Introducing The GFA Monitor 2023

Find out more about The GFA Monitor 2023.

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Taking Stock of Fashion’s Progress towards Net Positive: Industry organisations consolidate sustainability guidance and present new data

30 November 2023: Today, during COP28, Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) released the 2023 edition of The GFA Monitor — a report to guide fashion leaders towards a net-positive fashion industry. The second GFA Monitor has been updated to include the latest guidance and insights from over 25 industry organisations in one cohesive publication. For the first time, the report includes new data insights from the Fashion Industry Target Consultation – drawn from over 900 industry participants in 90 countries. 

 The GFA Monitor is an extensive resource that presents expert insights on the status of the industry, clear actions to take, and proven best practices. In a time of poly crisis when the implementation of sustainable practices is challenged, GFA is supporting the industry by consolidating an abundance of available solutions that can be applied today.  

 The tool is grounded by the sustainability framework laid out in the Fashion CEO Agenda, featuring in-depth guidance according to the five sustainability priorities: Respectful and Secure Work Environments, Better Wage Systems, Circular Systems, Resource Stewardship, and Smart Materials Choices. Embracing additional expert knowledge from other industry organisations, each priority includes insights from GFA’s Impact Partners: Fair Labor Association, Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Apparel Impact Institute, and Textile Exchange, respectively. 

 The 2023 publication presents new findings from the Fashion Industry Target Consultation (FITC), launched by GFA and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in November 2022, which invited stakeholders from across the global value chain to share their thoughts on the performance indicators and milestones that the industry must strive to meet. The FITC indicates a very positive sentiment from participants, but action and positive impact from that action is yet to be measured. Overall, the data reveals that the majority of the 900 participants supported industry alignment on the 27 action areas proposed in the consultation and remarked that they are actively engaging with the industry to drive progress in the respective areas. The report further illuminates the level of industry ambitions per priority and the areas where more aligned action areas are needed (see a summary of key data per priority below).   

 The 2030 deadline to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals is fast approaching. Moreover, to deliver the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5°C, greenhouse gas emissions must peak before 2025 and decline by almost 50% by 2030 at the latest. Nevertheless, the rise in temperature predicted for this century is still well above what was promised in Paris eight years ago. With COP28 providing a critical moment to take stock globally, GFA and its partners are presenting the fashion sector’s progress towards net positive and providing guidance on how to accelerate actions on its pathway. 

 Building on its alliance with the UN Climate Change, GFA will host a session dedicated to the fashion sector at COP28 to ensure fashion is included in the crucial conversations and decisions intended to accelerate climate action. The Global Fashion Agenda Assembly on 5 December at 16.30-17.45 GTS will reflect on the fashion industry’s progress towards a net zero and net positive future, present collective financing best practices, and guide policymakers.

Federica Marchionni Chief Executive Officer
"The second iteration of The GFA Monitor reaffirms the power of alliances to accelerate action. In a time of socioeconomic and geopolitical turmoil, executives need clear guidance more than ever to ensure sustainability measures can continue to move forward. By working collectively with multiple industry organisations, we were able to highlight the steps that are needed, collate a wealth of promising solutions and steer fashion stakeholders on their journey."

Building on the 2022 and 2023 editions, GFA intends for The GFA Monitor to become an annual gauge of the fashion industry; to monitor industry progress to increase accountability, present the latest insights and impact data, and identify critical actions required to meet its objectives. GFA welcomes further cooperation with other industry organisations as the annual report evolves and responds to industry and scientific developments.

Scott Raskin, CEO, Worldly, Data Partner for The GFA Monitor, says: “To address climate change, the apparel industry needs primary supply chain data at scale. As GFA’s data partner, Worldly is proud to continue contributing to the GFA Monitor. As the exclusive provider of the Higg Index and other ESG solutions, we’re also proud to enable impact improvements, delivering the data-driven intelligence leaders need to track their sustainability progress and prepare for regulatory compliance.”

Words from The GFA Monitor’s Impact Partners:

Lewis Perkins, President, Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), says: “Tackling the fashion industry’s challenges requires a collective effort – no single brand or organization can do it alone. We’re pleased to work alongside GFA and other industry partners to ensure that all apparel and footwear is produced with a positive impact on people and the planet.”

Jules Lennon, Fashion Lead, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, says: “We envision a future where products are used more, are made to be made again, and are made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs. Global Fashion Agenda’s GFA Monitor supports the direction of travel to help organisations navigate the multifaceted transition to a circular economy for fashion, while emphasising the transparency that’s vital to turning this vision into reality.”

Sharon Waxman, President and CEO, Fair Labor Association (FLA), says: “People who work in the global fashion industry deserve to have a safe workplace and to be treated with dignity and respect. FLA is proud to work with the Global Fashion Agenda and its partners on the GFA Monitor, which demonstrates that concrete opportunities exist for CEOs and corporations to improve the future for both people and planet.”

Janet Mensink, Executive Director, Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), says: “SLCP welcomes the urgent call for respectful and secure working environments in the 2023 GFA Monitor. By promoting greater transparency, use of converged tools, and responsible purchasing practices in the fashion industry, we can not only elevate the lives of millions but normalise an industry that thrives on respect, equity, and sustainable practices.”

Ashley Gill, Chief Strategy Officer, Textile Exchange, says: “Textile Exchange is pleased to contribute to the GFA Monitor for its second edition, as it continues to provide essential guidance to the fashion industry. Most of the materials used by the industry today come from farming, forestry, or fossil fuels, all of which are critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as driving beneficial impacts on biodiversity, soil health, and water. Strategic material choices, alongside a rethinking of business as usual, will be fundamental to help us leverage this opportunity.”

Find out more and download The GFA Monitor 2023 here.

Highlight findings from the Fashion Industry Target Consultation

Respectful and Secure Work Environments 

Of those that responded to questions related to this priority: 

  • The highest percentage (88%) of brand respondents claimed to have set targets to adopt responsible purchasing practices – yet only 63% of brands claimed to be measuring progress against these set targets. 100% of brands and producers unanimously expressed support for reaching alignment on this action area and engaging with the industry to collectively drive progress. 
  • Fewest brands (58%) claimed to have set targets on worker access to effective grievance mechanisms whilst producers reported their lowest score on value chain transparency (75%) 

 

Better Wage Systems 

Of those that responded to questions related to this priority: 

  • The highest percentage of brands and producers (86%) claim to have set targets to implement fair compensation and living wage across the textile value chain  
  • Yet the lowest percentage of brands and producers are setting targets on freedom of association or collective bargaining (33% brands/ 67% producers/ manufacturers) and closing the gender pay gap (33% brands/ 86% producers/ manufacturers) – both key enablers towards reaching fair compensation and living wage 

 

Resource Stewardship 

Of those that responded to questions related to this priority: 

  • Highest claims of target setting were related to decarbonisation/ GHG emission reduction (88% brands/ 89% producers/ manufacturers) and elimination of hazardous chemicals (86% brands/ 100% producers/ manufacturers) 
  • Lowest number of targets reported to be set towards eliminating microfibre pollution (36% brands/ 63% producers/ manufacturers) also reflected in the percentage of those measuring and reporting progress (33% brands/ 63% producers/ manufacturers) 

 

Smart Material Choices 

Of those that responded to questions related to this priority: 

  • A significantly high number of respondents claimed to have set targets to produce and source priority materials from preferred and low climate impact sources (96% brands/ 100% producers/ manufacturers) 
  • Brands are setting most of their preferred material targets on cotton (92%) while producers on polyester (90%) 

 

 Circular Systems 

Of those that responded to questions related to this priority: 

  • Target setting in the Circular Systems field is very fragmented with many targets self-defined, lacking comparability with peers, and inconsistent ambition levels. However, FITC shows a surprisingly high percentage of brands and producers setting targets in this space even on complex topics like absolute virgin resource use reduction (74% of brands and 89% of producers) and overproduction (78% of brands and 77% of producers) 
  • The lowest target-setting results were related to eradicating messages encouraging unnecessary consumption (46% brands/ 53% producers/ manufacturers) and measuring the actual impact on job quality and availability from circular business models to support a just transition to a circular economy (29% brands/ 73% producers/ manufacturers).

Consultation Methodology: 

Insights included in The GFA Monitor have been derived exclusively from the online survey with answers from three respondent groups – all respondents (total aggregate), brands and manufacturers/ producers. The data collection and analysis were conducted in good faith, with no guarantees of absolute accuracy. All survey responses were voluntarily disclosed, without verification or validation by GFA and UNEP. Moreover, response levels varied across target areas due to non-compulsory questions, limiting comparability between areas. Find the full methodology and disclaimer in the publication’s annex. 

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