by John Russel Jones

Less than eight years remain to align with the 1.5-degree pathway and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals laid out by the United Nations. If the fashion industry does not accelerate its response to climate change, by 2030 it will be responsible for producing approximately twice the volume of emissions permitted to align with the Paris Agreement global warming pathways towards net zero emissions by 2050. Meanwhile, the global pandemic and volatile geopolitical climate are dramatically disrupting the global economy, exacerbating social dilemmas, and disrupting commodities and value chains around the world. Bold alliances are needed to redesign the fashion system and establish pervasive change.

In a bid to accelerate progress, The GFA Monitor presents guidance according to the five sustainability priorities of the Fashion CEO Agenda: Respectful and Secure Work Environments, Better Wage Systems, Circular Systems, Resource Stewardship, and Smart Materials Choices. Building alliances through shared industry knowledge, each priority includes expert insights from GFA’s Impact Partners including Fair Labor Association (FLA), the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Apparel Impact Institute, and Textile Exchange, respectively. Through action on these priorities, GFA believes that the industry will progress towards achieving a living wage and fair compensation for all, a significant reduction of conventional virgin resources, and decreased emissions that will lead to a net positive fashion industry.

Federica Marchionni, CEO, Global Fashion Agenda, says: “With such an array of information circulating about sustainability, it can be challenging for leaders to identify which actions will lead them on the path to progress. Through this report, we aim to create an aligned resource for the industry. We have created alliances with multiple expert organizations with different specialties to combine existing knowledge and reduce complexity. The solutions and tools that the fashion industry needs to improve already exist. It’s time to use them ambitiously. I hope this report can be a companion for the industry on its journey to reach a net positive industry by 2050.”

Through a newly formed partnership with sustainability insights platform, Higg, GFA is working to establish a measurement baseline to improve the availability, reliability, and consistency of data to measure industry progress. Data from the brands and retailers that completed the Higg Brand & Retail Module (BRM)* indicates that they have made more progress in the areas of Resource Stewardship, Respectful and Secure Work Environments, and Smart Material Choices, whereas there are still significant improvements to be made related to Better Wage Systems and Circular Systems. The data demonstrate that more action is urgently needed across all five priority areas to improve industry performance. (View more data highlights below).

Building on the inaugural 2022 edition, GFA intends for The GFA Monitor to become an annual gauge of the fashion industry; to monitor industry progress to increase accountability, present the latest insights and impact data, and identify critical actions required to meet its objectives. GFA welcomes further cooperation with other industry organizations as the annual report evolves and responds to industry and scientific developments.

GFA and its Impact Partners will discuss the findings during Global Fashion Summit: Copenhagen Edition, the leading international forum for sustainability in fashion, taking place on June 7 to 8 at the Royal Opera House, Copenhagen.