Masse Critique launches to reduce industry damage to the environment

A new association officially launched in Quebec on Monday, with the singular goal of reducing the industry’s negative impact on the environment.

Masse Critique is led by founder and president Valérie Vedrines, who until February was vice-president of marketing for Reitmans Canada. The group is launching with some sponsorship support from Pattison and La Presse, and will seek to drive new revenue through Desjardins’ crowdfunding platform La Ruche, as well as looking for other ways to raise funds.

“I left my job to do this,” said Vedrines. The fashion industry is amazing, she said, but also has a big impact on the environment. Aside from her time at Reitmans, Vedrines has also held VP marketing roles at Aldo and Jacob in the past decade.

While she was always thinking about how her brands could be more environmentally friendly, she decided that was no longer enough. “I wanted to do more… so that is exactly what I’m trying to do, why I left my job and am trying to put this together.”

There are three ways the industry can start to drive real change that will be good for the environment, she said.

First, it’s in the storytelling and messaging to consumers themselves about what must be done to reduce climate change. Then there’s changing the ways brands run their campaigns. “I think we could do campaigns in a much better way for the environment,” she said.

And the third is about changing the businesses behind the brands—by embracing circularity for example.

“Masse Critique is about having a platform where we’re going to share a lot of information,” said Vedrines. “It’s a nonprofit organization, so the goal for us is to have the maximum reach within our industry—providing conversations, examples, sharing business cases, giving to our industry ways of calculating our impact, and all these kinds of things.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to connect the experts from the environment to our industry, and we’re going to make a community, all of us together, going in the same direction.”

The mission to turn vision into real action will be spearheaded by Vedrines and a board of 11 other people from across the industry in Quebec, including Cossette vice-president Benoit Chapellier; Republik president and CEO Vincent Fortin-Laurin; senior VP, brand at Stora Enso Caroline Losson; vice-president of ecommerce at Bugatchi, Jaylone Lee; and Critical Mass managing director Julien Galtier.

“Masse Critique’s manifesto rests largely on the ability of the members of the industry to create new standards in the creative community, to drive responsible behaviour, to accelerate sustainable practices and new business models,” said Chapellier.

The new group was formally launched at the creativity and commerce conference C2 in Montreal as a way to raise awareness and invite new volunteers and supporters from across the larger community.

David Brown