impacts related to sourcing how you source your materials and your products and your finished items. And so across all of them, we then look at is there some Is there a kind of foundational step that's been taken, given what's happening in the industry? Is there some intermediate step that it's probably quite hard to do, but we're definitely seeing many players in the industry able to do that. And then of course, we would consider to be leadership steps in sustainability. But this is best in class, I think trying to measure against some almost like fictitious bar of this like Cradle to Cradle product, that perfectly circular, that is carbon negative even. And we know and everybody who made it work has the best life ever is it's kind of false. So we looked at like what best in class leadership is across each of those different areas, and then address it in that way. And a single brand might have products and their operations that they might do really, really well in some areas, but are weak in others. And that's, I think, to be expected, but to be more sustainable across a wider range as the goal. I think when we started this, we didn't want to we don't want to be an organization that discourages brands from taking that first step, which I think can be hard if you've been doing business as usual. And you haven't been thinking about where your products come from, but you do care, you know that your consumers care, there's a lot coming in, especially in terms of regulation here in the UK and Europe, more widely, things like extended producer responsibility or kind of claims that you can make on your around branding and around communication of your products, then everybody brands are trying to make more of an effort. And there's more to do. And so trying to encourage them by showing them what some foundational steps might be across some of those areas, sort of where we want to be and this is a journey. And frankly, we developing a tool that will help brands to start that journey and develop across it in into leaders and what it will mean to be a leader in sustainability across some of those areas will probably change in two or three years time and that's fine, but let's You know, let's get started. And let's build a kind of pathway which we can help you along with. No, it's complicated answer.

Cory Ames  15:09  

Now that that's just fine. And I'm wondering what of those particular components that you mentioned? Where where are the most difficult areas to gather data? Or is it a thing of all the information? Is there? It's just a matter of whether we want it in the work to obtain it? Or are there particular areas of the supply chain these components that you mentioned, that are a bit more of a black box than others at this point in time?

Mandeep Soor  15:35  

Yes, it depends. This is always a really, really hard day, right? I think with some brands, they've have a really, they have a direct relationship with the farms that produce the raw materials that are then, you know, make up the fabrics that then make up the products that they sell. And they started their journey as a brand doing that, you know, that they thought about sustainability, they thought about? Where are these items, couple of how am I going to make them where's the stuff going to come from and who's going to make it and under what conditions. And so they have excellent visibility, and they've got lots of data. And so their challenges really around managing that data and being able to analyze it. So the kind of things that we do there is really a dashboard for analytics. So bringing in all of their products and the raw materials deep into their sort of, you know, the beginning of the farm stage. Or if it's not, if it's not cotton, if it's not annual baseball or something, then then it might be even polyester, or whatever, where that comes from and how it synthesized. But for the majority of brands, actually, they're not going to know going that far, they'll know their tier one suppliers. Your tier one supplier is where your things are manufactured. So you get some cotton. And then you cut it and you sew it and you finish it. And that's where you end up with your finished product. So for them, if they want to be more certain of their supply chain, then they actually need to go further. Like where does that supplier get that and sometimes a supplier might know that sometimes they're not going to have visibility. And you're asking people to change. So I think the greatest challenge around data is when brands or a manufacturer or supplier of some form hasn't asked those questions. And now we're asking them to start asking them, and they it's hard work. So the debt, I mean, the data exists, right? But it's like whether you want to go on that journey to dig in to find it. And then what happens when you go to your supplier and they say, Look, I don't know where this thing comes from, I've just use the same person for the last 20 years, we have a really good relationship. And I've done I don't want to stop when I think you can't really reports on that. I think that you end up with these like holes of data. And that's where these tough decisions might come in. Do you put pressure on that supplier to go and to report things? Or do you actually pick a different supplier? And I think those are the things that we will probably experience a lot more as we grow. It's not something that we've had to experience us for.

Cory Ames  18:12  

I guess that's it's all kind of part of the value proposition in the journey that you mentioned there is first and foremost, it's a significant effort to measure, especially as how complex and wide strung out supply chains can be. And I believe I've read this in my preparation for our chat, but Vendee is most appropriately fit for maybe small to mid size brands and you can correct me on this first I guess you know, can you confirm? Is that who then D is best fit for and and for what reasons? And if that is the case? Is there some future which bendy as service infiltrates a much larger scale brand? Or is that going to be sort of the realm in the sweet spot that y'all imagine working with his size of scale or speaking to scale?

Mandeep Soor  19:01  

Yeah, no, absolutely rights are they the reason why we picked Small and Medium is because that's that's the majority of firms. So few different reasons. But I think that was one of them. And the other being the larger organizations of this worlds. They've got teams already, they've got a lot of resources. They're putting a lot of people power to address these topics already. And that's great. I think if we crack the pull from before they do very happy to go and work with them directly. But we really saw this long tail of brands, I mean, just specifically for the UK. There's 11 and a half 1000 brands and retailers and the majority of them 95% are small and medium sized enterprises and so there is a big firms that make huge volumes and then everything else has lots of small brands. And if we want to make a change if we really want to shift the industry conscious be the big brands it has to we have to make something a tool that's accessible to all of those smaller brands. And the more we're speaking to them, their concern their customers, let's say the consumers of this world, I want the same standards from a smaller brands that I do from the h&m of this world or the Burberry's of this world. If Burberry is going to print some information around, this is available, and we know this about our products, then if there's a smaller brand, or want to see the same information, but not thinking about it, that's a huge amount of work. And they've got a team of 30. And this is like their total team is less than 30. They've got 15 people working on this brand. And they do everything from sourcing to marketing, sales to all that internal management. And so doing this sustainability piece on top is just it's a huge amount of kind of additional expertise that has to be brought on. And there's a lot of I think analytics involved, especially around reporting impacts. So that's what the tool is aimed to help that long tail of the majority of firms out there. And we wanted to make it easy to use, but also pretty accessible in terms of price and stuff. Maybe at one point in the future, we're thinking of doing an almost like a free version that will help brands to get started as and then as they progress. There'll be kind of some paid versions that they can mature to.

Cory Ames  21:30  

And so speaking a little bit more to the future, the future of fashion, specifically, not just speaking to the trends in brands both needing to be and wanting to be more sustainable. What like what does starting bendy and evolving bendy, I guess reflect in your assumption of where the future of fashion is headed? And what what are some things that you are anticipating in the industry that that had bendy make so much sense.

Mandeep Soor  22:03  

Just say, I mean, there's some so just even putting bendy aside, I think there's been some really amazing trends that I've seen in the last few years, I think very much around reuse, and reshare. So the kind of rental markets and the resale market of products of fashion in particular, but more widely product, I think, this kind of whole sharing economy around products and really extending their lives, I think, is a huge trend. And a really, really positive one. And the way that I at least in my mind, I think about it, that's great. And I totally support that. And I in fact have rented an item for an event something that I normally might not buy. But it's been a really interesting and great experience. It's also made me think a lot more about repair. Like I've recently just purchased a bag, and I purposely bought it from Patagonia because they have a repair service, because I thought, well, this is my current bag. Kind of okay. So I don't think it was at the end of its life by no idea where to get this thing fixed. So there is some really incredible trends around extending the life of a product and for more people to be able to share that in a way that I don't think we saw even four or five years ago. And that's really brought about by technology because this incredible like marketplace systems that we can now go to the Airbnb keep hearing this right the Airbnb of like clothes or whatever, couldn't do before. Airbnb develop this for rentals, for example. I think that that is great. But for everything else, I'm like, if you're going to buy a new product, if you're going to sell new products, then that's where I didn't see a huge amount being done. In the same way. I saw an industry shift towards trying to measure carbon. And that's great. Lots of like net zero commitments going on everywhere, you know, the UK Government, but more widely all these like sector commitments to be carbon neutral or net zero some way, I think fantastic. But yeah, there's a lot more to fashion, there are all these other impacts. And I wanted for us to be able to address those in the thing that we're making. And so carbon is one of those impacts, but there's others. So if it's something new, if you're making a new clothing item, then I want bendy to be kind of helping brands to address that and make sure that it's the lowest impact that it can be or at least working towards being able to reduce that. And otherwise there's some really interesting industries popping up.

Cory Ames  24:48  

And so do you imagine that that there might be something of like a labeling movement around around the impacts of clothes I think Allbirds is one example that I can Pick up of a company in the space that has taken that on purely based around the carbon emissions. But do you imagine that that will be something that will take hold? Or or perhaps not?

Mandeep Soor  25:14  

I think it would be I think it would be great. I don't think it's going to be easy for the industry to be able to, for industry to be able to put something forward because there always be someone, there's so many labels out there again, just like the certifications piece that we spoke about earlier, there's like a zillion labels, right? It's like you could get you could use a carbon footprint. Does everybody understand the carbon footprint? Not sure about that? How do I compare something I'm going to eat versus this t shirt versus this pair of trainers? And can I remember all that carbon? Like, I think until we get to a time where people think about carbon in the way that maybe people have been thinking almost about like their calories or something, but you just know, okay, so I don't know, slice a toast is 100 calories. And you know that in a day, you should eat whatever 2000 or something. And if you can get to that, then great, but I think then then having carbon that works. And there's some great carbon calculators that you can just scan stuff, and you can keep track of that, and you can offset the rest. But otherwise, I think government led some sort of push on like in the UK, there's food labeling, right there just says whether this is like high sugar, for example. And it kind of has a red, amber green, like labeling but it's not related to carbon. Do I imagine something like that will happen to apparel, I think we're a few years away from that at the moment. So far, they're talking about encouraging brands to put their own labeling on but as long as all that labeling is incompatible to each other. If the clothes from Zara you can't compare that label to their clothes from you know, h&m, then people are going to remain confused, always have to be the same as sizing labels, right? And so that's partly why we talk about our mission or our vision as this we want to make sustainability information as common as price and size. But I think what exactly that would look like depends, certainly in the way that we communicate it. We talk about footprints, but then we talk about journeys. So footprints carbon footprint, I don't know whether everybody understands that. Sometimes I really don't either. Water footprints, again, similar? I'm not sure. Without context, it can be really hard when you hear 1000 litres of water has been spent on used in producing this pair of jeans, I'm like, should I just not buy them? Or is this there's some other pair of jeans, why would be only 500 something, it's just really difficult to put it into context. But the bit that seems to speak to me is that journey. So this was designed to be worn 100 times. And that's the lock, you know, when we designed it, this was supposed to be the life of it could probably keep probably understand that. And it was shipped in all these ways that was less impactful or reduced its impact, maybe by a sea instead of by plane. And here are the people that made it and they were audited and stuff. And so we knew that people were pay paid a real living wage in their respective country that made this and those are the kinds of labelings that I think consumers and certainly myself a story stays with me. And numbers are much harder to kind of stay in your, in your mind. But if you told me the story behind that item of clothing that would be saved with me and convinced me to some extent. If I asked you in your work,

Cory Ames  28:44  

yeah. I think in one way or another, it was more so just you know, what, what's your hypothesis about it? And I'm wondering in the brands that you'll have been able to work with us far. Are there any sort of common discoveries that are made? Or what are some routine things that people are, I guess, getting wrong in the context of tracking, tracing and measuring their impact that has started to come in be something of a, you know, either a low hanging fruit opportunity to make an improvement, or something that's just been quite common, thematically or in principle of, of how brands are currently practicing?

Mandeep Soor  29:23  

Yes, certainly. So So I think with the smaller brands, at least that we've been speaking to quite a common theme is perhaps misplaced assumptions around where the impacts lie and the kinds of things that they can do. So there's a real we see a real push towards using biodegradable, let's say packaging, which I think has its place really important. But there is a perhaps because it's easier to do in some respects. There's a misbelief or there's a belief that this is a high impact measure, for example, but then there's all these other let's say higher impact measures that brands might not have known about. So firstly, there is a kind of a go to that they can easily do. And that's part of the supply chain that they control. But then what next? I think commonly we just see when we take them through this exercise of, okay, across all these areas where, what are you doing? And where do you sit, there are some common themes around areas that they haven't looked at, they haven't thought about, or they've thought about it in a kind of an informal way, but they haven't put something in place. So something like waste, for example, or very commonly, chemicals doesn't spring to mind as a area that they should be covering as part of their sustainability. So yeah, some really common themes around that.

Cory Ames  30:47  

And what are the things that have surprised you personally, or perhaps Ben, as well, in your early work with these brands, things that maybe you you had in anticipation, but in actuality, kind of came as a surprise to you about how fashion brands small midsize are operating?

Mandeep Soor  31:04  

I think that was a hard feeling for me, because I didn't come with any expectations. Having not worked in this area previously. So you know, the last two years has been a very, very steep learning curve for me. But I mean, incredible, I think, just being thrown into the deep end, speaking to brands, learning about how the industry works, speaking to experts, we've we've got like, a really great kind of wider support network of advisers who are helping us and so I've learned a lot through that. And I was surprised by something. Not particularly, I think it's just George's been an eye on experience. I'm quite an optimist as well, I don't see things and they are know that they've been doing this for, you know, 10 years in this way. Well, we can't change that. And quite a thing. I'm quite a technology optimist. I feel like I don't know if that's the right thing or a bad thing. I think that quite a lot of challenges can be overcome through technological solutions. I guess I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't believe that. So see, lots of things are a bit disheartening, but I'm pretty optimistic about it.

Cory Ames  32:18  

I assure and share the same sentiment, as you I think, well, I can feel a bit cynical or skeptical in some ways about it. I much prefer to lean towards optimism generally, whether we're speaking to technology or any other subject matter. So I want to work in those those realms of things, no matter the industry, the sector or topic. But one last question for you about bendi. I'm wondering, What are y'all think I know, it's relatively still early days, but what is going to be the balance for y'all as to, I guess, work with the folks who are already converted on the path of sustainability? Because obviously, people who are coming to you, but they're already by that it's very important and imperative that they must take severe action on. And of course, they can make improvements, which is that is the benefit of utilizing the service that you provide. But what is the balance that y'all see evolving, as to perhaps work with those who aren't as bought in to the the urgency to make these improvements and mitigate these impacts?

Mandeep Soor  33:24  

Yeah, I think there's a couple of different ways to look at that. There's brands who don't want to make a change, and don't see the imperative to do so I think that we would be hard pressed to try to convert them, although I think the imperative is growing. And not just from a consumers perspective, but also from a regulation perspective. So whether you like it or not sooner, rather than later, you'll have to do something. But I don't see our role, especially in these early days on changing the hearts and minds of brands who are stuck in a particular perspective, it would be like me trying to convince people who don't believe in climate change to start believing in countries, right. But that's, that's not where my efforts are best spent. But I think, sure, we want to focus on the brands who do see this as an important thing to do, but aren't able to do it for a number of reasons. So we provide them with that resource. And we provide them with that expertise that otherwise they might not have done this. And so that feels like our sweet spot. How big is that market? I think it's sufficiently big at the moment, but it's growing right? There's a real rising tides of change that sweeping not just fashion, all industries, but around, you know, changes that need to happen and commitments that need to be made around being more positive environmentally, but also related to kind of social things. So as that grows, I hope that bendy will also grows, and hopefully it will change a few lines along the way. But I see us like at the beginning of this journey, and I see this market growing a lot, which is great.

Cory Ames  35:12  

Well, it's just something I thought worthwhile to get your perspective on, it's definitely worthwhile to lean on the strengths, and really the people who are wanting to make the most significant change, because obviously, there are great improvements that many of those brands with the desires, the imperatives, you know, the the sense of obligation, it seems like they have a lot of room to grow and improve with, with what it is that y'all provide so and that the trend seems to increasing. Like you mentioned, whether people want to change or not seems to be demanded by the planet itself, or perhaps consumer market, too. But Mandy, I really appreciate you spending some time with me here. Before we wrap up. Man, if I ask you a couple rapid fire questions. Yeah. All right, first one for you. What's maybe a book, film or resource that you might recommend to our listeners, something that you always come back to, or maybe something that's impacted you recently?

Mandeep Soor  36:15  

resource? So I did read Bill Gates's book, actually, very recently, the Yeah, how to avoid a climate disaster. I've just got it on my bookshelf right here, who's a deeply practical book. And I think until I've read that, I was still like, Okay, what does it take to decarbonize the world, right. And so in this one book, he's, he's got his plan on how to decarbonize the world. And I think it's a huge feat. So if you're interested in kind of like, the very structured thinking behind this, so amazing, and reasons why certain things are so difficult to decarbonize flights for example, and and travel. But yes, super, super interesting, really

Cory Ames  36:57  

good recommendation, or next one for you. What's maybe one morning routine or daily habit that you absolutely have to stick to? If anything?

Mandeep Soor  37:07  

mean? Like, there are ones that I want, and then there are ones that I have? So I think yeah, it's like, I'd love to be able to meditate more often. I think at the moment is sort of every other day I manage it, I certainly feel a big benefit from even 1015 minutes in the morning of just a bit of stillness, because sometimes fishing and startup land by day just can be like, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang. That's quite a lot for the mind to take. So I think, yeah, the mind like craves stillness, but your body craves movement. And so in the morning, I'll go and get some exercise or going to work out in the morning, at least five days a week. And that keeps me running while I sit at my desk for the next few hours.

Cory Ames  37:57  

Perfect. And one last question for you. What's one any last bit of parting advice that you might leave our listeners with? These folks are social entrepreneurs and changemakers, from all sectors all over the world? are wanting to leave the world a better place than you found it? What what sort of advice you might leave them with? 

Mandeep Soor  38:15  

I mean, firstly, congratulations to them. And you know, I think fantastic. There's not enough of us, although I think more people are going to anyone thinking about doing it, you know, a bit of advice I'd probably give myself a younger version of myself is I wish I'd done it sooner, this kind of that you can make a change that it takes lots and lots and lots of steps. But you know, take that first step. So I think it's a really an amazing time, that we're seeing people quit their corporate jobs and dedicate their, you know, talents towards addressing these big questions around climate and other pressing societal and environmental issues. So, yeah, if you're thinking of doing that, you should do that.

Cory Ames  39:01  

Wonderful advice for us to end on Mandy. Lastly, where should we keep up with you and bendy? Where's the best places to follow along?

Mandeep Soor  39:10  

Probably on LinkedIn or Twitter so you can join our handles there. And yeah, we can keep you posted.

Cory Ames  39:19  

Perfect. All right. We'll have all things linked up in our show post at grow ensemble.com. Thank you again for taking the time.

Mandeep Soor  39:27  

Thank you Cory.

Cory Ames  39:29  

Okay, that is a wrap another episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast in the books. I hope you enjoyed it. As always your host your Cory Ames. I always really enjoy knowing that you're you're out there listen to this episode, engaging with the content, perhaps the folks that we featured doing this exceptional work in the world. If you enjoyed the show and you haven't already, please leave us a review wherever it is that you get your podcasts and hit The subscribe button if you haven't already that really helps other folks like yourself discover the show. And lastly, if you have not yet, sign up for the better world weekly newsletter this is our weekly discussion of building a better world with our global community of changemakers and innovators from all sectors and all walks of life. So go to grow ensembl.com backslash newsletter to get the next Better World weekly hitting your inbox. Alright y'all, we'll talk next time.

Mandeep Soor Profile Photo

Mandeep Soor

CEO & Co-founder

Mandeep is the CEO and co-founder of bendi, a tech-optimist, and a diversity advocate. Bendi enables brands and retailers in the fashion industry to measure and manage their sustainability data. They’re developing the world’s first AI-powered platform to help fashion companies set sustainability goals and measure progress while reducing reporting burdens.