If you haven’t heard about crowdacting yet, let’s fix it now: it’s a new solution to get people to act together, in order to make the world a better place. This week, Duurzame Week spoke to Ron van den Akker, co-founder of CollAction, the organization that started crowdacting.
A new concept
A few years ago, Ron realized that many people do have good intentions to change their behavior for the social good. Not only are we aware of the many challenges we face nowadays, but we also agree that the world needs change. However, people (including Ron himself) seemed to never get to actually doing as much as they would have liked in order to bring about the necessary change. One of the reasons, according to Ron, is that people feel like if only one person changes, that ends up representing a drop in the ocean, lacking the big impact the world needs to become better for everyone.
Made in the Netherlands
That was when crowdacting came to life in the minds of the Dutch founders of CollAction. Inspired by the concept of crowdfunding and other collective ways to act as a society and make positive impact, in 2018 they decided to use crowdacting to take on fast fashion. As a data-driven professional, Ron was very bothered by the extremely high stress that the fashion industry causes on the environment. The millions of kilograms of carbon emissions, together with the other millions of liters of water used in the textile supply chain, were numbers Ron could not just accept. Together with other volunteer partners, he went on to the then new project Slow Fashion Summer.
Know you are one of many
Crowdacting works in a very straightforward manner: no cure, no action. The process starts with the launching of a project to tackle an urgent social or environmental problem. For each project, a target number of participants is set to be achieved by a specific deadline, and everyone acts when the target is met. In case that doesn’t happen, no one who has signed up is expected to act. You will be applauded if you decide to act anyway, but guess what? In the case of Slow Fashion Season, the target has been surpassed for two consecutive years!
Ron and his team began with a target of 2500 participants for Slow Fashion Summer 2018, challenging citizens around the world with the question “If 2500 people commit to not buying any new clothes for three months, will you do the same?”After achieving a much higher number of participants, they raised the target to 10000 in 2019, and ended up with 14487 action takers. For three months, that crowd committed to trading clothes, upcycling, repairing, and buying second-hand instead of buying new clothes.
The extremely positive results
Together, the group of almost 15000 people saved 450 million liters of water and 1,5 million kilograms of CO2 emissions! The impressive outcome and the interest of people worldwide originated a new, even more ambitious target, and brought about a change in the project name: Slow Fashion Season. After all, June, July and August are summer months on the Northern hemisphere, but are winter months on the Southern hemisphere. The new name made sure that both cases are equally represented.
Slow Fashion Season 2020
This year, the target is set at 25000 participants, but Ron expects another climb in the numbers and we think he is right. To take action and participate, sign up on the project website and make sure to set the dates on your calendar. You’ll commit to making only conscious fashion choices from June 21st to September 21st, with a new addition to the rules due to the corona pandemic. Other than trading, upcycling, repairing, and buying second-hand, you are also allowed to buy new clothes from sustainable, local, small fashion labels. A list with the social and environmental scores of sustainable brands will soon be available on the project website, so you can make informed decisions.
Let’s take collective action now! Make those numbers even higher and green up your closet.