Embracing the European Sustainable Development Week at MSM

11 June 2018

During the recent European Sustainable Development Week (30 May – 5 June) MSM organized several sustainability related activities for its staff and students.

With more than 2000 activities registered in Germany and more than 1500 in France, MSM was proud to be the organizer of the only three registered events in the Netherlands (https://www.esdw.eu/country/the-netherlands/) showing MSM’s commitment to sustainability.

We started with the MSM Sustainable Dinner on Friday 1 June, bringing together students, staff and representatives of MSM’s global partners. The dinner was held at the Beeldentuin (Sculpture Garden), a special location just outside Maastricht. The food was prepared with bio-dynamic products from the own cattle and the vegetables grown in the Garden. Despite of the rainy weather everyone was enjoying the nice atmosphere at this beautiful location and the well-prepared food. An informal start to the more serious activities awaiting the week after. During the Dinner the Green Office initiative was launched to encourage staff and students to implement environmentally friendly actions which can be easily applied to the daily life in office and in the classroom.

On Monday students and staff enjoyed the MSM Movie Night featuring An inconvenient sequel; TRUTH TO POWER. This sequel to An Inconvenient Truth (2006) addresses the progress made to tackle the climate change challenges and Al Gore’s global efforts to persuade governmental leaders to invest in renewable energy, culminating in the landmark signing of 2016’s Paris Agreement. The movie showed the devastating effects climate change can have, but also the many good initiatives taken in countries around the world in the use of renewable energy. During the break organic pizzas and drinks were served.

We closed off the sustainability week at MSM with a lecture day about the Sustainable Future of Denim. The day started with the movie The True Cost showing the dark side of the fast fashion industry and providing a look into the lives of the people and places behind our clothes. The movie left a deep impact on the attendees. On a more positive note the movie was followed by a Skype lecture of Nudie Jeans, a Swedish frontrunner company in sustainable denim. Ms. Sandya Lang and Ms. Eliina Brinkberg provided insight into how Nudie Jeans is working to reduce the environmental impacts of producing denim and at the same time improving the social impacts, trying to make sure that their products are made under fair working conditions. Nudie Jeans is listed in the Leader category of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF) for the 4th year in a row, showing advanced results on FWF performance indicators. MSM students appreciated the efforts of Nudie Jeans very much. They posed interesting and also sometimes challenging questions to the presenters.

Dr. Lori DiVito from Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences closed the day with a guest lecture about the Alliance for Responsible Denim. Dr. DiVito’s lecture focused on the question why companies collaborate with their competitors and what are the benefits and challenges of such “multi-lateral coopetition”. The Alliance for Responsible Denim provided a vivid example of these theoretical insights, highlighting how an international group of more than 50 denim brands, mills and suppliers joined forces to make denim production cleaner and smarter. After seeing The True Cost, MSM students welcomed Dr. DiVito’s positive story on what has been achieved by the Alliance so far, particularly because the Alliance is a network of organizations. This organizational form was new to most students and raised questions about how to govern such a diverse group of actors in terms of interests, resources and frames of reference towards achieving the common goal to make denim production more sustainable.

(Photo: Dr. Lori DiVito and MSM’s Dr. Jakomijn van WIjk)

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