What should a fashion brand do to contribute to the SDGs?
In 2015, in New York, all the UN members came together to set 17 Sustainable Development Goals to reach within 2030 in order to create a global sustainable development.
It touch all the three dimensions – economic, social and environmental.
It is a call to action addressed to companies, institutions, governments, local communities and individual citizens.
Everyone must contribute and help in order to face all the social and environmental challenges.
The fashion industry, the second most polluting industry in the world (after the oil one), must work to integrate the SDGs in the business strategy to fight for human rights, protect the planet and contribute to the general well-being.
Let’s talk about some SDGs closely related to the Fashion Industry.
SDGs 1 – End Poverty and SDG 8 – Decent work and Economic Growth
“By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day” “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.”
The first goal is aimed to end poverty in all its form everywhere. The majority of fashion and garment workers live in developing countries and are underpaid. They are unable to afford life’s basic necessities.
Brands should pay fair wages so they can afford to live in appropriate housing, to buy quality food, to pay for education and healthcare.
A living wage for labour is a fundamental right and fashion brand’s can do a first step by ensuring that in their supply chains there is not any phenomenon of exploitation and that people working for them are paid appropriately.
This can be achieved thanks to the implementation of traceability systems. Click here to know more about.
The fashion industry has the power to increase global poverty or to help to reduce it.
SDG 12- Responsable production and consumption
“Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns”
Both fashion brands and consumers must be aware of their roles and responsibilities. Brands should start to change their business models making a transition to a green economy model, minimizing the environmental impact caused by the entire cycle of resource transformation.
It aims to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, to increase energy and resource efficiency, to avoid the loss of biodiversity and to conserve the ecosystem.
Brands can switch from a linear model to a circular one, limiting the use of resources and raw materials, favoring the use of recycled materials and producing resistant and long-lasting products.
An awareness campaign aimed at consumers should also be carried out to make them aware that their choices have a great impact on the environment.
The pandemic offers an opportunity to develop recovery plans to build a more sustainable future and the fashion industry must play a leading role.
SDG 13 – Climate Action
“Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”
As said, the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries. It produces more than 8% of greenhouse gas and 20% of global wastewater.
It is estimated that by 2050 will use a quarter of the world budget of carbon and that 85% of fabrics end up in landfills or come incinerated.
Although, due to the pandemic and the stop of human activities, the emission of greenhouse gasses it’s estimated to drop by 6%, this improvement is only temporary and climate change continues to exacerbate the frequency and severity of natural disasters.
Fashion companies can reduce the gas emissions by adopting carbon neutral strategies and using renewable energies.
SDG 14 – Life below water
“Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”
Washing synthetic clothes release half a million tons of microfibers every year. They end up in the oceans and in seafood we eat.
Fashion companies should make investments in research for finding new techniques and sustainable materials to use instead of microplastic fiber.
The drastic reduction in human activities, brought by the pandemic, may be a chance for oceans to recuperate and the fashion industry must not waste this opportunity to contribute to restore the oceans before it is too late.
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