“We hosted an event in collaboration with our local yoga studio in Guimarães, YOGADHIPA by Diana Marques, about how we can change and promote a sustainable lifestyle. A good crowd was gathered representing yoginis and yogis from the studio and we had the honour to have with us: Dra Sofia Ferreira, heading environment and urban services + José Miguel Fernandes, heading energy efficiency – both at the Municipality of Guimarães.

The event was a natural evolution in our cooperation with our stakeholder, YOGADHIPA, who is performing yoga classes at the office on Wednesdays. We are fascinated by the synergies and the inspiration from ancient philosophy and practices in our efforts to promote responsible consumption and production. Our cooperation with YOGADHIPA will continue and is an attempt to engage with consumers and try to create a local movement. We feel the will is there, but someone needs to show the direction.

Lars Gøtterup presented his practical analysis of where we are in our sustainability efforts. The dark conclusion weighed heavily at the start of the session: humanity has done practically nothing to avoid the destruction of the biological platform of our existence and we identified 4 main reasons:

The Hegemony of Fossil Fuels – a continuous process, where the political and corporate elites successfully convince key players in society that the continued carbonic growth is the only and an indisputable way to lead our society. Our institutions have failed.

The Markets Have Failed – when a dead tree is worth more than a tree alive in the forest, the formation of prices will always lead us to make the wrong choices as the cheap solutions are driving the negative impact of the hegemony of fossil fuels. The cost of nature is not built into the prices.

Our Relation to Biodiversity – us humans can easily relate to animals, see they have feelings and that we need to think about animal welfare. However, only those we need for our growth and we do not understand vegetation and microorganisms; might not even see them and realize their existence – and even less understand the critical interconnection with us.

Our Relationship to Science – the internet, social media has given everyone a voice, which has good sides, of course. However, it also leads to the perception that any opinion is okay and no opinion is better than another. We clearly see a degradation of the importance of facts and knowledge and we do not listen to our scientists.

These 4 circumstances have lead to the fact that, inspite of having had sufficient knowledge for more than 50 years, we are just continuing to increase emissions. Inspite of 5 major UN conferences, emissions have increased by 60% in 31 years. According to The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, IMF, the Produced Capital increased 100%, Human Capital 13% from 1992-2014, but our Natural Capital reduced by 40%.

We are inventing crazy vocabulary like: zero-growth, negative growth, de-growth. Let’s just skip the term growth for a while and discuss reductions!! Avoid impact rather than off-setting it to justify growth and business as usual. Focus on reduction of our overall impact rather than focusing on the eco-efficiency of the single products or actions.

It comes down to lifestyle and this is the inspiration. Yoga is a lifestyle; working at Win-Win Textiles is developing into a lifestyle, where our actions at work melt together with our actions in our private lives.

It is time to change. Unfortunately, we rarely see real change and there is a wave of sustainability leaders at apparel brands leaving their positions, as they get nowhere.

We are engaging with the local biodiversity science centre, Laboratório da Paisagem (The Landscape Laboratory) to help us direct our strategy in a new direction based on scientific research and facts. We are engaging with the municipality to understand, where we can be part of the efforts to place Guimarães as the European Green Capital in 2025. It is impressive how the local community is working to gather the collective will, how easy access we have to the political leadership and this leaves us with optimism as collaboration is uncomplicated.

The staff at Win-Win Textiles is defining, where we will invest several annual working days in voluntary work and we have met with several organisations to discuss collaborations. We are defining profit-sharing, where part of the profits are invested in stakeholder relations (biodiversity conservation, education, gender equality, waste reduction) and part is distributed to the staff.

We have launched a number of working groups, who are to recommend new practices aligned with the SDGs, where we prioritise 4+5+12+13+14+15 and we are thrilled by the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles, which will hopefully have a big impact making it impossible to continue business as usual.

Tomorrow Lars Gøtterup will speak at CVR, Centro para a Valorização de Resíduos (Centre for Waste Valorisation) as a “warm-up” for the activities starting in connection with the European Week for Waste Reduction. We will engage with students at Universidade do Minho to continue the discussion and will discuss further our collaboration with the university, whom we are launching projects with next.

Our biggest challenges continue to be creating true transparency and traceability. There is still a lot of lack of trust among partners in the supply chain and therefore lack of collaboration, which can increase the speed. This is our main objective for improvement in 2023. Resolving this is fundamental  for leading change. Without the data we cannot create strategies and take well-considered decisions.

The hosts: Diana Marques & Lars Gøtterup
Photograph on the wall in the background by Grégoire Dubois, taken at Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, July 27th, 2019.
We are honoured to have Grégoire’s photographs at the office.