Sustainability top of mind for fashion leaders despite COVID-19

By November 2, 2020 No Comments

New research from the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) reveals the extent of the global fashion industry’s commitment to sustainability, with 60% of fashion, retail and textile leaders surveyed stating implementing sustainability measures as a top strategic objective for their business.

Leaders report they are introducing sustainability measures throughout the supply chain, from sourcing sustainably produced raw materials (65%), introducing a circular economy approach to their business and cutting greenhouse gasses (51% apiece) and investing in new technologies like 3D printing and blockchain (41%). Overall, the majority (70%) were optimistic that sustainable, fast and affordable fashion is achievable.

Looking to the future, over a quarter (26%) of respondents saw a lack of available, easily-accessible data as hampering collaboration on sustainability across the industry. 

“It’s clear from the survey results and our interviews with business leaders that the industry is committed to driving progress on its sustainability performance. We were particularly struck by the fact that sustainability is largely considered as pre-competitive – behind the scenes brands are sharing resources and lessons learned,” says Jonathan Birdwell, regional head of public policy and thought leadership at the Economist Intelligence Unit. 

This determination on sustainability flies in the face of COVID-19 uncertainty, although when asked their view on the pandemic, just over half (54%) of respondents said they thought it would make sustainability less of a priority within the industry.

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