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EFF SOURCE Fashion business success without compromise

15 June 2017

Common Objective: Building a Better Fashion Industry

Contributor Ethical Fashion Forum

CO article 2


The story behind the Ethical Fashion Forum's new online platform, Common Objective, and what this means for current EFF/SOURCE members.


For over 10 years now, the Ethical Fashion Forum has been working with fashion businesses, professionals and entrepreneurs to help them to integrate sustainable and ethical practices. Our online platform at www.ethicalfashionforum.com was created to further this goal in 2012, and now has over 11,000 members in 141 countries, reaching a network of over 100,000.

During 2016, we raised investment to develop a new platform that would allow us to take the work of the Ethical Fashion Forum to scale. We recognised that as a not for profit body named the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF), we were having an impact – but we were only working with a small part of the fashion industry. In order to increase our reach, we needed to create a platform that is relevant to all professionals and businesses – not just those already interested in sustainability. We resolved to give users a tailored experience – so that the right connections and information would be matched to them, rather than them needing to search for it. Finally, we set out to create a level playing field – in which sustainability becomes an opportunity, rather than a cost.

We also recognised that we needed a new brand, that would better embody our mission. We wanted a brand that would allow an easy transition from our current platform – SOURCE – and we originally renamed as Mysource. However, shareholder and network feedback and our core mission led us to revisit the branding once investment was raised.

Our new brand, Common Objective, goes back to the roots of the EFF network. In 2005, a group of entrepreneurs and business owners got together in London. We had a Common Objective – to build successful businesses with a positive impact for people and the environment. We believed that we would be able to achieve that objective more easily by joining forces. A year later the Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) was formalised with 20 founding members from 4 continents, and a mission to make it easier for fashion businesses everywhere to succeed in 3D.

The CO Platform – How it will work

The first phase of the CO platform launched at the Copenhagen Summit in May this year, and we are now in development phase, bringing out new elements of the site to be tested by users on our test site on a weekly basis.

Our mission with CO has not changed. We aim to make it easier for fashion businesses everywhere to succeed in 3D.

But our methods have. We’re building on our learning over 10 years in the design of the CO platform, and how it will function. We have 3 core goals for the functionality of the site:

1. Creating a fundamental tool

CO aims to make it easier for all fashion professionals and businesses to do business better – to find the right suppliers, grow their sales base, and get their products right – whether or not they are interested in sustainability.

2. Matching

The CO site functions like a match.com for the fashion industry. Users specify their needs by creating a profile and get matched – with suppliers, buyers, experts and resources, so that they can achieve their goals. Saving them time and money, and helping them to get where they need to go, faster.

3. Rewarding Sustainability

Several elements of CO business profiles carry a weighting, that impacts search ranking on the site. Thus, businesses that can demonstrate robust ethical and sustainability credentials benefit from increased visibility on the site, and more connections with potential customers. We’re creating a level playing field, in which sustainability becomes an opportunity, rather than a cost.

To find out more about the new platform, visit the new CO site and join our Common Objective

What CO means for current EFF/SOURCE members

The first phase of the CO platform launched at the Copenhagen Summit in May this year, and we are now in development phase, bringing out new elements of the site to be tested by users on our test site on a weekly basis.

Until CO is fully launched, the current SOURCE platform will continue to operate at www.ethicalfashionforum.com giving our members and network access to all our intelligence and training, and promoting members through the SOURCE database.

With the full launch of CO, content and data on the SOURCE platform will be transferred to the new site. All paying members will be automatically transferred to equivalent premium packages on the new site.

What will happen to the Ethical Fashion Forum?

The Ethical Fashion Forum (EFF) will continue to operate and to have a website at www.ethicalfashionforum.com, though it will not include our intelligence platform, database, or network, all of which will be transferred to CO. The Ethical Fashion Forum objects are to reduce poverty, further education, and safeguard the environment. The organisation will continue to pursue these objects and to be governed by an independent board. During the CO launch phase, the focus of the EFF board is to support and further the mission and success of CO.

Ethical Fashion Group Ltd – The New Entity

The Ethical Fashion Forum is a not for profit Company Ltd by Guarantee, and in order to raise equity investment to take our work to scale, we needed to set up a company limited by shares. We and our shareholders wanted this company to embody our origins and build on the legacy of the Ethical Fashion Forum. We therefore named this company the Ethical Fashion Group (EFG). The Ethical Fashion Group owns and operates the new platform, with Common Objective functioning as a trading name for EFG.


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