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GFA partners with UNEP to define new sustainable targets at COP27

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: Global Fashion Agenda

The Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced at COP27 that they are partnering to launch a new ‘Fashion Industry Target Consultation,’ which will call on fashion stakeholders to define holistic and concrete targets for a net-positive industry.

The ‘Fashion Industry Target Consultation' will aim to identify and converge existing industry-aligned targets according to the five priorities of the Fashion CEO Agenda. This includes respectful and secure work environments, better wage systems, resource stewardship, smart material choices and circular systems.

The consultation will also seek to formulate new targets on areas not currently covered, such as criteria for purchasing practices and circular design, as it looks to establish a route towards a net-positive industry, where fashion gives back more to the natural world, people and societies and the economy than it takes out.

The multi-stakeholder project will be led by the GFA, a non-profit organisation that encourages industry collaboration on sustainability in fashion, while the UNEP will draw on its expertise of the broader network of the United Nations throughout the process.

GFA and UNEP launch ‘Fashion Industry Target Consultation’ to set targets for a net-positive industry

To kickstart change, the GFA and UNEP are inviting stakeholders and partners from across the global value chain to share their insights on the performance indicators and milestones that the industry must strive to meet. It is asking brands, retailers, NGOs, manufacturers, data providers, innovators, intergovernmental organisations, and policymakers to take part so it can gauge what tools and support are needed to take action.

Federica Marchionni, chief executive at the Global Fashion Agenda, said in a statement: “We know that addressing the complex matrix of environmental and social issues prevalent in the fashion industry can feel insurmountable – especially when acting in isolation – which is why we at Global Fashion Agenda recognise the unparalleled value of collaboration.

“We are delighted to be working with UNEP and to capture the broader industry’s direction for targets that will accelerate the fashion industry forward, united in its purpose for a net positive industry.”

The fashion and textiles industry is responsible for some 300 million jobs globally, which support vital livelihoods, but also creates significant social and labour risks for workers, adds the GFA. In addition, if the fashion industry continues its current trajectory, it will fall short of the decarbonisation targets required to conform with the UNFCCC’s 1.5-degree pathway by 50 percent, according to the ‘Fashion on Climate’ report from the Global Fashion Agenda and McKinsey and Company. The fashion value chain also has a significant impact on ecosystems through land use, resource use and through pollution.

“Progress demands a holistic route in order to respect planetary sustainability, provide dignified work and protect the human rights of these many millions of people and their communities,” added the GFA. “Transformation will require stakeholders to work together towards common targets that will reduce fashion’s impact and create positive social and environmental contributions.”

GFA calls on fashion stakeholders to define holistic and concrete environmental and social targets Through the consultation, the organisations intend to provide clarity and drive accountability by concluding a range of consistent, measurable, monitored, and complete goals so that the fashion industry can understand the current state of progress, the areas that it must focus on to accelerate impact and the timeframe to do so.

The consultation will consist of an online survey for target feedback which will be available in multiple languages and regional workshops hosted by UNEP in Latin America and the Caribbean, West Asia, Asia Pacific, and Africa. The GFA and UNEP are welcoming feedback until February 2023, after which feedback analysis will be shared and the aligned targets will be unveiled in the 2023 publication of GFA’s Fashion CEO Agenda at Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition in June 2023.

Sheila Aggarwal-Khan, director of the economy and industry division at the UNEP, added: “Addressing climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss requires a collaborative and holistic approach. Together with partners within the United Nations and beyond, UNEP works to ensure a just and effective transition to circularity in which all stakeholders participate.

“UNEP welcomes this unique opportunity with GFA to consult with the textile sector, including on circularity, chemicals in products, gender, worker protections, and business models to ensure all voices are understood and inform ambitions.”

Fashion Industry Target Consultation
Global Fashion Agenda
United Nations Environment Programme