Sustainability in fashion increases, but in very small stepsThe fashion industry has improved its environmental and social performance over the last year, but at a rate that has slowed by a third from the 2018 score: this is confirmed by The Pulse Score, the study promoted by the Boston Consulting Group and Sustainable Apparel Coalition. While rapid growth in the sector puts the goals of the Paris climate agreement at risk, consumers demand an increasingly high level of sustainability.
The growth of sustainability in the fashion industry slows down: although it increased by four points from 38 to 42 points out of 100 on the Higg index in 2019, this year’s growth trend has decreased compared to the previous year’s score, when it increased by 6 points. Even with a forecasted increase to 5 percentage points a year on average, it is still not enough to counterbalance the enormous impact of the fashion industry’s rapid growth, which, according to projections, will increase by 81% to 102 million tons by 2030, exerting an unsustainable strain on the planet.
The Pulse highlights how this year’s positive performance is due mainly to companies, which, during the early stages of their sustainability journey have put in place foundational measures in adopting sustainable and governance strategies, while setting targets aimed at saving energy and water, with a reduced use of chemicals. Less virtuous instead are larger companies that are higher up on the Higg curve, which are urged to take steps forward in applying more breakthrough business models, while making the most of innovative technologies in increasing their sustainability. Working in collaboration with the governments in applying ad hoc rules. Obliging the supply chain to improve upon its implementation of social and environmental practices.
The report also highlights how consumers are increasingly aware and attentive of sustainable practices. 75% of those interviewed across five continents consider it an important factor. 38% even reported that they have switched from their preferred brand to another that is more committed to environmental and social issues. However, when arriving at the question of a ‘willingness to spend’, the importance of sustainability falls back to only 7%, after other variables like high quality (23%), a successful image (17%) and a good quality/price ratio (16%).
This is exactly why The Pulse encourages companies to become promoters in influencing consumers, pushing them towards more aware purchases, while offering prices and undertaking marketing strategies that encourage greater awareness and responsibility.
Greenitaly: a virtuous country
One out of every four Italian businesses produces green products or technology: this is the example that has pushed the entire national productive system to become a European leader in environmental performance. The Greenitaly 2018 report issued by Symbola and Unioncampere confirms it, presenting the picture of a country that is virtuous in its practices of energy savings, managing resources, limiting waste, recycling, and investing in bioeconomy and green chemicals. Merit in fact goes to those businesses, which are often SMEs without any government subsidies, that are proud to be promoters of sustainable projects that make them competitive also on international markets. Various examples are present in the fashion supply chain: of the 80 businesses that committed to the Greenpeace Detox campaign, 60 were Italian.