Dr Zoe Mellick

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Areas of interest: Understanding opportunities to create sustainable value along the apparel and textile supply chain.

Bachelor of Creative Industries with First Class Honours (Majoring in Journalism, Media and Communication, Fashion)

Zoe Mellick is a PhD candidate and teacher in Fashion at QUT in Brisbane.  Zoe has been involved as a research assistant in two research projects examining the Australian cotton value chain (2016-18). She also has over a decade of experience working in retail with Australian fashion brands.

Zoe’s educational and professional experience allows her to work at the interface of fashion, sustainability, retail and value chain research. Zoe’s PhD research, co-funded by Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) and an Australian Government Research Training Stipend, focuses on understanding opportunities to create sustainable value along the apparel and textile supply chain. This research is exciting because it is motivated by real-world challenges faced by the global fashion industry. Zoe is also passionate about working in the space of learning and teaching at QUT and has collaborated with academics and learning designers to develop units and teaching materials. She recently worked on a review of assessment submission and concession policies at QUT with academics, professional staff, students and the student guild.

Thesis Title: A sustainable value chain analysis for the Australian cotton industry

There is increasing pressure on industries to demonstrate social and environmental sustainability in their supply chains. The Australian cotton industry is committed to improving on-farm sustainability. However, as its raw material travels through the ‘value adding’ stages in the globalised textile and apparel industries, it is uncertain how ‘sustainable value’ is transferred into the final product. Here I define sustainable value as the need for businesses and industries to create social and environmental value as well as economic value for their stakeholders, shareholders and the wider community. The aim of this research is to identify how the Australian cotton industry can understand where value is created, as well as opportunities to create sustainable value along its supply chain. Through this research, I will develop a tailored tool for the Australian cotton industry that combines sustainable value chain analysis methods with value mapping interview techniques. Specifically, I ‘walk’ the Australian cotton supply chain with a product from start to finish, conducting interviews with value chain stakeholders in order to identity what sustainable value is, how it is created, who it benefits both in and beyond the chain (such as wider society, the environment, consumers, local communities) and where future opportunities to create further value may lie. The outcome of this project will be a framework that outlines how the Australian cotton industry can create sustainable value to ensure both future competitiveness in the global marketplace and a positive contribution to societal and natural capital. Another key contribution of this study is in the development of a method and approach which proposes another way of understanding sustainable value which could be used for other industries where growers / farmers are expected to demonstrate sustainability and traceability.

Principal Supervisor: Professor Alice Payne
Estimated completion date: July, 2021