The Urgent Need for Action
When it comes to targeting climate change, the fashion industry has set some ambitious targets and many actors are making impressive improvements. But the industry as a whole is currently on the wrong trajectory and if it doesn’t accelerate its response to climate change, by 2030 it will produce around twice the volume of emissions required to align with the Paris Agreement global warming pathways towards net zero emissions by 2050.
Meanwhile, social injustices are still prominent throughout the value chain and many of the estimated 70 million workers don’t earn enough for a decent livelihood.
With less than eight years to go to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Drastic change is needed now.
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Take time to appreciate the clothes you already have and avoid impulse purchases based on the latest micro-trends.
Clothing consumption is set to rise 63% by 2030, (Greenpeace) but today we wear our items 40% less than 10 years ago. (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)
When you do need to buy something new, look holistically at brands efforts towards both social and environmental sustainability. Every time you opt for one garment over another, you incentivise brands to continue with the practices behind the item.
Supporting a circular fashion system is a great way to be more responsible. You can find unique pieces on a budget in charity shops, vintage stores and on resale sites.
Take Care and Repair
Repairing clothing is crucial to extending the lifetime of the garments already in your wardrobe. If clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer (extending their average life to around three years), this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% (WRAP, Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion (July 2017))
Rent Your Clothes
Have an occasion coming up that you want to dress up for? Renting not only saves money but allows people to indulge in trend-forward pieces without having to toss them aside after an event.
Use a washing machine filter
Scientists estimate that textiles produce 35% of the microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Use a filter when washing clothes to capture microfibres and prevent them.
Wash Clothes on a Lower Temperature
As well as keeping your clothes in better condition, by turning down your washing temperature to 30° you could use 60% less energy than if you wash it at 60°.
According to the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report, the industry’s performance remains weak. The Pulse Score is 38 out of 100. In the past year, it improved by six points. The Pulse Survey, which covers the perspectives of decision-makers from all industry segments, confirms that the sustainability agenda became increasingly prominent in shaping the corporate agenda. Of the executives polled, 52% reported that sustainability targets provided guidance for almost every strategic decision they made—an increase of 18 percentage points from last year. While encouraging, these results also indicate the need for still more movement toward increasingly responsible practices.
The Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 Report explores alternative business models for how clothes could be made, distributed and consumed based on a proposed ‘landscape for change’ including 40 possible ways to increase industry sustainability performance. We looked at materials including cotton and polyester and chose to highlight the intrinsic dilemmas that need to be considered for every material choice. The report aims to inform its readers about both the opportunities and the ramifications of substituting conventional cotton. As stated in the report “the proposed landscape is a first attempt to sketch out the spectrum of options available. It is meant to invite further input and rich discussions during the coming year.” Similar to this, the Pulse report also quantified a number of initiatives to help demonstrate the possible value to be captured if the industry would start to act immediately on selected topics. The examples used under each change lever served an illustrative purpose and were not straightforward recommendations as such.
The Pulse Report was co-developed with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a global management consulting firm and one of the world’s leading advisor on business strategy, and Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the coalition that has developed the Higg Index, a suite of tools that standardises value chain sustainability measurement for all industry participants.
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By collaborating with Global Fashion Agenda, partners and sponsors can help to drive meaningful change, exchange knowledge, elevate awareness about key sustainable practices, and build fruitful connections with other key stakeholders.