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CEOs urged to address climate changes as global agenda

By Robyn Turk

25 Jan 2019

Climate change is at the front of everyone’s mind in the fashion industry. Non-profit organization Global Fashion Agenda announced its annual CEO agenda for 2019 this week, in partnership with industry leaders including Kering, the H&M Group, Nike, PVH Corp., Asos, Target, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Li & Fung and Bestseller.

Upon updating the CEO Agenda to reflect global developments, the 2019 agenda highlights climate change as a core priority. The Global Fashion Agenda notes that climate change has been a target of concern in the fashion industry, with key players working on issues such as chemicals, circularity and equality but must also further address its impact on climate change.

In December of 2018, Stella McCartney started a charter within the United Nations addressing climate change, and a number of fashion industry companies signing on, including the H&M Group, Kering, PVH Corp, Target, Gap Inc., Adidas and Burberry.

Addressing climate change is no longer a trend

The Global Fashion Agenda released its 2019 CEO Agenda, presenting eight sustainability priorities that it believes every fashion CEO needs to address, “because sustainability is no longer just a trend, it’s a business imperative.”

In its report, the organization notes statistics of the apparel industry’s effect on the climate. According to UNFCCC, textile production causes to 1.2 billion tons in greenhouse gas emissions annually - more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

The Global Fashion Agenda teamed with the Boston Consulting Group to produce a report that projects the environmental results of sustainable investments taken by fashion brands. Called the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report, the organization estimates that fashion professionals can reduce their environmental footprint while simultaneously improving their bottom line.

8 steps to sustainability

The CEO Agenda 2019 notes that climate change, along with microfiber pollution and a growing population can affect the future business model of the industry.

It compels fashion CEOs to prioritize eight factors to combat climate change. These include supply chain traceability, the efficient use of water, energy and chemicals, sustainable materials, implementing a circular fashion system and promoting better wage systems.

“Climate change is an unprecedented threat to people and the planet,” said CEO and President of Global Fashion Agenda Eva Kruse in a statement. “We know that change is not easy, but overall progress is too slow, and we simply can’t afford to lose another year. The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest and most powerful industries. Therefore, we need to take leadership to secure the future of our industry – and our planet.”

Photo: Pexels