According to a new report, the pace of sustainability progress is slowing down in the fashion industry, despite it being a current hot topic.
The 2019 issue of ‘Pulse of the Fashion Industry' - an annual assessment of the fashion sector's environmental and social performance, published by Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) - suggests that the industry is not moving fast enough to counterbalance the harmful impact on the planet presented by its own growth. According to the report, progress has slowed by a third in the past year, meaning that the industry remains a net contributor to climate change.
"These latest findings emphasise the dire need for the whole industry to join the race and accelerate change now," said Morten Lehmann, chief sustainability officer at Global Fashion Agenda, in a statement. "Scaling existing solutions will depend on leadership from brands. However, some transformational changes will take cooperation among policy makers and stakeholders across the entire value chain."
A measure called the ‘Pulse Score' is used by the report, to record sustainability progress in the fashion world. While this score increased from 38 to 42 (of a possible 100) in 2019, last year showed faster growth, with the score rising by six points. The report predicts that if the industry's score continues its current trajectory, it will fail to compensate for the output of the clothing and footwear industry - which is projected to grow by 81% to 102 million tonnes by the year 2030.
A number of fashion brands have tackled the issue of sustainability over recent years, with recent initiatives ranging from a fully-recyclable running shoe being trialled by Adidas, to the announcement made by the H&M Group in April that 57% of the materials it now uses are created using recycled or other sustainably sourced fibres.