The first issue of Vogue Scandinavia has been published. On the cover is none other than Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, sitting under a bright green canopy. In a big pink trench coat, she leans against a tree trunk, stroking the nose of an Icelandic horse with her left hand. The magazine features a multi-page interview with Thunberg, about her vision and experiences of climate activism. Coincidentally, the launch of Vogue Scandinavia coincided with the publication of a new UN report that underlines the seriousness and urgency of the climate crisis.
Attention to nature and the climate are intertwined in the new Vogue edition, which serves Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. Vogue Scandinavia aims to be ‘the most sustainable publication in the world,’ according to a press release. Among other things, the magazine uses plastic-free packaging and two trees are planted for every tree that has to be cut down for the printing of an issue. Also, the issues are no longer sold in shops, but only via the Vogue website - to prevent printed copies from being left over.
The magazine is already produced carbon neutrally, but it doesn’t stop there, says Mariann Jacobsson, head of sustainability at Vogue Scandinavia. “Our goal is to give back more than we consume.” The magazine is working towards a completely carbon-negative production chain and in doing so hopes to inspire others to take steps for the climate as well.
Sustainability is key theme for new Vogue Scandinavia
Thunberg’s presence on the cover symbolises this approach. Thunberg ‘represents everything [Vogue Scandinavia] stands for,’ according to the press release. The magazine joins Thunberg in ‘calling for more responsibility in all industries - including fashion. Fashion brands should be aware of the impact they have on the environment, and should do everything possible to minimise the negative consequences of their actions.’
This critical attitude is remarkable for a magazine like Vogue. Most fashion magazines rely - in addition to subscription fees - mainly on advertising revenues from large fashion brands, and thus on selling not less, but more clothes. The question is how Vogue Scandinavia will deal with this in the future.
In an Instagram post in which Thunberg shared the interview, the activist criticised the fashion industry even more harshly. “The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate and ecological emergency (…) Many make it seem as if the fashion industry is starting to take responsibility, spending huge amounts of money on campaigns that portray themselves as sustainable, ethical, green, climate neutral and fair. But let’s be honest: almost always it is pure greenwashing. You cannot produce fashion on a large scale or consume it ‘sustainably’ in the world as it is today. That is one of the many reasons why we need a system change.”
Vogue and environmental issues
In recent years, Vogue has often drawn attention to environmental issues. For instance, for the January 2020 issue, Vogue Italia decided not to hire photographers or book distant trips for shoots. Instead, the issue featured illustrated covers. Earlier this year, the Italian edition did not put models on the covers, but animals, with fur and leather items kept to a minimum in the editorials. Articles on climate change also appear from time to time, such as a series of interviews with seven climate activists in Vogue India last winter.
This article was originally published on FashionUnited.nl. Edited and translated by Rachel Douglass.