Ahead of this year’s Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the world’s most important event dedicated to sustainability in fashion, the Global Fashion Agenda and The Boston Consulting Group have published an in-depth report assessing the industry’s performance in all sustainability-related issues.
Sustainability has become a hot topic among the industry’s leading voices, and it’s about time. As the industry begins to confront the fact that fast fashion is the second dirtiest industry in the world, brands are reworking methods of production in order to protect the world and its resources, as well as the people who manufacture our clothes.
So, What Does the Report Actually Say?
As of today, the sustainability “Pulse” of the industry is weak – scoring only 32 out of 100. Even though fast fashion brands are the worst polluters, they are also showing most progress. In contrast, small to midsize brands, which represent around half of the market, are doing very little to improve their global impact.
There’s no doubt that the streetwear industry could do a lot more to address its environmental and social footprint. Thankfully, there are brands like NOAH leading the charge to oppose the industry’s most problematic practices when it comes to sustainable production.
Ex-Supreme creative director Brendon Babezien prides tradition, expertise and human dignity over his label's bottom line, and the brand donates portions of its profits to causes they believe in.
Most notably, the reverse of every care label on NOAH's garments features a fact about the damage humans are doing to the ocean – most recently, that there are over 500 “dead zones” in the world’s oceans; areas where pollution has made life completely unsustainable.
Make sure you clue up on some of the world's best sustainable fashion brands while you're at it.
What Are the Main Takeaways From the Report?
The future is bleak unless the industry takes collective action. Apparel consumption is projected to rise by 63%, to 102 million tons in 2030, so there's a desperate need for the fashion industry to address its environmental and social footprint today.
With population growth and planetary boundaries reaching their limits, the industry is only going to face strained resources, putting profitability at risk.
How Does the Report Encourage Action?
Well, the report uses $$$ to put sustainability and disruptive innovation into perspective for the industry. Improving its environmental and social performance would not just advance the industry’s commercial prospects, it would also add as much as €160 billion by 2030 in annual value to the world economy.
Needless to say, the fashion industry has a clear opportunity to act differently, pursuing profit and growth while also creating new value for society and therefore for the world economy. It comes with an urgent need to place environmental, social and ethical improvements on management’s agenda.
Want to know about more sustainable fashion? Here's four foolproof fashion tips to help you build a more ethical wardrobe.