Fashion leaders from Gucci to H&M and Zara owner Inditex will form a pact at this week’s G7 summit to improve sustainability standards in the industry and help fight the world’s climate crisis.
The pact was initiated by French President Emmanuel Macron who called upon luxury conglomerate Kering to lead it. It will be concluded at the Biarritz summit this weekend.
Kering CEO François-Henri Pinault attended the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May to announce that his group, which owns brands from Gucci to Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen, had been entrusted with forming the alliance.
At the summit in the Danish capital, Pinault said. brands must come together to share knowledge and create solutions to the climate crisis.
“We must think about collective intelligence because we are in an urgent situation. The private sector isn’t used to that but we need to change and to work beyond what we are doing in our own companies. That means working together with shared objectives,” he said.
Without action it is said that the fashion industry could contribute up to a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050 and the industry is a bigger polluter that sectors such as the aeronautical and shipping industries combined.
A number of brands have made public commitments to sustainability goals recently such as H&M Group and Inditex, who are aiming to use only sustainably sourced materials by 2030 and 2025 respectively. British luxury house Burberry is making strides to created a more circular industry and recently unveiled a collection made from recycled nylon yarn ECONYL®.
Other brands are also looking at alternative models such as rental and re-use to help solve the issue of waste. A number of start-ups including MyWardrobeHQ, Hirestreet, The Endless Wardrobe and Hurr Collective have launched to tap into the public’s increasing willingness to rent rather than own clothing.
TheIndustry.fashion recently conducted an exclusive study of more than 1,000 British consumers (Reuse, Recycle & Rental: How Sustainability Concerns Are Shaking Up The Way We Shop) which found that 18% of 24-35 year would be happy to rent clothes while 34% of consumers of all age groups said they would be happy to buy second-hand clothing or use fashion resale sites, such as Vestiaire Collective and Depop.
Parliament recently conducted an inquiry into the British fashion industry, led by the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) chaired by MP Mary Creagh, which concluded in its extensive Fixing Fashion report. The report made a number of recommendations to help the industry clean up its act, including a 1p garment tax, but ultimately none were taken up by the Government. The EAC has, however, been asked to revise some of its recommendations.
In addition a new All Party Parliamentary Group for sustainable fashion and textiles has been set up to examine the industry further.
Some believe the the fight to improve the performance of the fashion industry is best carried out at national, rather than global, levels. In the UK signatories to the Government backed SCAP scheme (Sustainable Clothing Action Plan), which include Next, M&S and Primark, have committed to reducing their water use, carbon footprint and waste sent to landfill by 15% by next year.
David Moon of SCAP, told The Guardian today that global initiatives helped raise awareness among big company bosses but “national action like SCAP can really drive change. We can [muster] capital investment and ensure people are measuring and managing change.”