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#214 - Annotations for February 2022: Crickets, Good News, & Fashion Media

March 01, 2022

#214 - Annotations for February 2022: Crickets, Good News, & Fashion Media
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Host Cory revisits three interviews from February and shares his thoughts, reflections, and key takeaways for the show’s new annotations segment. Hear a recap from Kate Stoddard, Branden Harvey, and Tara Donaldson.

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In today’s episode, Cory revisits three interviews from February and shares his thoughts, reflections, and key takeaways for the show’s new annotations segment. 

Hear a recap from Kate Stoddard, Branden Harvey, and Tara Donaldson. 

Cory kicks things off with an overview of his conversation with Kate Stoddard, Founder of Orchestra Provisions, a company that designs cricket protein superfoods that can easily be incorporated into the average American diet. Hear about how Kate’s parents shaped her desire to be impactful and why you don’t need to do the extreme to have an impact. 

Next, Cory revisits his interview with Branden Harvey, Founder of Good Good Good, a media platform that is designed to leave you feeling more hopeful and better equipped to do more good. Branden describes the distinction between feel good news and real news, why his company is all about good news, and how  being purpose driven can sustain you through tough times. 

For the final recap, Cory takes a look at his interview with Tara Donaldson, Executive Editor of WWD, Founder of The Diversity List, and former Editorial Director of Sourcing Journal. His interview with Tara serves as a searing reminder of the failures of mainstream media to report on the less glamorous aspects of fashion and challenge the unsustainable status quo that is still dominating the industry. 

Gain a new perspective on being impactful, doing good, and the role of journalism and check out the full episodes if you’d like to hear more!

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  • Cory’s reflections on his interview with Kate Stoddard, Founder of Orchestra Provisions
  • The origins of Kate’s desire to do impactful work and how it was shaped by her parents
  • What Kate’s story teaches us about parenting, self awareness, and leading by example
  • Kate’s decision to include crickets in the ingredients list at Orchestra Provisions
  • The historic evidence supporting the benefits of including crickets in your diet
  • Why crickets don’t need to be seen as replacing meat entirely, but incremental substitutions
  • Cory’s reflections on his interview with Branden Harvey, founder of Good Good Good
  • How being purpose driven can sustain you through tough times
  • How Branden describes the distinction between feel good news and real news
  • Why Good Good Good does not deliver ‘feel good’ news
  • How Good Good Good is shining a light on the people who are addressing some of the most urgent and dire problems in the world today
  • Cory’s reflections on his interview with Tara Donaldson, Executive Editor of WWD, Founder of The Diversity List, and former Editing Director of Sourcing Journal
  • An overview of the relationship between media and fashion
  • The media’s tendency to focus on the more glamorous aspects of the fashion industry
  • Why there needs to be more coverage of the production side of the fashion industry
  • Where the fashion industry is now, and what the future can, and should, look like
  • Why many industries are in the ‘messy middle’ right now, and their options for moving forward









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Branden Harvey  0:00  
I think the best moment of my career was the first time that I got to hire an employee, it was so fulfilling to be like, Okay, we're in a place where we're ready to grow. And the growth is not possible with just me like, that's a really cool thing. And now I get to share this journey with somebody else, you know, have you come on as employed, or do at a little startup, like, you have to be a little bit like down for getting wild. And it was really nice to have somebody else who kind of understood like, this is gonna be weird, we're gonna pivot a lot, we're gonna figure it out. But like, it was so nice to be able to talk about that with somebody else. And then she just had so much like talent and skill that I got to learn so much from her.

Cory Ames  0:48  
Hey, y'all, it's Cory here with the social entrepreneurship in innovation podcast, as always, so grateful to have you listening in today's episode is a little bit different, you might have noticed that the music's a little bit different. That's because we're trying out something different, a new segment here on the show that we're calling annotations. So these annotations, these episodes will be something like a recap. But as well, a look inside my head and some of the thinking in reviewing and reflecting that I do with each and every guest interview. So I think of these interviews more so as research, the research to support theories and hypotheses that I have around this space of building a better world, crafting a vision for what a better world can actually look like. And so with each and every guest interview, I go back through them the transcript, listen to them, maybe a couple times, taking notes, highlights, annotating, and signifying particular sections, transitions, all this kind of stuff. So I spend a lot of time with the episodes to see what I can learn from them, what lessons I can extract, what takeaways, I will take with myself, as I move on into new interviews, new fields of study, so to speak. And so these annotations episodes are going to be a way to let you in a little bit on that thinking that processing that happens. So of course, be very interested to hear what you think about him. So I'd might recommend checking me out on Twitter or LinkedIn. Of course, those things are always linked up in the show notes attached to the episode at social entrepreneurship.fm. Or as well, you might consider signing up for our Better World weekly newsletter that I write, curate and publish myself. Go to growensemble.com backslash newsletter to sign up there. If you ever reply to one of those emails, I get those directly. I read and respond to every single one. So we have Kate Stoddard, Brandon Harvey, and Tara Donaldson, from the month of February in 2022. Let's get into these annotations.

First, we have Kate Stoddard. Kate is an Idaho native, and she founded a business called Orchestra Provisions. And they're working to confront global food security, combat hunger, as well as the environmental demise that our food systems are causing. Kate and I talked about many things, but primarily how eating insects and crickets in particular, are the key to a sustainable food system. And while we'll get into Kate's case for crickets, let's first touch on the origins of Kate's desire to do impactful work. I'm wondering what has drawn you in particular, like what do you think about you has drawn you to doing work that addresses such important issues in the world? Yeah, it's interesting that the way that you worded that because that's what about me? And oftentimes I'm talking about, oh, well, in grad school, I was doing a lot of really interesting research about iron deficiency anemia, and so on and so on. Or, you know, I have worked as a river guide for 15 years, and I have this huge connection with the natural world. But ultimately, I think it goes back to the very beginning. And the parents that I chose to come into the world to and most of them are very impact driven. They're very, I would almost say strict to their values. And both of them I would say, if they're not making their community a better place and imparting the world with you know, we don't have so much time here on this earth. So every minute matters. I think both of them feel a lot of a lot of fuel when they are making you know, imparting a legacy and making the world a better place.

Kate Stoddard  5:00  
So I grew up in that narrative. And I think it's just kind of natural for me to carry on that way of thinking,

Cory Ames  5:07  
This subject of parenting, and the effects on children in their desire to want to make a difference in the world. Very top of mind for myself, and in my wife, my partner, Annie, and I is we're expecting our first baby boy, first baby, actually. And so maybe by the time this episode is published, they already be here. But anyways, this thought on parenting, it struck me as something quite interesting for for my context. And so it seems Kate believes that it was her parents conviction, her parents narrative, and the lens through which they saw the world that influenced her to pursue impact with her time here on the planet. Of course, this says something important about parenting, namely, how important it is to parent by example. And to first be aware of what you even value. Self awareness is first, always key, and then to be mindful, and ensure that you're living with those values. Of course, you know, this being because Annie and I have the objective or the desire to raise children who aren't attached so much to being contributors to the economy, versus moreso, being contributors to the world, to their communities, to serve others. And of course, you know, that that might happen that might contribute to the economy as a product of that. But I think what's prioritized one versus the other is really rather important, and becomes quite pervasive in the way in which people see the world and think about the things that they should do or how they should spend their time and energy. So mind you, I am making this notation here is someone who has yet to delve into the world of parenting, perhaps things might change. But now let's hear a little bit more from Kate. But we'll start talking more substantively about crickets.

Kate Stoddard  7:05  
Insects as ingredients, it doesn't have to be so scary as people think, you know, and survivor, when they make it such a big deal to eat a bug, right? Well, like, there are many things on our food labels today that we can't even pronounce. We don't know what they are, they might not even be great for us, because of you know, whatever they're trying to accomplish, whether it's to absorb moisture, or make it tasty or whatever it is a preservative. Cricket is a whole food right? So why wouldn't we add that to the ingredient list? If we if we're not compromising experience?

Cory Ames  7:38  
That leads me into a question I have as to what are you advocating for as the ideal end result? I'm thinking about it in the context of a plate a dinner plate with what you have on it the insects as some component of the meal? Where does that fit in? Is it is it a substitute completely for what might be like the primary protein? Meat, for example? Or in your vision in specifically the work that you do? Is it something that's a substitute on a sometimes basis? Or what sort of frequency? Or does it take over the whole food system? What's the end result that that you're aspiring to for insects?

Kate Stoddard  8:17  
Our food systems, there isn't one solution, I don't think that crickets alone or even insects alone are going to save the world on the level we need saving, right. But I do think that they could be a really crucial piece to the puzzle. So any amount of food is kind of one of the philosophies I learned in nutrition school, if you're asking people to eat something good, instead of telling them not to eat something that is less good, whether that's for personal nutrition, or the environment, if they will just eat that good thing, and that positive way, they're gonna have less space in their belly for other things. So in a very simple level, any little bit of it that you eat, is going to have an impact, it's going to have an environmental impact and a health impact. I don't want to exclude anybody from this food story. I personally really enjoy a nice burger from time to time, you know, and I think like we, we've seen, you know, Meatless Monday or something, even that one day of people changing their behaviors can have great impact. So I'm not an extremist, even though it kind of feels like I am when I talk to people because they're like, well, she's really, she's preparing me for the end of time, and she wants us to eat bugs. It's not really like that at all. I just want to provide an alternative that can have a great impact. I can't do it alone. It's not the only thing that's going to work. But on that note, I think that there are several ways people can be active in this right. If it's just using those spices, you're going to add value to something that normally doesn't have protein or heme iron or calcium. So all of a sudden your spices become a superfood. Are you replacing a beef steak? No, not at all. But over the course of the day If you're using the spices, you might add up to what equates to a protein serving, right, you pretty easily would, you're not going to replace all protein by using spices, be clear on that. The protein powder is super exciting because you absolutely can meet your daily needs it needs, but at least the protein serving pretty easily. So yeah, maybe some days you are substituting and you're going cricket based protein, and maybe just incorporating it as a supplement will, will also be super impactful.

Cory Ames  10:33  
So really, it's it's that sort of alternative protein taking up some sort of slice of the pie that exists in placing any quantity of the calories that you might consume.

Kate Stoddard  10:45  
Right. Yeah. And, and I look around at space, and it's super popular right now, right? Alternative proteins for kids have, you know, the nutritional value, essentially, of a steak, beef without the environmental impacts. And also, it's a lot easier and more friendly, less inflammatory to the body. It's a whole food, it doesn't even need to be processed, really, other than grinding it up milling it, I look at kind of the what do we call it artificial meat market now? And then thinking, Oh, my goodness, you know, is this sustainable? And then you start reading about it. And you're like, well, these are all these things that take a lot of energy to produce. And maybe in the long run, it's actually not sustainable at all. And it mimics meat, but it's not really a food that we evolved to digest or absorb. It seems really silly. It's like a whole bunch of different processes that require energy. And here we have the crickets low at the food chain. They reproduce quickly and efficiently. And they meet all sorts of nutritional needs that we have. And that way, I hope that people can kind of open their minds and just see this makes so much sense. And traditionally, in our food story. Most humans come from genetic lines that used this as a food staple, not only an absence of other proteins, but just as a main food staple. And it has been hypothesized by some scientists that this is one of the reasons why we evolved so efficiently because of our ability to forage for this protein source in absence of other protein. But also one of the reasons why our brains grew so big, because of our our ability to forage for this really high fatty protein source of food, some super interesting stuff.

Cory Ames  12:31  
So here we are with what Kate sees as the Envision, or perhaps that's overstating but the vision anyways for how insects and we're talking crickets here specifically integrate into our diets in our food systems. It's not about a complete swap out with the grass fed ribeye steak on your plate and in with a handful of roasted crickets, but rather it's about substitution. Incremental substitution, there's an easy tendency to believe all things like this need to be all or nothing need 100% plant based diets or 100%, alternative sustainable protein sources, or even 100%, renewable, low carbon energy sources. Of course, the final example there might be the scenario where that's most true. However, this isn't exactly how progress is made. Inevitably, progress will be incremental, it won't happen all overnight. And so of course, it might be more difficult to sell the all or nothing approach to others that we need to get on board, even people who are much more closely to be converted to our side of things depending on what we're talking about. But it's something very important for us to keep in mind. Right? Incremental substitutions can make an impact, even if it's one three or 5% caloric substitution in the context of what we're chatting about with Kate. If the negative externalities of consuming different protein sources are so high, then any sort of progress should be pursued. Right. But what I really appreciate about what Kate has outlined for us here is that there is a vision for us to get behind a set of next actions for us to participate in. One been to check out what Kate's offering and orchestra provisions, protein powders, spices, and other items and see if you might experiment with substituting insect protein for a percentage of what you typically consume. I'm recognizing here that there's power and impact of what Kate shared and how she shared it. I am a meat eater myself. I'm a big supporter of regenerative agriculture and seeking out meats that are humanely raised on farms that are practicing organic and regenerative methods. But even still, I am excited at the opportunity to test out orchestra's goods. And so if you want to hear Kate's full case, for eating crickets and how they might integrate into a sustainable food system, be sure to check out our full interview at socialentrepreneurship.fm backslash 211.

Next up, we have Brandon Harvey, the founder of good, good, good, which is a media company focused on the good in the world. And their mission is to help people feel more hopeful and do more good. And Brandon and I on the podcast talked about his his journey to doing good creating hope with good, good, good. And of course, we as well talked about what what the substance is of the good news that they cover it good, good, good, what the difference is between real good news and feel good news. And so first, let's kick off with a little bit of a founding story from Brandon or perhaps his advice for for founders, like himself, the position he was in with goodgoodgood, a few years back on what shortcuts he might offer to himself. If you could go back in time? What are some of the things that maybe you did advise yourself when you were founding? Good, good, good, what are some of the lessons that you learned? And if shortcuts were possible for you five or six years ago, what what shortcuts might you offer? 

Branden Harvey  16:12  
I think the best moment of my career was the first time that I got to hire an employee, it was so fulfilling to be like, Okay, we're in a place where we're ready to grow. And the growth is not possible with just me like, that's a really cool thing. And now I get to share this journey with somebody else, you know, have you come on as employed, or do at a little startup, like, you have to be a little bit like down for getting wild. And it was really nice to have somebody else who kind of understood like, this is gonna be weird, we're gonna pivot a lot, we're gonna figure it out. But like, it was so nice to be able to talk about that with somebody else. And then she just had so much like talent and skill that I got to learn so much from her. And so if I could go back in time, I'm like, I would have figured out a way to bring on my first team member earlier and bring on more faster because it is, it's so fulfilling to get to bring people into that, especially. And other times, social entrepreneurs and nonprofit founders, I think will, will really resonate when you have a mission driven organization, and you find people who align with that mission and care about that mission. It's really, really fun to work together and to provide other people that same like daily purpose that you have, like I think about every day during the pandemic, like it has been a challenging time to be a business owner. But at least every day, when I went to work, I was actually helping solve a problem. You know, I wasn't necessarily a doctor or a nurse in a hospital. But I was creating work that I think was caring for people's mental health, and empowering people to care for their communities and create a ripple effect of essentially positivity. And I'm so glad I didn't have to like, be I've tried to think of like some benign example. But like, you know, it's not like I was just creating something that's, that's money focused and boring. And everyday, it's like, why am I doing this, when there's obviously bigger problems in the world, it was so nice to get to, I don't know, have this this purpose, and to get to bring other people into having that that daily sense of purpose, because it truly is a privilege that not everybody gets to have, and so on our team getting to have that, like, I don't take that for granted.

Cory Ames  18:24  
So what's the value of purpose and meaning in your work, real purpose, gets you through the tough times, the challenging times, it's not necessarily a magic spell, that will make reality not so the challenges and the hard times will still inevitably happen. But a real purpose will make it easier to stick around, to sustain to push through and do the thing that you're meant to do. Because you know, it's not just good for you. But ideally, it's good for others, too. So Brandon sees the value in that and I feel that's what he communicated. In that response there. It's why he was so thrilled to be able to share that with other team members. bring more people into the fold. Make purposeful things with others. No matter what you're creating a new business or nonprofit organization, or even just a side project community project. Even if you are just trying to learn a new skill, one of the surefire ways to achieve success, however you are defining it is to stick around to do the thing you are doing longer. The longer you take action on your social entrepreneurial aspirations, the more likely you are to find an idea that will get traction. The longer you work at making an impact, the more likely you'll be able to make an impact. Why? Well, we learn from experience, we make mistakes, and we determine what things we shouldn't do again. And likewise, we have small wins and successes, things that make some sense of progress. And we determine what things we could and should do more of, we not only get better at what it is that we are doing, but we get better at getting better. We're more observing, if a greater understanding of the market, the field, we're in the community that we're a part of. And so this brings me all the way back to the point that this response from Brandon highlights that it's important, absolutely imperative that we sort through doing things that matter to us. And then better yet, do them with others. Because a real purpose will help you sustain. And the longer you sustain, the more likely you'll make a dent in the universe that you're hoping to. Now let's hear some more from Brandon on real good news. This Brandon contrasts with feel good news. What type of good news are y'all reporting on at goodgoodgood?

Branden Harvey  20:54  
Yeah. So I think a lot of people like when I'm on a plane, I guess, two years ago, when I was on planes, you know, I didn't sit next to somebody, they'd be like, What are you doing, like, oh, I share good news stories for a living, or I run a media company focused on good news, or, you know, some version of that. And they would be like, Oh, my gosh, well, I've got this great story. Like the other day, my dog, like was hanging out with my friend's cat. And I filmed a video of it, and it was just so cute. Like, that's, that's, yeah, that's good news. But it's not the good news we carry. And there's there's also a bunch of other examples of like, there are stories that are literally stories that are like, designed to, you know, make you go Oh, or like, that's so sweet that that happened, but maybe aren't tackling real problems I think of, and I don't want to offend people, because I think that these are like, are important and amazing. But it just not what we cover is like random acts of kindness. Every month or so, some video goes viral of some news story goes viral of like, oh, the person paid for the person behind them in the line at Starbucks. And that person paid it forward in the chain was 200 cars long. Like, that's amazing. Keep doing that. And that's it is nice to have like those nice things happen. But a goodgoodgood we we are much more focused on solutions to big problems. Some of the big inspiration behind good was my time as a humanitarian photographer traveling all over the world, and cover pretty heavy stories for nonprofits covering childhood malnutrition, HIV and AIDS in Rwanda and Uganda and Zimbabwe covering unethical labor practices in South America. And everywhere that I went, I had to see the problem up close and personal. But it was never left there. Which is, which was the really beautiful thing, there were always people who were showing up creating solutions to those problems in those communities. And that's the stories that I got to tell. And those are the stories that I wanted more people to find. It's it. It I think fully embodies this quote from Mr. Rogers, where he said, When I was a boy, and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping, and for me with good, good, good, what I wanted to do was to lean into that quote a little bit and say, you know, Mr. Rogers, mom didn't say like, don't watch the news, or don't see that there's, there's bad news in the world, it's, you know, when you see bad news, look a little bit closer, because you will find people who are helping, and then you know, we want to lean in a little bit more and extrapolate on, you know, maybe some some of the unsaid things from that quote, which is, you know, and when you find those people help pointed out to somebody else who didn't notice it, when you find those people, maybe there's a way for you to support them. And when you find those people, maybe that can inspire you to be one of those people as well. And so that's what we wanted to do it good, good good is to ultimately be in the business of saying what are the biggest, most heartbreaking experiences of injustice and pain in the world? And then where are those helpers? And so this idea of we share real good news, not feel good news is, we're not here to make you feel good. But we're here to remind you that there are, there are helpers within the heartbreak. And you can join in and be a part of them. And the reality is, there's a lot of there's a lot of like good news accounts on the internet. There's a lot of like good news websites, and almost all of them have more followers than we do. Almost all of them have a bigger audience than they do. And I think it's probably because they're leaning into that, like, feel good side of things. And the feeling of stuff goes a little bit more viral. And we have made the intentional decision to not chase that virality and instead focus on you know, this smaller group of people who are our people who are focused on creating solutions to problems and celebrating solutions to problems. And we're never going to be as big we're never going to be as viral but I think we, we feel more fulfilled in our work. And I think that our community feels more fulfilled in our work. And so right out the gate, when you visit our website, we kind of just want to filter that right away. Like, you know, if you're looking for feel good, like here, like, it's almost like, here's a list of recommendations, like, go to those places, because all of that is good. There's nothing bad about the field, good stuff. But that's not what we're doing here. So don't you know, don't waste your time, if that's not what you're looking for today. And it's been really cool to find those people who align with that.

Cory Ames  25:30  
So it's not feel good; at good, good, good they are focusing on problem solvers. Let's not look away from problems. Let's not refuse to acknowledge reality. But instead, let's look at the problems. Look at the injustices. And let's see who is helping. Let's see what can fix this and who is already doing some fixing. Let's dig into it. Let's see what support they could use. Let's see who else might like to know about it. As I've heard from the solutions, journalism practice, some folks we've featured on the show before, they use the phrase telling the whole story, not just the story of the pain, suffering and desperation. We're being attentive to the injustices and challenges of the world, which is very important. But without solutions without a sense of hope. We're left powerless, but with solutions, with attention drawn to the helpers is Brandon and goodgoodgood calls them, we feel a sense of empowerment. There's likewise a roadmap for us to get involved, even if that's just sharing that good news with others. If you want to hear more from Brandon and get a deeper look into what good news, they're sharing that good, good good. Check out that full conversation at socialentrepreneurship.fm backslash 212.

And next, we switch to the fashion industry, where I spoke with Tara Donaldson, the Executive Editor from WWD. WWD is Women's Wear Daily, which is a fashion industry trade journal, often referred to as the Bible of fashion. They provide information and intelligence on changing trends and breaking news in the men and women's fashion, beauty and retail industries. Before the the editor position at WWD Tara was the editorial director at sourcing journal, where she covered the the end to end the fashion supply chain. Tara and I talked about the role in relationship of media to the business of fashion, what sort of imperatives are facing the fashion industry in the near future? And likewise, what needs to change in the culture of the fashion industry if it's truly to become more sustainable, more equitable, and more inclusive? Let's hear first, from that initial point on the role and relationship of media to the business of fashion. Could you say a bit more as to what you think is the role in relationship of media to the business and industry of fashion?

Tara Donaldson  28:10  
Certainly, well, as I mentioned, I used to work as a merchandiser. At that time, it was part of my job to be one of the people pushing the factories in Bangladesh to make this thing cheaper every year, which is what my boss's job was doing. And of course, I'm supporting that. So when you see the prices that these things are being made for, and you're making millions of T shirts for low price stores, he realized the kind of impact he can have. And so for me, that's actually why I left the industry and didn't end up in media covering it on purpose. But because I did want to be a journalist, and my background was in fashion ended up that way. So I think it's critically important, it's so much better for me personally, to sit in this position and kind of talk about those issues than to be perpetuating them. So I think it's critically important for media, not just to tell that story. But to pay attention to the stories that need to be told, it's really easy to talk about the surface level of fashion, what's happening on the runways who's wearing what what the pretty fabrics are, but if we don't go deeper, where the bulk of the industry is, then we're not doing our job as journalists, I think, you know, the media is probably covering a lot of fashion media could be guilty of covering, let's say, focusing 80% of their time on the pretty side of fashion and 20% or even less, in some cases, on the true underbelly of it. And I think we need to bring that into better balance because there's so many people and so many communities and environments that are impacted by what's going on in fashion, that it isn't just about telling stories. It's about taking care of the people who are taking care of us.

Cory Ames  30:03  
And so from making that leap to working in fashion, to then covering the industry of fashion, were there any surprises for you, or learnings or new understandings? Like maybe you went in with some hypotheses, and it either wasn't at all what you expected to look at the industry from that lens, or perhaps it was exactly like you expected.

Tara Donaldson  30:24  
I guess, having had the experience I had working in the industry, I wasn't terribly surprised by what was going on, I think what was the most eye opening was how rampant some of these problems are and how much factory workers, for example, suffer because of what we're doing further down the supply chain. And I think the things that got to me the most for were people's individual stories, or realizing how these big companies are just raking in money, and really not willing to pay more and more being just a reasonable amount for the things that they're requesting to have made. So I think that was the biggest eye opener how rampant this problem is, and how the industry is built on being okay with it.

Cory Ames  31:14  
So there's no fashion industry without the people who make fashion. There's no fashion media, without the people who make fashion. And it's not just about telling stories, so much as pushing those with power and influence in the industry to take care of everyone who makes fashion possible. And also, it's interesting to note that there's a wanting or desire to look inside the machine of something like the fashion industry and hopefully see that the exploitation and the extraction is something that's a product of ignorance or some sort of grand constraint that can't easily be overcome, but that it's not something so explicit and egregious. And of course, there's something incredibly disheartening about being unsurprised is Tara was the most surprising thing about her experiences, that she wasn't really surprised at all. Or really, that she was surprised with how bad the conditions in fact, were. Let's now hear a little bit more from Tara as to where the fashion industry is now and what the direction forward can and should look like. So from the perspective of the media in in that have a journalist, maybe someone who sees more of the narrative lens on any sort of ecosystem, where do you see the industry of fashion right now? Or what are the few particular maybe it's the relationship garment workers in supply chain, specifically, but what are the few Cornerstone topics, themes and challenges that are set to shape in mold of fashion here in the immediate near future?

Tara Donaldson  32:53  
Yeah, I think fashion, two biggest mandates are sustainability and social impact. I think those are the things that people need to be addressing widely and consistently, I think that the industry was set up, like a lot of things have been set up over the years, these few people at the top, they made the money, they have this sense, they have the fun, their whole ability to do that is built on the backs of other people. And they're not taking care of those people. So when it comes to taking care of those people, it's not just paying them a decent wage, which many companies are not doing. But I was in Bangladesh for a factory visit some years ago, and just driving between factories. And there was a river, the place looks beautiful on the surface. But there was a river there that was completely Indigo, like completely Indigo that you've never seen anything like that in your life. I'm not the only water stream in that community. Okay, we have genes. But more has happened to the people who live there, in that community where we're making the genes and letting all these chemicals run into their drinking water. They're still drinking the water, because that's what they have. It's just so much deeper than corporate social responsibility reports and following the certain few things that are legally required of you it's you actually have to care about what you're doing. And the people who are doing it for you and the environment that they live in and the earth and what's gonna happen to that and we continue to just do what we're doing.

Cory Ames  34:37  
And so what do you see as for definition sake, when you say sustainability in a more sustainable fashion industry? What what do you see as the end result there? Perhaps some examples or what's the goal that those within the industry should be striving towards?

Tara Donaldson  34:54  
The great big question, I think, no, no, if I can say what the end goal is you because it's hard in an industry where we are going to continue to make products all the time, I think the immediate goal is, how can we make left? How can we make more exactly to demand? How can we convince consumers to buy quality over quantity, and that shift is already beginning to happen. But kind of when we get back to the days of the buy one really nice coat, and you have that coat for years and years. And then when you're done with it, you pass it on to someone else. So I think we have to focus on having a lesser impact from the outset. So can we use better materials? Can we use regenerative materials? Can we use processes that can give back to the earth in a positive way, rather than just continuing to deplete from it? So we're starting with better products? And when can make fewer good quality products and convince people to shop like that? And then can we have less weight? Can we pass clothing through circular models? Can we really broaden resale renew? And then can we figure out what to do with these things, instead of just dumping them in the landfill? There are a lot of people working on things like this accelerating circularity is one of the trying to figure out how to recycle more of the waste that we will ultimately end up having no matter what, no matter how much we improve on some of the things I mentioned. So it's a lot of things. It's a lot of things. And it's a lot of dedication, and a lot of people putting in hours and really their lives to figuring these things out. We really have to care brands have to care to find these people find these solutions, engage them, pay for them.

Cory Ames  36:45  
In one way this, this concept here gets me excited. There's the feeling of a striking and incredible parallel between multiple contexts, we have to acknowledge that what we have built what fashion has built is illegitimate. We have to wrestle with this concept, I believe, if we really want to move forward and change things meaningfully, and substantially, too much in too many have been exploited to build and create what we have. It's taking life on Earth in our natural ecosystems and turning it into profit. It's doing the same finding human capital, or labor, which you can pay as little as feasibly possible, and a never ending race to the bottom. But at some point, we run out of available life to take and turn into cash profit, we have to determine to move forward to build to create with a non negotiable set of new constraints, or wanting to right size and tweak the dials on this economic model that's been grossly exploitative, and extractive and degenerative. But we just have to come to terms with the fact that we either need to muster the imagination to agree to agree on a new way to live in the world, or we need to come to terms with the fact that we're just okay to exploit and extract and continue on until we can't anymore. We're in the messy middle right now fashion is in the messy middle right now. Look at almost any in every industry, many are in the messy middle right now. And I believe it's difficult for history to tell us a way forward because history of all kinds and pathways has been written with a pen dipped in ink of exploitation of labor based resources or planet based resources or another.

And so yes, I think as Tara mentioned here, it's more than just the tactical and legal implementations that we need. Of course, we do need those. But we also need almost a complete paradigm shift to make a sustainable fashion industry. There's a laundry list of items that you know, if you have an understanding of this field that you would expect to hear. There's circularity where we're considering the end of life of products after they've been made. There's buying on demand products made strictly when purchased, using regenerative materials, increasing consumer awareness. It's the gamut. There's all these things, tactical implementations that we certainly do need. But it's not all about the sustainability strategies. We do need those we want them. But if brands and people don't truly care, like with a capital C care, things will not change. We will implement tactics and strategies in various innovations. But those will be purely ornaments on a rotten tree. We have to care. And we have to commit to valuing new things over others, like valuing people and the planet over profit. Truly valuing people on the planet over profit if we want things to fundamentally change. So if you're curious to catch more from my conversation with Tara, go to social entrepreneurship.fm backslash 213 Alright y'all, that's a wrap on this episode of the social entrepreneurship and innovation podcast. And here for our new segment annotations from this last month, February 2022. Of course, I always appreciate you listening in so grateful to be in your earbuds wherever you are at in the world. But of course I'm especially interested in when we do something new and different like this to hear what you think about it. So feel free to find me on Twitter or LinkedIn and let me know or as mentioned at the top of this episode to sign up for the better world weekly newsletter at grow ensemble.com backslash newsletter, you'll hear from me and reply to those emails directly. I always get those right in my inbox. I read in reply to everything personally there. Alright y'all again, thanks so much for listening to the show. We'll see you next time.

Tara DonaldsonProfile Photo

Tara Donaldson

Executive Editor

Tara Donaldson is the Executive Editor of WWD and formerly the Editorial Director of Sourcing Journal. She has covered the business of fashion from textiles to retail, bringing to light issues surrounding sustainability, social impact and inclusion.

Tara prides herself on taking an on-the-ground approach to uncovering what’s happening in the fashion industry, a knack backed by her past life as a merchandiser and account manager for two major apparel companies. As a merchandiser at Warnaco, which was acquired by PVH Corp. in 2012, she worked with a design team to create product for leading U.S. retailers. As an account manager at Fortune Fashions, Tara supervised production, working with an in-house factory and design team to ensure product would meet delivery deadlines and designated margins for the sales team.

Tara has a master’s degree in journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, and a bachelor’s degree in business and merchandising from California State University, Los Angeles.

Branden HarveyProfile Photo

Branden Harvey

Founder & CEO of Good Good Good

Branden Harvey celebrates the good in the world. As the founder of Good Good Good: he hosts the podcast Sounds Good, he's the Editor-in-Chief of the Goodnewspaper, a printed newspaper full of good news, and has built an online community over more than 500,000 world changers.

He's been written about in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Men's Health, and Forbes. And one time Miley Cyrus asked to interview him on Instagram Live.

Kate StoddardProfile Photo

Kate Stoddard

CEO/Mom/Nature lover

Kate is a mother, social entrepreneur and environmentalist. She has a masters in the science of nutrition and is interested in finding regenerative solutions to mend a broken food systems.

She's also the founder of Orchestra Provisions which is normalizing the practice of entomophagy (eating insects) with an insects as ingredients approach to product development. This solution is multifaceted and addresses global food security and an earth friendly solution to our protein problem.

You can read more about Kate's story here: https://orchestraprovisions.com/pages/kates-story