Business giants commit to Regenerative Fashion Manifesto

A host of fashion giants including Burberry, Giorgio Armani, Stella McCartney and Zalando, have today (20 April) agreed to adopt a new “Regenerative Fashion Manifesto” aimed at delivering a climate and nature-positive sector.

Business giants commit to Regenerative Fashion Manifesto

The first project will focus on regenerative practices in the Himalayan region

The new Manifesto has been developed by the Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), which recently banded together a host of fashion giants to create the Fashion Task Force.

The SMI Fashion Task Force has now unveiled the principles of a new Regenerative Fashion Manifesto. In signing up, Task Force members have committed to shifting business practices to regenerative fashion that promotes closed-loop and bio-based approaches in a way that combats the climate and ecological crises, including approaches to carbon sequestration.

The Task Force is being chaired by entrepreneur Federico Marchetti and the Manifesto has been developed in partnership with the Circular Bioeconomy Alliance (CBA) led by scientist Marc Palahi.

The first project unveiled through the Manifesto is the Himalayan Regenerative Fashion Living Lab. The €1m project will restore degraded landscapes and recover traditional textile craft skills for local farmers and producers in the Himalayan regions.

Fashion Task Force Chair, Federico Marchetti said: “The Regenerative Fashion Manifesto is another concrete step towards creating a much more sustainable fashion industry. It is not simply empty words, the manifesto comes with a concrete €1m project for the degraded landscapes of the Himalayas attached.

“This project will serve as a blue-print for what can be done to shift the fashion industry towards a more equitable, nature positive future.”

The Regenerative Fashion Manifesto is the second initiative unveiled by the Task Force, following the launch of a Digital ID system in October 2021. The Digital ID uses data to inform customers of sustainability credentials for clothing and the ID format is being recommended by the EU Commission for the development of Digital Product Passports that will require mandatory disclosure of circularity and environmental elements in textiles manufacture.

The Prince’s SMI is also hosting the Terra Carta, first unveiled at Climate Week NYC in September 2020. The initiative outlines ten areas of action for businesses looking to respond to the scale of the interconnected climate and nature crises and to shape a green recovery from the economic fallout of Covid-19.

By signing the charter, businesses formally recognise that 2050 is the absolute cut-off point for setting net-zero targets and commit to going further and faster if possible.

The SMI has also created a Natural Capital Investment alliance targeting $10bn by 2022. The alliance will work with private sector and public sector actors as well as philanthropists.

Fashion fears

It comes after analysis of some of the biggest environmental certification schemes for fashion brands concluded that none of them are fit for purpose, with some having delivered “no measurable impact” during the last decade.

Conducted by campaign group the Changing Markets Foundation, the analysis assessed whether the world’s most popular fashion certification schemes and multi-stakeholder initiatives required brands to set and achieve ambitious enough targets. It also looked at what level of disclosures the schemes require from brands, and how much information on product sustainability the schemes provide themselves.

Separate research also warns that the fashion industry is relying on “zombie data” that lacks credibility in order to promote products and services as sustainable, a move that could create reputational damages for the brands and see investors back unsustainable corporate practices.

New findings from the financial thinktank Planet Tracker have warned that the fashion industry has a “serious misinformation problem”, with companies relying on zombie data to badge products as sustainable and environmentally friendly.

Zombie data refers to collected data that can be deemed false, unverifiable, or lacking creditability. Planet Tracker warns that this type of data as “become all too en vogue” amongst corporates attempting to demonstrate commitments to sustainability.

Indeed, last year, a study of the websites of 12 of the biggest British and European fashion brands, including Asos, H&M and Zara, found that 60% of the environmental claims could be classed as “unsubstantiated” and “misleading”.

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