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Copenhagen Fashion Summit focuses on sustainability

May '19
Copenhagen Fashion Summit focuses on sustainability
Sustainability was the focus during Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2019, held during May 15-16. Marking the tenth anniversary of the event, the discussions and debates emphasised that companies must collaborate now, more than ever, to rectify the harmful consequences of the fashion industry and combat the climate crisis, resource scarcity and social implications.

The event was organised by Global Fashion Agenda – the world's foremost leadership forum for sustainability in fashion, under the patronage of HRH the Crown Princess of Denmark.

According to new findings in the Pulse of the Fashion industry 2019 update, if the current pace of change does not improve, fashion will continue to be a net contributor to climate change, and the Paris Agreement's objective of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius during the remainder of this century will not be achieved. The summit provided a forum for stakeholders to come together and rewrite fashion to safeguard the planet.

Eva Kruse, CEO and president of Global Fashion Agenda, said: "We can solve the planet's and the industry's biggest issues – if we work together and take action now. We need bold leadership to accelerate the change and push policymakers to support this journey."

Leading brands and organisations unveiled new initiatives on sustainability. Nike announced its Circular Design Workbook to provide designers and product creators across the industry with a common language for circularity. Nike is a signatory of the Global Fashion Agenda 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, which calls on fashion brands and retailers to accelerate the transition to a circular fashion system.

In a unique collaboration between EURATEX (European Apparel and Textile Confederation), Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), International Apparel Federation (IAF) and Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), a new manifesto to deliver a circular economy in textiles was unveiled. The manifesto calls on existing and forthcoming EU policymakers to rethink tools to establish a circular fashion system.

Kering announced a commitment that the group's Houses will only hire models aged over 18 to represent adults at their fashion shows and photo sessions as of 2020. In his speech, François-Henri Pinault also revealed that he has been tasked by French president Emmanuel Macron to create a "coalition" of CEOs and top companies in the fashion industry to join forces and set ambitious sustainability targets together.

PVH Corp released the evolution of its corporate responsibility strategy, Forward Fashion, a vision for the future that sets a new level of ambition and transparency, and reinforces its long-standing commitment to sustainable business.

Google revealed a partnership with Stella McCartney to measure the environmental impact of the fashion industry. Google is building a tool that uses data analytics and machine learning on Google Cloud to give brands a more comprehensive view into their supply chain, particularly at the level of raw material production.

There were several agenda-setting discussions. The event attracted 1300 guests, and 78 high-level speakers gave talks spanning executive leadership, design, manufacturing, policy and investment. Topics ranged from climate change and circular economy to the power of creatives and how fashion can address overconsumption.

Anna Gedda, head of Sustainability, H&M Group, said: "Sustainability needs to be a non-competitive area. Working with open source, using our experience and making sure we don't compete."

Emanuel Chirico, chairman and CEO, PVH Corp, said: "Our industry is highly competitive. But there is a huge benefit to competing on the same playing field. We need to increase transparency as we move forward."

Alongside the summit, GFA also hosted seven leadership roundtables, where select fashion leaders, NGO representatives and government officials discussed the fashion industry's most pressing sustainability issues. At this year's roundtables senior participants from fashion companies of diverse sizes, segments and geographies discussed climate change, circular economy and the upcoming G7 Summit in France.

The summit also presented an even larger Innovation Forum, enabling small and large companies to meet with 50 sustainable solution providers – equipping them with the tools to turn words into meaningful actions. More than 600 facilitated business meetings between fashion companies and sustainable solution providers took place during the two days of the summit. The Innovation Forum exhibition area was expanded this year to incorporate the Design Studio, presented by Avery Dennison. Recognising the influence of the decisions creative directors make on design, materials and the environmental impact of products, the Design Studio exhibited a curation of solutions specifically tailored to the needs of creative directors and designers. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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