Take 5 with... Nancy Tong!
WELCOME TO WOMB'S WEEKLY "TAKE 5 WITH..." SERIES. ROUGHLY ONCE A WEEK WE WILL FEATURE A SHORT INTERVIEW WITH A HK-BASED CONSCIOUS PERSONALITY.
THIS WEEK WE PRESENT TO YOU NANCY TONG, WHO ISN’T AFRAID TO ASK INCONVENIENT QUESTIONS AND ACTIVELY WORKS ON PROJECTS AIMED TO INCRESE TRANSPARENCY IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself, where are you from, and why did you choose to be based in Hong Kong (at least for now)?
I grew up in the US with time on both West and East coast and after graduating university, moved to Beijing to continue my Mandarin language studies. As my dad is from Hong Kong, I had an interest in eventually moving here and last year had the opportunity to join Redress, a local NGO which focuses on sustainable fashion. After many years working in supply chain management and product compliance, I wanted to learn more about what companies can do to create products without negatively impacting our environment.
2. What's important to you, and how do these values affect your professional choices?
I highly value honesty and openness. Many opportunities and problem solving can happen once people are honest with each other. I am very goal oriented- I love planning and problem solving along the way. For me, the most efficient way to deal with issues is to dig around and find the source of the issue and work out a few solutions amongst everyone involved. Joining an environmental NGO has allowed me to take many of the issues I am passionate about, research and ask deeper questions.
3. What are your thoughts on waste and pollution in Hong Kong?
I see great potential in Hong Kong. In my work I have been able to help with clothing sorting from donated garments and see the amount of textiles people throw away. Much of which can still be used- and much of which can be recycled. I look forward to seeing the growth of textile recycling in Hong Kong and how this can be upscaled and used commercially.
On a personal & daily view of waste in Hong Kong, I can see how much people depend on convenience in the city. I wish more people thought twice before using so many disposable bags & containers for take-away. It is cliche- but if everyone made some basic changes to their routine, they could make a huge difference.
4. What's your personal battle? How do you make your everyday life greener?
My personal battle would be that I do not talk about my greener lifestyle changes with others enough. I try not to preach or push friends about moving toward what I believe to be a more environmentally conscious consumption or disposal patterns for fear that they might take offense. I am trying more and more to have these conversations and see how it leads to engaged dialog about the environment and new changes to their lifestyle.
5. What’s next for you? What interesting projects are you working on?
I have really learned a lot from working at Redress, but found that my true interest lies within the production process. I have decided to leave the organization and now seeking opportunities in sourcing sustainable textiles and ethical manufacturing. It is a growing interest with many brands and I believe more consumers are interested in transparency and knowing where their products came from. To create a clean supply chain for me is the only way to move forward.
I am currently working on interviewing many people involved in the textile and fashion industry to learn about the growing interest in sustainability and where the focus lies. For some it is with material innovation, for others it is garment take-back programs, for others it is digging into the supplier list and slimming it down to those who are truely trustworthy and willing to increase transparency.
These informational interviews will give me insight to the best way I can put my efforts and make real change. I am very much looking forward to meeting some amazing people doing great work- if you would like to chat with me- I am so open! firstname.lastname@example.org