Rick Lambell has been working to help organisations create value from sustainability and enhance social performance for over a decade.
His current role as Head of Sustainable Development at Kmart Group (Kmart and Target Australia), sees Lambell lead the development and execution of its ambitious sustainable development program.
At the heart of this work is a focus upon policy, strategy, partnership development and program management – ensuring that human rights, the environment and the implementation of a circular economy are considered throughout.
In 2019, Kmart Group launched its first integrated sustainable development program, with a clear goal to transition towards a circular economy, making Kmart and Target Australia ideal partners for our Circular Fashion Partnership (CFP).
To learn more, we asked Lambell five questions:
What inspired you to make a difference in the apparel industry?
Kmart Group (Kmart and Target Australia) is a high volume retailer and manufactured over 250 million units of clothing in the past 12 months. Given our scale and impact, we believe we have a responsibility to demonstrate leadership in this area and to support the transition to a circular economy.
We know we have long road ahead, but when we look at the pace of innovation in the industry and partnerships like the CFP, we are optimistic that real change is possible over the next decade.
Can you tell us more about how Kmart and Target Australia have helped to drive sustainability in the apparel industry?
“Kmart Australia launched its first sustainable development program in 2016, with a focus on a small number of priority areas, such as diversity and inclusion, energy efficiency, ethical sourcing and strategic human rights challenges such as living wage. In 2019, Kmart Group launched its first integrated sustainable development program for both Kmart and Target Australia, with commitments and targets looking out to 2030. Our new program is far more ambitious and holistic, with a strong focus on sustainable materials, managing environmental impacts in our supply chain, and working to transition to a circular economy. Our program has always been built on partnerships. We believe that working together and utilising each other’s strength is critical to achieving better outcomes for people, the planet and the fashion industry more broadly. Over the years we have played an active role through our involvement in important initiatives such as Action Collaboration Transformation (ACT), Ellen MacArthur New Plastics Economy, Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and more recently, the Global Fashion Partnership.”
What do you believe are the most critical challenges that we need to overcome to implement a circular fashion system?
“Whilst a number of brands and suppliers have demonstrated that it is possible to adopt circular principles – whether it be incorporating more recycled materials into products, implementing customer take-back programs or designing products to be more durable and recyclable, a truly circular fashion system requires us to come together as an industry to develop more scalable solutions and technological innovations that take us from offering selected product ranges and initiatives to delivering end-to-end solutions that tackle and re-value waste at every stage of the product lifecycle.”
How do you think the Circular Fashion Partnership can make an impact in Bangladesh?
“One of the most significant roles that the CFP can play is around the promotion and scaling of recycling capacity in Bangladesh. This will enable more textile waste to be processed and recycled within the country and the value generated from these waste streams to benefit the local economy.”
What does an ideal future for circular fashion look like to you?
“An ideal future would be one in which waste is reduced and re-valued at every stage of the supply chain and the environmental, social and economic benefits realised by all stakeholders along the supply chain.”