We were invited to participate in the United Nations Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) start up dialogue on Fashion and Climate Action on the 16th – 17th of January in Bonn. Two days of workshops discussing fashion’s role towards carbon neutrality in world economy by 2050. UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Ms. Patricia Espinosa, opened the meeting and invited us to a conversation on climate change. We were addressed with these three questions.
- What does climate action mean to you?
- How is your organization responding to climate challenge?
- What are your expectations for this dialogue?
« Climate action for us means doing some drastic changes right now, because we are running out of time »
Below was the message we carried out. A transparent and open message about the challenges we are facing and with a hope to get support in the strive to create a sustainable fashion industry through shared goals and actions.
“Climate action for us means doing some drastic changes right now, because we are running out of time.”
We are a Swedish fashion brand, a medium sized company that from several perspectives has come a long way in terms of sustainability but seen from a bigger picture, we are not even close. The purpose of our company is to show that simplicity is the purest form of luxury and to inspire a movement of mindful consumption. We have for many years increased the use of sustainable materials, decreased the footprint in our production and addressed social issues in our value chain. Since 2014 we have a strategy and an internal framework called Circular Fashion, guiding us how to transform to circular economy which we think is one the solutions of doing business within the planetary boundaries. Through that, we are devoted to the four R’s, Reduce, Repair, Reuse and Recycle and we are taking actions within each of those areas, even trying out new business models like helping customers care for their garments, a take-back system for unused garments, reselling of used clothes and rental, to give you some examples.
Our philosophy has always been to make clothes that can last for a long time, both in quality and style, and our clothes cost more than the average. We are a privately owned company with owners who understand the importance of sustainability and we have very passionate employees, so we have good conditions to drive sustainable development within the company. But even so, we are struggling every day to make sustainable choices, we struggle against prices, minimum order volumes, less good quality, availability, software that do not support our needs, legislation that do not support our new models, struggling to fully understand what is the right choice due to lack of holistic data that takes the whole life cycle into consideration. So just imagine those companies with less good support for making sustainable choices.
We cannot rely solely only on the Front Runners for sustainability and voluntary actions to create the necessary change, we will not reach the critical mass to create a tipping point that way. We need to help each other out to create the systemic change we want to see. We need support from governments and policy makers, we need regulations, standards and economic incentives to help transform the industry.
In the end, it is all about making the bad choices more expensive and harder to make–today it is unfortunately the other way around. And when so, a systemic change is very hard!
That is why we, Filippa K, are here today. In a hope to create change together. Build a shared story and narrative of what we want to see and what we need to do in order to get there, actions for all stakeholders to sign up for and act on.