Designer aiming to make business case for why brands should tackle climate change
Stella McCartney is to announce a United Nations fashion industry charter for climate action, which will be launched at next month’s climate talks in Poland.
The designer hopes the charter will “ring some alarm bells” while making a business case for sustainable fashion, setting out a path for collective action to enable low-carbon production methods to be scaled up, improving economic viability. Other signatories to the charter, which will be launched in Katowice on 10 December, have yet to be announced but are known to include several major fast fashion brands.
The charter has been initiated by the UN climate change secretariat. Waste, pollution, deforestation, toxicity in manufacture and carbon-fuelled supply chains combine to make fashion one of the most environmentally damaging industries, and reform is essential if the goals agreed in the Paris climate agreement are to be met.
There are signs consumers are driving a move towards responsible consumption. A report by the fashion search website Lyst, which tracked more than 100m searches over the past year, shows a 47% rise in searches that combine style and ethics, such as “vegan leather” and “organic cotton”.
“We really don’t have long now, to change things. But I honestly believe it’s doable – I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t believe that,” said McCartney. “There is so much guilt and fear attached to talking about sustainability and that’s not helpful. What is essential is for the big players in the industry to come along with me, because that changes the price point.”