The clothing industry is often in the firing line when the topic of sustainability is raised, but finding workable solutions and driving real change involves looking way beyond the sector, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
While there is no shortage of sustainability initiatives around the world, or brands and retailers committing to improve water and energy consumption and how they manage waste, their messages overlap and it is equally hard to discern what works.
Hannah Abdulla, Apparel Correspondent at GlobalData, says: “While changes are being made, many times, companies act in isolation. For the fashion industry to truly drive sustainability, initiatives need to move to a much grander scale and require significant investment in the form of new materials, processes, technologies, and business models.”
After a five-year review of its activities, not-for-profit organisation C&A Foundation is transitioning to the Laudes Foundation to put some of its learnings into practice. It found that the root cause of the fashion industry’s sustainability and climate change challenges often lie in deeper systemic issues within the global economic system and that these also need to be resolved.
Abdulla adds: “The fashion industry doesn’t work in isolation. There are lots of other elements that feed into it, so to get even close to solving the problems of climate breakdown and inequality you have to look beyond this industry.
“One case in point is the global financial system, which has the power to redirect the flow of capital so that investment encourages good business practices. This is something the Laudes Foundation is looking at focusing its efforts on. Those investors and companies that can capitalise on sustainability and impact-driven innovation will be key to transforming the industry.”