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Conscious Fashion Campaign to Narrow Education, Funding Gap for SDGs

Following a yearlong pilot, the Conscious Fashion Campaign is ready for its closeup.

Already, the United Nations (UN)-backed initiative has drawn support from hundreds of fashion-industry heavyweights, including Gap, Stella McCartney, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger.

Founded by entrepreneur Kerry Bannigan, the Conscious Fashion Campaign seeks to accelerate the achievement of what the UN calls the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a 17-item list of objectives tackling issues such as climate change, pollution, gender discrimination, poverty and hunger by 2030.

As part of its remit, the initiative will teach companies to incorporate the SDGs into their business models, work to narrow the $2.5 trillion funding gap and develop multi-stakeholder partnerships that “secure a future where no one is left behind,” Bannigan said in a statement.

“The potential for change when you engage the fashion industry is enormous,” she said. “If we work together to shape the future of fashion, we will create dynamic impact, lasting change and deliver on our core mission to make the SDGs a reality.”

The past year saw the campaign “immerse” itself in the retail event sector as it sought to discover what the fashion industry knows—and doesn’t know—about the SDGs, Bannigan said.

Teaming up with marquee events such as Coterie, Pure London, Magic and Kingpins in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, the Netherlands and China, the Conscious Fashion Campaign says it has introduced the SDGs to more than 96,000 retailers and buyers representing 87 countries to date.

As the UN gears up for its “decade of action and delivery for sustainable development” using the SDGs as a blueprint, the campaign will mark 2020 not only as the “year of implementation” but one of continued education.

Bringing together fashion leaders to work “hand in hand” will be key to making the SDGs a success, said Lucie Brigham, chief of office, at the UN Office for Partnerships.

“The time is now to be creative and innovative,” Brigham said. “We need to leverage solutions; scale success stories and catalyze commitment to sustainable business models that support the SDGs, and ultimately, secure a future, for people and planet, that we can be proud of.”