Julia VANLERBERGHE wins the 2024 ICOR Award with her thesis on fast fashion and Generation Z

In 2023, Shein is the second most downloaded app in France and the fourth retail brand where spending has increased the most, just behind Vinted. The fashion industry, the second most polluting sector with over 100 billion garments produced annually, is being disrupted by the rise of ultra-fast fashion and its e-commerce giants, which continue to gain market share despite the ecological crisis.
Generation Z, representing one-third of the global population, feels particularly concerned about climate issues. It is an committed, educated, and aware generation that mobilizes and worries about its future, yet they are the main consumers of fast fashion. In the current inflationary context, it’s often the wallet that wins, especially among young people. But this observation can’t explain everything.
Therefore, I wanted to understand the factors explaining such a paradox and such a gap between our convictions and our actions. The purpose of my thesis was to identify the impact of values, attitudes and four other factors on our behaviors, specifically our sustainable fashion purchasing behaviors.

This is how Julia VANLERBERGHE summarized the theme of her thesis, entitled: “Understanding Gen Z’s slow fashion consumption: A value-attitude-behavior approach”.

Thanks to her research (conducted under the supervision of Maria DE JUAN VIGARAY), Julia VANLERBERGHE won the 2024 ICOR Award for the best student thesis in the fields of organizational ethics, corporate social responsibility and corporate sustainability, awarded by IÉSEG and its Center of Excellence for Organizational Responsibility (ICOR).

Almost one-third of IÉSEG students choose, for their final thesis, a topic related to ethics, CSR, and sustainable development. For this ninth edition of the ICOR Award, an initial jury composed of 3 professors from IÉSEG (Guillaume MERCIER, Caroline RIEU-PLICHON and Yulia TITOVA) selected 3 finalists based on strict academic criteria. The winner of the ICOR Award was then chosen from these three finalists by a jury of professionals, composed of Mathias MESSIAEN, Victor MURZEAU, and Charles THOMASSE.

The two other nominees of the 2024 ICOR Award are:
Eloi DECROOCQ, for its thesis about: « The technological revolution in agriculture: an industry in transformation for a more sustainable agricultural production » (under the supervision of Elena CHATZOPOULOU)
Lina TAKTAK, for her thesis about: « Performance advantage of socially responsible funds with the French SRI label » (under the supervision de Yulia TITOVA).

The amount of the ICOR Award, worth 2,000€, is equally shared between the winner and a non-profit organization or a social company of their choice. This year, Julia VANLERBERGHE decided to support the French association ‘Sea Shepherd’.

“Sea Shepherd aims to protect and conserve all forms of marine life in our oceans, particularly species threatened by plastic pollution or illegal activities at sea. I want to emphasize the protection of our oceans and more broadly the fight against (plastic) pollution because it is directly related to the subject of my thesis, fast fashion being one of the major contributors to overconsumption and water pollution. Animal and environmental causes resonate deeply with me: I have been fortunate to travel extensively, and to realize, especially in Indonesia, the consequences of human activities on wildlife and flora. Our nature needs our mobilization.”

Julia VANLERBERGHE, winner of the 2024 ICOR Award
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