This is part one of our conversation with Dr. Vidhura Ralapanawe. The conversation is co-hosted by Manufactured co-founder, Jessie Li. Vidhura is the Executive Vice President for Innovation & Sustainability at Epic Group and a Member of the Board of Directors at the Sustainable Apparel Coalition.
Epic Group is a manufacturer of woven topics and bottoms, denim, and most recently, knitwear. The company is headquartered in Hong Kong, and produces across Bangladesh and Ethiopia. Vidhura is based in Sri Lanka.
This week’s conversation is… a conversation about the conversation we’re not having. We begin this episode with some basics: what was Vidhura’s entry point into the world of fashion? And what does he do now? We then move into science-based targets, why they make Vidhura uncomfortable, and why he thinks they won’t get the industry we want to be in terms of reduced environmental impact. How could we do science-based targets in a way that’s sensitive to context, to the particular? And how can we talk about environmental targets in a way that won’t leave anyone behind? We close part one by exploring the alternative models that give Vidhura hope.
Want to dig deeper ?
Learn more about Epic Group.
Of Carrots, Sticks, Cats and Mice – Reflecting on the Compliance Regimes in the Apparel Industry by Dr. Vidhura Ralapanwe.
Explainer: Why ‘differentiation’ is key to unlocking Paris climate deal by Sophie Yeo and Simon Evans
Struggling to reconcile the industry’s need to set universal goals with sensitivity to the particular? As a scholar of human rights, I feel you. How to make universal ethical claims without steamrolling diversity? I’ve found Anna Tsing’s work very useful here and recommend reading her article Supply Chains and the Human Condition.