USA (New York)
Every second, a garbage truck full of textiles goes to landfill – despite fabric having a significant water, carbon and chemical footprint. Stephanie Benedetto could see this waste for what it was: an opportunity to protect the planet, and a hidden goldmine for fashion businesses all over the world. In 2014, she found a way to turn pollution into profit. She set up Queen of Raw – an online marketplace that uses blockchain technology to connect over 175,000 people and companies who want to buy and/or sell unused fabric stock.
Queen of Raw estimates that there is more than $120 billion worth of excess fabric sitting in warehouses all over the world. Instead of paying to store it, companies can now sell it on – to people and businesses who want affordable fabric that, because it already exists, has no environmental impact. Every yard of fabric purchased on Queen of Raw saves a whopping 700 gallons of water – as well as the chemical pollutants and greenhouse gases typically pumped out to make the threads, yarns and fabrics that our clothes are made of.
Queen of Raw’s platform makes it possible with a click, so that buyers and sellers can find each other and save or make money while they’re at it. Companies can map, measure and trace waste in their supply chain in real time, then automatically add any deadstock to the marketplace. The system keeps track of just how much water, chemicals, energy and money a company is saving.
“If we can build innovative new business models and solutions that unlock massive profitability, and it happens to also do well for people and planet, that’s the win-win-win – how do you say no to that?” says Stephanie. “Creating future sustainable solutions that lead with profitability – that is how you get the biggest stakeholders in the world on board. And that is how we’re going to get widespread adoption and solve issues like the world’s water crisis. Then, once businesses have freed up cash, they can put it into other ways to make their business more sustainable.”
By 2025, Queen of Raw could save over 4 billion gallons of water and 2 million pounds of chemicals – and keep 2 million tonnes of textiles out of landfill.
Stephanie sees how possibility can be borne out of crisis, and today’s challenges are no different. “In this period of downturn and uncertainty and in some ways, darkness – how can we find the light, and build opportunity and new business models and new visions of the future?”
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Nature-geek, urban forager and all-round wordy sort. Freelance strategist and writer for organisations that care about the future. Often found reading while walking.
Stephanie Benedetto, CEO & Founder
This project has been selected as part of FashionFutures, a new content channel that maps the work of people transforming the fashion sector: the designers, craftspeople, social innovators, educators, community leaders and communicators. Atlas of the Future is excited to partner with Makerversity, with the support of The J J Charitable Trust and their network of fashion friends.