Together with Hong Kong’s Crystal International and China’s Erdos Group, the three companies will comprise a new partnership circle known as the Associate Partners.
The group will serve as a “secondary sounding board” and complement to the change-driving nonprofit’s steering committee, which includes representatives from so-dubbed Strategic Partners such as Asos, Bestseller, H&M, Nike, Kering, PVH Corp, Li & Fung, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Target.
Handpicked for their dedication to improving their environmental performance, the Associate Partners will add “another perspective to sustainability” by providing feedback and input from the vantage point of different-sized businesses with divergent market segments, target demographics and business demands, according to Eva Kruse, CEO and president of GFA, which organizes the Copenhagen Fashion Summit every June.
Certainly, the group’s members have made recent waves in the space: Everlane has promised to use only recycled alternatives to plastic by 2021, G-Star Raw debuted its “most sustainable jean ever” and Selfridges has pledged to outlaw the sale of exotic animal skins such as alligator, crocodile and python by 2020, the first major department store to do so.
This week, Selfridges is promoting five emerging sustainable apparel labels—Elliss, E.L.V. Denim, Good News, Permanent Clothing and Stay Wild—through its Bright New Things initiative, which began in 2011 and has previously raised the profiles of brands like Ecoalf and Naadam.
“The fashion industry must collaborate to achieve urgent and significant change, so I am thrilled to expand our network further by introducing our Associate Partner group and bringing such esteemed businesses on board,” Kruse said. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why our objectives and content must reflect the diverse nature of the industry. The insights we can draw from this new group will be extremely valuable.”
As Associate Partners, the five firms will contribute their expertise in the development of the annual “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” report and the CEO Agenda, the most recent iteration of which was unveiled at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
The series of guidelines nailed down eight sustainability priorities every fashion CEO needs to address for the betterment of the planet, including the “core priority” that is climate change.
Associate Partners will also play a pivotal role in policy engagement by “convening with decision makers to influence wider regulatory frameworks,” Kruse added.