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CEO Sustainability Series | Diego Dultzun Lacoste, Co-Founder & Chief Father of OnTheList

As part of the Sustainable Business initiative, the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore presents a leadership interview series where we invite CEOs and key executives to discuss crucial management qualities that drive successful sustainable transformation.

Question 1: What has your company’s sustainability journey been like so far? 

OnTheList was founded by Delphine Lefay and Diego Dultzin Lacoste in Hong Kong with a strong sustainability ethos and entrepreneurship mindset in 2016 to ensure every single item made can proudly be loved. It has now expanded its presence to Shanghai, Singapore, Taipei, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea.  With the business mission to turn past season inventory into new opportunities in promoting circular economy, it has provided a platform for brands to run flash sales via OnTheList’s online and offline platform. To date, we have saved over 2.24 million items from ending up in landfills, accumulating more than 700 brand partners and 530k members globally in the OnTheList community. It is with pride to announce that - OnTheList Hong Kong is now the first flash sale company in the world to obtain the B Corporation certification that operates as a force for good, with the ultimate goal that all operating regions of OnTheList will be a B Corp.  The B Corp™ certification builds upon the existing OnTheList social and environmental initiatives under the OnTheLove umbrella – we run a series of initiatives to give back to the local communities and amplify our passion for sustainability by running three pillars. We strive to promote sustainability to our internal and external stakeholders by improving our environmental performance at internal operations, educate our members and stakeholders on giving back and sustainability, and join hands with our brand partners to run initiatives in ensuring no items end up in landfills and benefiting the community at the same time as a double win solution. 

 

Question 2: What is your idea of fashion sustainability, and what are some of the most pressing sustainability concerns you've encountered and how did you address them? 

OnTheList is born to solve one of the most pressing sustainability concerns in the fashion industry - to create a solution for brands to diminish unsold inventory. Hence, fashion sustainability to me is definitely to minimise waste created by the fashion industry as a priority.  OnTheList committed to reducing waste by recycling our plastic hangers, bags and paper products from 2019 in Hong Kong, ensuring items are reused or repurposed into new products, resulting in over 6 tonnes of waste being saved last year from ending up in landfills or the ocean. We also ensure our own production is as sustainable as possible. The new OnTheList’s shopping bags are also made from 100% recycled polyester, with even our online packaging uses minimal ink and environmentally-friendly cardboard. Furthermore, OnTheList joins hands with other fashion brands to contribute to the circular economy and local community. In March 2022, OnTheList assisted its brand partner Laboratoire Native to donate more than 12,000 hair care dermo-cosmetic products to 6 charities to provide support to grassroots communities and charity recycling programmes in Hong Kong. On top of that, we organise swap parties regularly across APAC regions, where OnTheList members can bring and exchange their pre-owned fashion items with one another. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation says “In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place.” Inspired by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s works, OnTheList will continue to contribute and encourage a circular economy in the fashion sustainability industry by minimising waste with our members and brand partners, and ultimately to limit the impact on the planet. 

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