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Sustainable fashion from Brazil at Global Summits – More needs to be done

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Credits: Ethical Fashion Brazil

Successful roundtable at COP27

In 2022, we hosted the roundtable “Sustainable Fashion Made in Brazil” during the UN’s COP27 in Egypt. Five Brazilian fashion and beauty companies shared their critical perspectives on sustainability. From a single jewelry project set up with indigenous women in the Amazon rainforest to neutralizing the carbon footprint of the whole fashion value chain, their different strategies serve as inspiration for our understanding of the role of fashion and beauty industries in addressing the challenges of climate change.

The roundtable was one of only a few events discussing sustainable fashion at COP27. It was possible due to a partnership with the agency and platform Ethical Fashion Brazil (networking, know-how), the NGO Responding to Climate Change (promoter), in the United Kingdom, and the research group Civic Innovation of the International Institute of Social Studies, part of Erasmus University Rotterdam (sponsor, research), in The Netherlands.

Fashion Summit BRICS+

Soon, the UN COP28 will take place in Dubai, at the same time as the BRICS+ Fashion Summit in Moscow. PhD researcher Luciana dos Santos Duarte from Ethical Fashion Brazil was invited to represent Brazil in Russia. Although it was a tough decision to take, given Russia’s involvement in the war in Ukraine, she will attend and talk about how to scale up artisanal production in the middle of the Amazon rainforest in order to reach global fashion markets, showcasing how Brazil is leading the green economy.

Fashion agenda at COP30

In the meantime, we are looking ahead to 2025 when COP30 will take place in Brazil. Since the documentary The True Cost and worldwide events organized by the Fashion Revolution, sustainable fashion has become a popular topic. Moreover, there are many attempts to help professionals shift their focus to circular consumption, such as The Sustainable Fashion Communication Playbook and The Fashion Pact. However, only few CEOs seem to be aware of how urgent it is to be carbon neutral by 2030 in order to reduce the likelihood of being killed or losing our livelihoods through extratropical cyclones, floods, fires, and heat waves. For instance, Stella McCartney had its science-based targets approved to become net-zero, in accordance with the Paris Agreement.

Pressure is also coming from young people who have suggested stricter measures for the fashion industry. For example, they want “regular audits of factories” and “large taxes and fines on those found not to be in compliance with the regulations set forth on toxic chemicals and worker safety” (see Model UN).

Recently, six young people took 32 countries to court because of climate change. They accuse the countries of failing to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently to reach the targets enshrined in the Paris Agreement. These events make us wonder: How long before young people will take fashion companies to court for not reaching the targets they set for themselves? And what can the Brazilian government do?

Contact: letswork@ethicalfashionbrazil.com

By Luciana dos Santos Duarte and Sylvia I. Bergh

Erasmus ISS
Ethical Fashion Brazil
Global Fashion Summit
Sustainable Fashion