A landmark report from the United Nations’ IPCC (intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) warns the public of the immediate consequences says have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe. This ultimately requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale.
It’s back... Fashion Revolution’s free online course (which launched last year), is running again on Future Learn. With just 4 hours a week for 3 weeks, discover who made your clothes, share their stories and influence global change with this course created in partnership with the University of Exeter.
The course is aimed at anyone with an interest in fashion, trade, ethics and activism, including those involved in the Fashion Revolution movement. It is also suitable for teachers who want to enrich their school, further education and higher education curricula.
Quick – the course started on 25 June, but you are not too late to catch up.
Coinciding with the recent Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the Global Fashion Agenda released their second edition of the 'Pulse of the Fashion Industry' report, which provides an in-depth assessment of the fashion industry’s environmental and social performance. According to the 124-page assessment, 75% of fashion companies have improved their environmental and social performance over the last year with their pulse ‘score’ rising from 32 to 38 (out of 100), confirming that sustainability is rising on the corporate agenda. Instead of measuring financial consequences, this edition of the report places a positive spin on the numbers and focuses on the potential financial gains that result from taking action. With clear benefits to the bottom line, this should be music to shareholders ears and provide additional traction to move the industry forward.
Can rethinking energy, disruptive reduction and design for the future provide the necessary levers for change? Redress believes so, and so do the US NGO ClimateWorks Foundation and environmental sustainability experts Quantis, who have recently released the Measuring Fashion 2018 report, which provides a holistic assessment of the environmental impacts of the global apparel and footwear industries. The report considered the industries’ value chains across seven stages – from fibre production and material extraction to end-of-life – and looked at different environmental indicators including climate change, resources, freshwater withdrawal, ecosystem quality and human health. The research reveals that the apparel industry alone accounts for a shocking 6.7% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Materials, models and mindsets were central themes for Mistra Future Fashion’s Circular Transitions conference which took place in London this time last year, bringing together academia and industry for a deep dive into circular approaches to textile design, and leaving us energised about the future of fashion! The proceedings from this groundbreaking conference have just been published and includes 30+ papers from some of the most outstanding speakers. Redress team favourites include Jade Whitson-Smith's paper on the role of the fashion designer in influencing post-purchase garment behaviour (p122), and Karen Dennis et al on exploring models of pulling post consumer waste back in the circular fashion system (p184).
No one knows the true scale of ‘deadstock’ clothing waste — in other words, clothes that are unable to be sold at full or discounted price and must be gotten rid of somehow.
We know that around 100 billion garments are manufactured annually. Let’s say the sell-through rate (both full and discounted) is a generous 90%, then potentially 10 million items of clothing become ‘deadstock’ every year. That’s a lot of clothes to miraculously make ‘disappear.’ So what do brands and retailers claim to do with the products they can’t get customers to buy?
There is a wall of textile waste forming. It is fed from textile waste that flows from factories and cascades from closets. This wall reflects a contrasting image to the flashy images that ooze from pages of glossy magazines and off the catwalks.
The way UK consumers treat their clothes has changed over the past three years, a new study from not-for-profit organisation, WRAP has found, with positive shifts in behaviour in how clothes are handled helping to lessen the environmental impact of wardrobes. A key change since WRAP’s pioneering 2012 report is that the amount of clothing discarded in landfills has fallen by approximately 50,000 tonnes. And small changes in habits such as turning the heat down from 40 to 30 degrees when washing, or lessening the use of tumble-dryers and ironing, have already helped cut approximately 700,000 tonnes of CO2e from UK emissions each year. One way for designers, brands and retailers to make a difference is to enhance the durability and quality of the clothing they produce. Click here to find out how.
With issues around the environmental and social impacts of our clothes ever more present in the media – just take the bad press that viscose has recently been getting as an example – many of us are seeking to know more about the complex supply chains that mysteriously bring our clothes to life, and what we can do to make better choices. A new online course starting this week aims to lift the lid on the global fashion industry and will share a variety of simple techniques to aid self discovery, and on how individuals can press the fashion industry to value people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. Don’t forget to check out our EcoChic Design Award Learn platform, aimed at designers but also relevant for the generally interested, where there are lots more resources including our updated list of books, films, blogs, organisations and much more to get informed.
The Pulse of the Fashion Industry report projects that apparel consumption will rise by 63%, to 102 million tons by 2030, highlighting the urgent need for the fashion industry to address its environmental and social footprints as it continues to push even further beyond the limits of infinite resources on our planet.
Published by The Global Fashion Agenda in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, and launched this month at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, the report draws on the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index and is based on research from industry experts. The analysis provides measurement of the current health of the industry – its "Pulse Score". The overall pulse of the industry is very weak – scoring a mere 32 out of 100 – but the report has good news through proofs-of-concept that show that sustainability initiatives can present a viable financial model for individual businesses already today. In fact it reports that there is an unrealised potential €160 billion per year opportunity for the global economy.
Read the full report here to find out more.
A graphic from the report shows average Pulse Scores by Impact Area and Performance Quartile
Hot off the press this week, the Fashion Transparency Index 2017, reviews and ranks 100 of the biggest global fashion companies on the information they disclose about their social and environmental policies, practices and impacts.
The research found that even the highest scoring brands on the list, none of which scored more than 50% overall, still have a long way to go towards being transparent. The good news? Increased demand from consumers is working - more brands than ever are sharing policies and commitments - but with an estimated 150 billion items of clothing delivered out of factories annually worldwide, there is a long way to go before we truly know who made our clothes.
The report is a must read with clear action points for citizens, brands and retailers as well as government and policy makers. We are with Fashion Revolution in the belief that the first step towards positive change is greater transparency.
Bring it on!
Image credit: Fashion Revolution
The majority of products made today still follow a linear model, meaning that once a product has been used for the purpose it was designed for, it gets disposed of meaning the embedded resources are lost forever. But here’s a trillion-dollar idea that Redress are 100% behind – a circular model – where products were designed so that the embedded resources are recaptured and reused to create new products, generating a cycle that goes on infinitely. Earlier this year the Ellen Macarthur Foundation and Ideo launched the Circular Design Guide. This practical guide will, without a doubt, inspire designers to ask new questions about value creation and long-term business health, and how the application of circular principles can improve enterprises. And if you are interested in what is happening in circular innovation in your backyard, check out Circul-r, an organisation highlighting amazing projects all across the world - make sure to visit their initiatives tab.