Meet Sustainability Manager Julia Bakutis
Meet Julia Bakutis, Regional Sustainability Manager Europe, H&M.
Sustainability is an integral part of everything we do at Treadler and the vehicle to achieve playing an active role in future proofing the fashion industry. To dig a bit deeper into the production side of our sustainability offer, we chatted with Julia Bakutis, H&M Group Regional Sustainability Manager for Europe based in Turkey supporting the group’s brands within sustainability.
What does a typical day look like for you as Regional Sustainability Manager?
I spend time with different stakeholders, internally and externally, from international colleagues to other brands and NGOs, collaborating and asking the right questions to make sure we are taking steps forward to have a positive impact to have the biggest impact possible. Being the second largest buyer in Turkey H&M Group has an important role to play in the industry. As part of the global steering committee for our global framework agreement (GFA) with IndustriALL Global Union, I support in the work to improve conditions in our supply chain globally. From minimum requirements or to how we work together with suppliers. All this is part of reaching our long-term sustainability ambitions as H&M Group.
What is your role at Treadler?
Raising awareness and helping potential Treadler clients understand H&M Group’s approach and what that means for them. Explaining how they can benefit from the group’s smart network of sustainability professionals in our production markets. Also spending time on more practical details – how we can work to meet the client’s needs and what that means for the local production offices and the sustainability teams, ensuring timely supportive action. We are onboarding our clients on a journey and our clients need to feel empowered and engaged in that journey. We have an opportunity to build on the momentum H&M Group has, as a large fashion retailer, for Treadler’s clients.
Treadler’s vision is to future proof the fashion industry, do you think we can play an important role to accelerate the needed change in our industry?
Absolutely, big players such as H&M Group have impact, but we can’t future proof the fashion industry on our own. It’s fantastic to see other big players joining forces, but to have real impact it is also important to join the large industry wide initiatives we are already part of. Treadler is a vehicle for these companies to put their business toward these initiatives that I believe will future proof the industry, for instance ACT* or ZDHC**.
Do you believe fashion can be a force for good?
It already is in some ways. We see that the textile industry is a powerful force for formal employment for women especially in developing countries, which is an empowering opportunity for these communities.
On the other hand, there are some major challenges with the way fashion is produced today. Our planet provides us with an abundance of natural resources. With global demand rapidly outstripping supply, the fashion industry cannot continue to operate as it has in the past. A massive shift is needed. We don’t have all the answers and we recognize that the past is not the way we are going to work in the future. Treadler is a step in the right direction and an essential piece of the exploration toward a truly sustainable business model.
*ACT: H&M Group is a founding member of ACT, Action Collaboration Transformation, a partnership between international brands, retailers and trade unions. ACT is addressing the issue of a living wage through industry-wide collective bargaining.
**ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals): The ZDHC Foundation oversees the implementation of the ZDHC Roadmap to Zero Programme, a collaboration of major fashion brands, value chain affiliates and associations
Name: Julia Bakutis
Role: Regional Sustainability Manager
Joined H&M Group 6,5 years ago;
Shanghai Production Office – Relations Responsible in the Sustainability Team: a new role at the time created in China and in Bangladesh with the aim of more proactively sharing information about H&M Groups sustainability work with key stakeholders
Myanmar Production Office – Country Sustainability Manager: Stakeholder engagement, building up local team, securing sustainability expectations in the new market with new supplier factories.
Turkey Production Office – Regional sustainability manager Europe: Responsible for ensuring that all products in the region are compliant with H&M Group’s minimum requirements and driving towards the groups long term sustainability ambitions.