Published annually since 2018, the Fashion CEO Agenda is a guide aimed at executives operating within the fashion industry that’s meant to suggest how to pursue holistic sustainability strategies.
The publication is co-authored by Global Fashion Agenda’s partners–Asos, Bestseller Group, Fung Group, H&M Group, Kering, Nike, PVH, Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Target–and is designed to encourage and guide the fashion industry to take action. It aims to inform about global developments and suggest how leaders can play an active role in accelerating more sustainable practices, follow specific business models and improve industry performance.
Global Fashion Agenda is a forum for industry collaboration and public-private cooperation on fashion sustainability.
This year’s publication was launched on May 12 and presents the priorities that leaders should focus on for achieving a more sustainable and prosperous industry and how to operate through internal and external enablers for enhancing their sustainability strategies.
The SPIN OFF selected some statements collected within a press preview that disclosed the main themes of this year’s edition. The event hosted Morten Lehmann, chief sustainability officer, Jonas Eder Hansen, public affairs director, and Sandra Gonza, project manager, Global Fashion Agenda; Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, sustainability materials and innovation manager, Bestseller; Hana Kajimura, sustainability manager, Allbirds; and Nin Castle, head of recycling and chief project officer, Reverse Resources, a trading and tracking platform for textile waste.
Morten Lehmann, chief sustainability officer, Global Fashion Agenda:
“We have a vision. Sustainability must be fashion’s first priority as without this focus a company cannot be successful in the future.”
“Fashion is primarily produced in a linear system of ‘take, make, dispose,’ with 73% of the world’s clothing eventually ending up in landfills. If textile collection rates were tripled by 2030, it could be worth more than €4 billion for the world economy. This figure merely represents the value of those products that would not end up in landfills. If the industry were to find a way to collect and recycle all fibers, the value could be up to €80 billion.”
Jonas Eder Hansen, public affairs director, Global Fashion Agenda:
“Two months ago the European Parliament voted for new EU laws. Despite they are not entirely defined yet, they oblige companies to follow an environmentally friendly conduct within the value chain. Policymakers can help improve our industry especially in the EU through a broad series of initiatives, like, for instance in material choices, or measuring the environmental footprint of products. Though, as there are too many methodologies and labels, it’s their task to make sure that everybody follows the same method in measuring products’ and raw materials’ environmental footprint.”
Camilla Skjønning Jørgensen, sustainable materials & innovation manager, Bestseller:
“What we are aiming for here is to change the fashion industry into a better one. In the end, hopefully, we need to change the fundamental structure, and we need to do it from the bottom. We need to start from raw materials, from the supply chain and the circular infrastructure. It’s a very complex journey, and we can only achieve it when we are together. We shall also remember this is not a race and there is not a winner. The only winner is the finish line. That’s why we need collaborative initiatives. And it’s by operating not just from a brand’s perspective but from a supply chain’s one. What we are trying to achieve is to walk and work together involving the different stakeholders.”
“Bestseller has a vast brand portfolio and product offer. For this we have set up what we have called the Fashion Forward Lab, a playground where we experiment what we do in the fashion industry and where we allow ourselves to be beginners and not be perfect. It’s where we interact with innovators, look for new solutions, try to achieve new positive choices with our designers and try to educate people in making better decisions in terms of materials and design. It’s also the place where we speak about the future and make sure we create an infrastructure for the waste we generate. Furthermore, it’s about connecting with different people to create a synergy for reaching the solutions we are striving for.”
Hana Kajimura, sustainability manager, Allbirds:
“Natural materials are our mission and at the heart of what we want to do from day one. Petroleum and fossil fuels are really out of our industry as we are looking mostly for renewable materials. It’s progress over production. Our strategy is on a portfolio of low-carbon emission products and increasing our natural content. It’s in the journey of learning all this that everyone gets smarter.”
Nin Castle, co-founder, lead of recycling and chief project officer, Reverse Resources:
“A prosperous industry would be one that allows every single actor all around the value chain to benefit rather than a few. I believe there is a wish and a lot of progress in this area.”
“It’s important to focus on traceability and visibility. We care for waste flows, which is a bit against what the public angle is, because consumers are much more aware of their waste, but have no clear idea of what industrial waste is. It’s much easier communicating about a big circular and recycling story that also the consumer can understand and appreciate. Industrial waste doesn’t always sound that sexy, but it’s clearly the first place to start in terms of the supply chain.”