Humanity-Plus is a term that describes companies that are working on solutions that can push the human race forward. Humanity-Minus companies are those that are profitable, but may have an expensive social and environmental cost.
How does this relate to the fashion industry?
Well, as the fashion industry is cited as having huge impact on the environment, when looking toward the future, it will be important for companies to not just be profitable, but actually have humanity in mind. In the fashion industry, we find a variety of profitable companies, but not as many that have the well-being of humans and the environment as a priority.
While 2017 will be remembered as a year in which major apparel companies stepped up and announced their mission to reduce their impact on the environment, the fashion industry will need more than just mere promises of improvement for the future. Companies such as Gap, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co, and Guess have announced that their climate change targets will be science-based, which will provide them with a clearly defined pathway to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. While we applaud these efforts, we are curious whether these actions will result in long-lasting initiatives to reduce the industry’s footprint.
We then come across companies, such as Apolis, that perform social advocacy through the industry. Apolis uses the power of business to create social change. After founding the company in 2004, Shea and Raan Parton still operate a small-scale, sustainable business over a decade later. Their humanity-plus business model operates with the value of global citizenship in mind. Regardless of the flags, languages, or currencies with which individuals associate, the common thread is people.
These beliefs have lead them to tell the stories behind their products. Their relationships with their suppliers and their direct engagement with their factories has led them to expose the good that can come from a humanity-plus mindset. One of their most popular products, the Apolis Market Bag that is featured below, impacted countless women. The bag gives women, like Najma Ara Khatoon, the ability to provide for their families. In fact, Khatoon’s wage accounts for over 80% of her family’s earnings.
The Parton brothers highlight that customers are increasingly taking an interest in humanity-plus companies that make a connection to the humans behind their products. Customers appreciate this transparency from companies that come out of the fashion industry.
So, the next time you take a look at a successful fashion company, we challenge you to search for more than just products or garments. Look beyond the tangible and try to find the company’s mission and the stories they tell. If you are not happy with what you find, ask questions about who is behind the products.