The apparel and textile industries are in a race against the clock.
Every day brings a new headline about the effects of climate change, and with them, a heightened awareness around the need for real progress on the road to sustainability. Now more than ever, the age of talking the talk is over. We’re in a critical moment with the countdown to 2020—and the deadlines for a slew of environmental goals—right around the corner.
In response, suppliers, factories, brands and retailers alike are attempting to reverse decades of damage.
One idea whose time has come is circularity, or the concept of keeping materials in use at their highest level for as long as possible. The call to action has prompted updates to standards on materials and chemical use, as well as innovations around tracking and reclaiming inputs. We’re also in the early stages of new business models that incentivize shoppers to swap their old duds for new looks, repair well-loved but worn pieces or share their virtual closets with likeminded fashion addicts.
As the calendar moves forward, engineers are eagerly dredging oceans and raiding refrigerators to find tomorrow’s answer to today’s water-, chemical- and energy-hungry materials. It’s a now-or-never kind of drive that apparel executives from organizations like Higg Co., GOTS, Eileen Fisher and WRAP, hope will accelerate the pace of change.
But if the growing momentum around the subject doesn’t do it, the potential impact to corporations’ funding just might.
The investment community is paying attention to sustainability in a new way, and their interest is sure to fast forward what some characterize as slow progress. By comparing traditionally run firms with those that are environmentally aware, ethically sound and earnestly transparent, the financial community is becoming convinced that the latter represent a much better bet.
- the internal and external factors prompting the industry’s transformation
- why consumer education is an important catalyst for change
- why collaboration is key to real progress
- what brands can do to lead the charge
- how technology is providing viable solutions
- what investors are drawn to
- when we’ll reach a tipping point
- how eco-warriors wear their ethics