Explaining the Fashion Pact
The Fashion Pact is a commitment signed by major global fashion companies, aiming to reduce pollution and create a sustainable fashion industry.
What does this mean exactly?
The focus of the Fashion Pact are three main pillars:
For each pillar, best efforts are set for each company to choose from, to achieve the objectives defined in the Pact.
Companies committed to the Fashion Pact are aware that they will not reinvent the wheel, but rather work within the initiatives that already exist, such as the Apparel Impact Institute, Ellen MacArthur Foundation or The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
What does the Fashion Pact comprise of?
On top of the three main pillars, there are three levels of actions and commitments:
The first level being the ‘Global Commitment’, which regards all three pillars (climate, biodiversity and ocean) and implements the science-based targets on climate, consistent with a 1.5-degree pathway, to achieve a net-zero by 2050.
There are around four targets in order to reach this commitment, from supporting climate adaptation and resilience through sustainable sourcing of key raw materials to using 100% renewable energy across own operations and manufacturing processes by 2030.
Biodiversity, being one of the commitments, is realised by each company individually or collaboratively by creating a biodiversity strategy. This strategy can include specific targets such as regenerative approaches to agriculture and to production systems that optimize the animals’ time on natural pasture aligned with the adoption of animal welfare standards across the industry.
The final ocean commitment aims to reduce the negative impacts on the ocean by collaborating with existing initiatives such as Operation Clean Sweep. Other targets include the elimination of single-use plastics in both B2B and B2C packaging by 2030.
The second level comprises ‘Joint Initiatives’ and is designed to build collaboratives across the fashion industry and other industrial sectors.
It is about creating a more sustainable fashion industry and supply chain in general, focusing on transparency and accountability, especially regarding the sourcing of materials, as well as implementing the Science-based targets and supporting initiatives that advocate new sustainable approaches in farming.
Moreover, ensuring social inclusion and respectful and fair working conditions along the supply chains.
Last but not least, the third level ‘Accelerators’ comprises enablers that cut across the commitments to create an environment to achieve the targets.
One focus here is on Circular Economy, regarding designing for circularity, sourcing and addressing the end life of a material or product.
Another focus is on educational work and building awareness for the next generation of designers to engage with the commitments of the Fashion Pact.
Looking into the finance side of things, the focus is to support platforms through cross-sector collaborations for the key areas of the three pillars of biodiversity, climate change and the ocean.
Finally, the fashion pact aims to support technologies that can strengthen commitments, such as innovations for low-impact materials and for monitoring impact and outcomes, as well as scaling financing of investments in those areas.
And if you are wondering who signed the Fashion Pact, here are some of the companies.
The aim of the Fashion pact is to represent at least 20% (measured by the volume of products) of the global fashion industry and textile industry, including brands, suppliers and distributors. Brands are encouraged to join from all different sectors of the fashion industry, from high-end brands to more affordable ones.
Currently, 66 companies have signed the Fashion Pact, such as large fast fashion companies like H&M Group and Inditex as well as Adidas, Hermes and Burberry. The latest addition to the pact is the brand Bonaveri, who joined this June 2020.
What does the Fashion Pact mean for the future of the fashion industry and the environmental situation of our world?
While the commitments of the Fashion Pact is a good step into the right direction, it is also important to look at whether this is going to be realised by the companies involved or not. Some remain more critical about the Fashion Pact, questioning whether it is “yet another instance of window dressing,” (Greenpeace) without brands being proved by independent parties about their developments they promise to make. Additionally, it seems that the Fashion Pact mostly focuses on tomorrow, for examples with targets like reducing single-plastic use by 2030. Shouldn’t this be a step of action to take now and not until 2030? Some may ask.