In recent years, many fashion companies have made sustainability pledges that we need to determine whether they have been followed through on and implemented effectively, as there is often limited transparency and accountability in the industry.
That being said, I recently had a hallelujah moment! I came across examples of sustainability pledges that have shown progress. Before I mention which ones, it is good to note that while progress has been made in these areas, there is still a long way to go, especially when you consider that the fashion industry still relies heavily on conventional materials labour practices.
That being said, here are some examples of sustainability pledges that have shown progress:
- The Fashion Pact: In 2019, the Fashion Pact was launched, with 60 signatories representing approximately 250 brands. The pact aims to reduce the fashion industry’s environmental impact includes commitments to climate change mitigation, biodiversity protection, and ocean conservation. Signatories have made progress in areas such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions and eliminating single-use plastic.
- The Circular Fashion System Commitment: In 2020, 60 brands, retailers, and manufacturers signed the Circular Fashion System Commitment, which aims to accelerate the transition to a circular fashion system. Signatories have made progress in reducing textile waste and increasing the use of recycled materials.
- Science-Based Targets: Many fashion companies have committed to setting science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement. Companies such as H&M, Inditex, and Kering have set science-based targets and are progressing towards achieving them.
- Sustainable Materials: Many fashion companies have committed to using sustainable materials, such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and Tencel. Brands such as Levi’s, Patagonia, and Outerknown have made progress in increasing their use of sustainable materials and reducing their reliance on conventional materials.
- Transparency: Many fashion companies have committed to increasing transparency in their supply chains, including disclosing their suppliers and labour practices. Brands such as Nike, Adidas, and H&M have made progress in this area, with some companies disclosing the names and locations of all their suppliers.
In conclusion, while progress has been made on sustainability pledges in the fashion industry, it is essential to note that progress on sustainability pledges is sometimes linear and that setbacks and challenges are to be expected.
There is still much work to be done to make the industry more sustainable and transparent, starting with helping fashion companies understand that their sustainability efforts should be focused on more than just marketing or public relations. Otherwise, the pledges will come across as something other than genuine. It will be necessary for companies to continue to set ambitious targets, increase transparency, and take concrete actions to reduce their environmental impact and improve their labour practices. By doing so, the fashion industry can work towards a more sustainable and responsible future.