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LEGACY 2020 | A Note from AFC CEO Leila Naja Hibri

It's time for Change. Let's do it Together.  I could have opened the Legacy Summit today by urging you to acknowledge that Climate Change and Modern-Day Slavery are not someone else’s problems. That our community has the power to do things in a way that upholds human dignity and protects our environment.  Or, I could have started by talking about the one thing that I can guarantee, has recently completely disrupted your business and your life, as it has mine.  But I didn't do either…

by The AFC

25 March 2020

LEGACY 2020 | A Note from AFC CEO Leila Naja Hibri

It's time for Change. Let's do it Together.

I could have opened the Legacy Summit today by urging you to acknowledge that Climate Change and Modern-Day Slavery are not someone else’s problems. That our community has the power to do things in a way that upholds human dignity and protects our environment.

Or, I could have started by talking about the one thing that I can guarantee, has recently completely disrupted your business and your life, as it has mine.

But I didn't do either.

Instead, I started with:

It's time for Change. Let's do it Together.

I sincerely believe that, as hard as this moment is for everyone in our industry, the whole world for that matter, it is also a great opportunity.

A great opportunity for us to take a stance together and to use this unprecedented time to be the catalyst for change that the business world so urgently needs.

Whatever your priority, people, planet or profit, you must know by now that if we continue doing things the same old way, something will have to give.

In fact, it already has.

Our industry is dominated by boards, managers and workers who seem to believe that maximising sales and profit is the be all and end all purpose of our existence. Regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the consequences.

That is why we are all panicking today.

The priorities that we have set for our businesses do not and cannot deal with moments like this.

When our North star is based on daily sales targets and unsustainable growth expectations, how can we be expected to navigate a world that is locked down, that is upside down.

I doubt any of you here today, when you dig deep into your core, truly believe that the ultimate purpose of your working life, the thing that takes up most of the hours of your day, can be quantified and qualified by a dollar sign.

Of course, we need money. Of course, we need profit. But I can assure you, from having been fortunate enough to apply a people-first approach in several businesses over the last 15 years, profit and money will ultimately come from a people-first. Every single time.

In fact, a 30-year study by the Business Roundtable found that ‘socially responsible' companies outperformed the Dow Jones index by 7.6 times.

So, what next?

Let’s collaborate. Let’s innovate and work together to create a new way of doing business. A business model where we put people first, always, where we consider the planet, in every decision we make. Not because customers are now expecting it of us but because we absolutely must.

We now must promote and educate a new generation of Leaders motivated by a vision, a higher purpose, that’s focused on improving people's lives and on protecting our planet.

Together, we can join forces and lead by example by advocating and incentivising for a new way of doing business.

It's time for Change. Let's do it Together.

Let this be our Legacy.

I have to acknowledge the great work Melinda Tually and her team have done by managing to get the Legacy Summit going despite the impossible circumstances we are in. Mel, like I’ve said to you many times, please, don’t ever give up.

_

Leila Naja Hibri

CEO | Australian Fashion Council


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