November 10, 2022 | 12:00 ‒ 14:00

On Thursday, November 10, AmCham Estonia, in cooperation with the U.S. Commercial Service, held its Women in Leadership Series Luncheon devoted to the topic of leadership in sustainable fashion design, industrial upcycling, and the role each one of us can play in minimizing waste.

The event featured 2 amazing speakers – leaders in the field of fashion sustainability:  Reet Aus, PhD and Ann Runnel, and was moderated Megan Riley of MLR Strategies.

Ann Runnel, who is the Founder & CEO of Reverse Resources, has been researching eco-innovation in the textile industry since 2010 to understand how innovations in sustainability can be scaled up. With her background in economics, she is driven by the question “How can circular economy be set up profitably and efficiently on a global scale?”

Reet Aus, a PhD-qualified fashion designer and environmental activist, is also a natural rebel and the founder of REET AUS COLLECTION® and THE UPSHIRT®. She is a pioneer in the field of industrial upcycling for fashion: she is a Senior Resarcher at the Estonian Academy of Arts, a professor at Tartu University, and has developed the UPMADE® certification, in order to pass on her knowledge to brands and factories. Reet spoke about her  guiding mission in life, which is to save the fashion industry from itself, and to show that there is a way of ending the throwaway culture that causes so much waste and destruction around the world. Reet is reducing the environmental footprint of the industry she loves. Her message to all participants was “Change is possible – it starts with you!”

It was a very inspirational and a much-needed discussion. 

We kicked off the event with a special message delivered by Rosemary Gallant, Regional Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Department of Commerce. Rosemary addressed the critical issue of the loss of women from the labor market due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the necessity to work together when building diversity and equality within companies. She introduced the #EmpowerHerInitiative, launched earlier this year in partnership with AmCham EU and AmChams in Europe (ACE), to bolster direct engagement by businesses to define and promote actionable steps to advance women’s economic empowerment and entrepreneurship. AmCham Estonia is proud to be among the first AmChams in Europe that signed the Declaration in Support of Women’s Economic Empowerment in May 2022 in Washington, DC. 

We would like to sincerely thank our speakers and participants for this incredible discussion. A special Thank You also goes to the International Trade Administration and Rosemary Gallant, as well as the event partners and sponsors: Coca-Cola Baltic States, Admirals, Chemi Pharm, Anne & Stiil and Säde.

“Imagine a gender-equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. Celebrate women’s achievements. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality.”(Theme for International Women’s Day 2022)