Teenage girls and young women receive training on tying and dyeing in Kusanpuri village, Orissa, India. To reduce the environmental pollution related to hazardous dyes, The U.N. Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) provided the handloom cluster with better and eco-friendly dyes. Particular attention was paid to women artisans, who were encouraged to form their own self-help groups and cooperatives. Photo credit: Sanjit Das/ UNIDO 2008

Fashion and the SDGs: Looking at sustainable supply chains

"An environmental emergency"

WASHINGTON (Landscape News) — When most people think about the contributing factors to environmental health and climate change, typically energy production, shipping, and agriculture come to mind. What often flies under the radar is the immense contribution made by the fashion and textile industry.

The fashion industry – valued at $2.5 trillion – is clearly an environmental emergency, warns Olga Algayerova, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE).

The fashion industry is the second biggest consumer of water, producing 20 percent of global wastewater and approximately 10 percent of global carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined, according to statistics from UNECE.

Simply addressing the sustainability of this supply chain could drastically reduce the impact of fashion and textile industries.

The digital summit, “Fashion and the Sustainable Development Goals: Sustainable Supply Chains,” organized in tandem with the Global Landscapes Forum’s Investment Case Symposium in Washington in May, explored disruption and transformation of the global fashion industry.

The fashion industry, said to be the second most polluting industry in the world, could make rapid improvements in sustainable production by accelerating the uptake of new sources of materials and embracing digital communications, panelists said.

Three international leaders in eco-fashion: Ava J. Holmes of Fashion for Conservation; Kaya Dorey of Young Champion of the Earth North America 2017 and Amanda Parkes of Future Tech Lab, found common ground on the sustainable future of fashion.

Promising advances in technological innovation, strengthened access to natural and cultural resources, and the participation of small and medium enterprises and indigenous communities in global supply chains were among the solutions they reviewed in the 90-minutes dialogue.

Listen to learn more:


Seeking high-tech innovations for sustainable fashion

Transforming the fashion industry to meet U.N. sustainability targets

Q+A: Indonesian community enterprises partner to realize U.N. development goals through fashion

Q+A: Challenges of producing and marketing sustainable fashion in Indonesia

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