Following the launch of the Fashion CEO Agenda 2021 on 12 May, Global Fashion Agenda took a closer look at each of the five priorities set forth to discuss how policy potentially can support the further activation of each priority.
The fashion value chain activities with the largest impact on climate, water and chemical pollution can be found in the processing stage, including activities such as spinning, weaving or dying. Optimising resource efficiency and minimising the use of natural resources are crucial for the fashion industry to operate within
planetary boundaries. Furthermore, brands are urged to utilise traceability tools to enhance their understanding of potential ramifications for climate and biodiversity, illuminating consequences such as deforestation and pollution.
Policy Gaps & Opportunities
Governments and financial institutions play a critical role in advancing the transition to the efficient use of resources by providing supportive legal frameworks and incentive structures. Policymakers are expected to support brands in this process by providing necessary tools for increased traceability such as product passports, tagging and watermarks, as currently being discussed in the EU.
Traceability is a prerequisite for transparency and puts fashion companies in a position to collaborate more productively on sustainability with their peers and external stakeholders, including governments. Furthermore, traceability can equip fashion brands with the data they need to credibly communicate with customers, investors and manufacturers about sustainability and the impact of their products, empowering customers to make informed consumption choices.
Several policy recommendations are currently being put forward by different actors such as the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe who recommends that governments take action on traceability and transparency, using the UN/CEFACT standards for traceability and transparency of sustainable value chains in garment and footwear or equivalent.
Focus of the discussion
Policy action is most needed in the development of harmonised traceability tools that can assist companies identify sustainability hotspots and accelerate their efficient use of resources.
– Lewis Perkins, President, Apparel Impact Institute
– Maria Teresa Pisani, Acting Head, Sustainable Trade and Outreach Unit, UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe)
– Abhishek Bansal, Head of Sustainability, Arvind Limited
– Delara Burkhardt, MEP, Member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety.
– Jeannie Renne Malone, VP of Sustainability, VF Corporation
– Moderator: Linda Greer, Global Fellow at Institute for Public and Environmental Affairs Beijing China