Deborah
King

Project: Global Measure

Deborah King wants to bring awareness to the environmental and social impacts of clothing manufacturing, its eventual disposal, and the power of consumer influence.  She is the Founder and CEO of Global Measure, Canada’s first social enterprise focused on measuring and certifying the sustainable impacts of fashion brands. She is an environmentalist proficient in ethical and circular fashion systems.  She has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Toronto, and a Post-Graduate in Sustainable Fashion Production from George Brown College.  She’s an innovative leader with over 10 years of experience in fashion, supply chains logistics, and quality management.  She’s skilled at leading diverse cross-function teams in achieving ESG goals and business targets. Through Global Measure, she aims to guide and influence the fashion industry to adopt a more circular and climate-neutral model.  She also plans to certify and promote brands that uphold sustainable standards and metrics.

PROJECT

Global Measure is North America’s first social enterprise focused on measuring, validating, and certifying sustainable and ethical fashion brands.  The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world and a major contributor to climate change.  Fashion brands often rely on long and complex supply chains that utilize production facilities in several countries.  Global Measure aims to create transparency in a typically closed industry. This initiative helps mitigate the impacts of climate change for established businesses and prepare new businesses by helping them ensure their practices stay within the planetary boundaries.  Utilizing a comprehensive certification standard, created in consultation with academia and industry, Global Measure performs a risk assessment of fashion brands’ supply chains, provides recommendations for change, and certifies those companies that can meet stringent criteria.  Brands are provided with a score indicating their ‘global measure’ against stringent criteria and an action plan with clear steps to help improve their score and subsequent environmental impacts.  Consumers can validate which brands and products are certified through Global Measure’s online portal supporting verified sustainable brands and reducing negative environmental impacts.

I’ve always had a keen interest in how things work and how they could be improved, which led me to become an Industrial Engineer. Throughout my career, I’ve always maintained a love for fashion.  I decided to pursue this passion by taking evening classes on fashion production.  Getting more involved in the fashion community created a greater awareness of the negative impacts of fast fashion including excessive textile waste, toxic water pollution, and the oftentimes poor working conditions of garment workers. I wanted to combine my passion and skills, so I decided to go back to school to pursue a post-grad education in Sustainable Fashion Production.  Through this program, I built a network of peers, professors, and advisors who I worked closely with to define what 
‘sustainable’ means in correlation to the fashion industry.  Leveraging my engineering background, I was able to create a comprehensive standard that captures ESG measures required to legitimately consider a fashion brand as sustainable and ethical.

MOTIVATION FOR AND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A BETTER AND MORE SUSTAINABLE PLANET

“Sustainable” has quickly become the latest buzzword many companies have latched on to in advertising campaigns.  Often, companies focus on one or two metrics to prove how sustainable they are.  Sometimes there are no metrics to back up this claim, instead, there is imagery and verbiage attempting to influence consumers. These greenwashing campaigns are overshadowing sincere efforts by companies invested in ESG endeavors.  Data supports that if given the choice consumers would choose a sustainable alternative over a conventional one.  I want to help consumers make the right choice by differentiating legitimately sustainable fashion brands from greenwashing noise.

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