2019 is widely seen as the year the fashion industry ‘woke up’. Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Zs, are increasingly concerned about environmental and social issues and have started to consider how their clothes are made, what they’re made of and what happens to them after they’re worn. The answer to these questions increasingly guides purchasing decisions, so there is a moral and economic imperative for the apparel industry to claim more responsibility across the supply chain, from manufacturing to disposal. Respect for a ‘triple bottom line’ is gaining traction, as people, planet and profit are factored into the success equation. And so a new era of commitment and collaboration dawns between business, investors, governments, and consumers. Pulling from the idea of ‘conscious capitalism’, 200 corporate leaders in the Business Roundtable recently changed their statement of purpose to acknowledge that corporations have a broader responsibility to society and must consider all their stakeholders, not just the shareholders.
Another example of collaborating for the common good comes from ‘The Fashion Pact’ a powerful initiative that unites some of the biggest names in fashion in a shared set of objectives. These industry leaders pledge to work together to reduce the industry’s impact on the environment along three pillars: climate, biodiversity, and oceans. The coalition was spearheaded by Kering chair and CEO François-Henri Pinault who managed to corral 32 companies encompassing 150 brands including Gucci, Chanel, Coach, Kate Spade, Nike, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Hermès, Zegna, Burberry, Gap, Zara, Nordstrom, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, and Versace. The pact was presented at the recent G7 meeting to demonstrate the shared objectives of global leaders to tackle the climate crisis. Mr. Pinault stressed the need for collaboration over competition and sharing resources rather than focusing on exclusives and secrecy. As Donatella Versace put it, ‘there is no greater luxury than our future’.
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