The complexity of sustainability has had fashion executives around the world call for guidance. The CEO Agenda 2018 is a response to this request. It is a guide to what every CEO in fashion needs to prioritise to future-proof their company – because sustainability is no longer just a trend, it is a business imperative.
On 27 March 2018 Global Fashion Agenda proudly released the first-ever CEO Agenda for the fashion industry, which spells out the seven most crucial sustainability priorities for fashion CEOs in 2018.
Developed in collaboration with leading fashion players such as Kering, H&M, Target, BESTSELLER, Li & Fung and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, and building on our Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report, this historic first edition of the CEO Agenda offers clear guidance for company executives on where to focus their sustainability efforts.
It is the first time in history that such key players from the industry have joined forces to discuss – and agree on – what to prioritise in order to improve the industry’s environmental and social footprint. It takes a coordinated effort to move the needle on sustainability, which is why this agenda for common industry focus holds the potential to be a major breakthrough.
THE CASE FOR CHANGE
The fashion industry employs 60 million people worldwide and generates EUR 1.5 trillion in global revenue (apparel and footwear), but that value is at risk if no action is taken. In fact, projections from the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report show that fashion brands will see a decline in EBIT margins of more than three percentage points if they continue business-as-usual. They will not only curb their prospects for future growth and profitability but also miss out on an opportunity for new customer engagement and business innovation.
WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA?
The CEO Agenda 2018 provides a guideline on what to prioritise to become more sustainable by spelling out seven priorities that should be top of mind for any CEO in fashion right now.
A year ago, Global Fashion Agenda, in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group, published the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report. One of its main findings was that even though most fashion industry executives acknowledged the importance of sustainability, half of the industry had not yet taken any action and was hesitant about doing so. As a result, we started reaching out to the industry in the ensuing months to find out why. What we heard most frequently was some variety of “We acknowledge the need to take action, but we are awed by the magnitude and the complexity of the challenge.” In other words, there was an evident request for guidance due to the magnitude and complexity of the challenge – and a request for a joint industry focus.
We sat down with our Strategic Partners and select experts to define the top priorities for the fashion industry in terms of sustainability. The result of our discussions is the CEO Agenda 2018.
The CEO Agenda 2018, which will be explored further in the upcoming Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report, also serves as a guiding framework for the programme of Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2018, to take place on 15-16 May.
We thank Kering, H&M, Target, BESTSELLER, Li & Fung and Sustainable Apparel Coalition for contributing their time and expertise to the development of the CEO Agenda. In addition, we thank our sounding board, the industry experts and the company executives who have contributed their time and insight.
The CEO Agenda reflects a shared belief by Global Fashion Agenda and its Strategic Partners that the seven priorities are currently the most important challenges for the industry to tackle together. It does not represent a commitment by the Strategic Partners to solve the issues within a given time frame, but to support the dialogue in the industry to move in this direction.