he head of the Earthshot Prize has called on the fashion industry to scale up sustainable solutions as innovators look to tackle its impact on the planet.
Hannah Jones, CEO of the organisation created by the Prince of Wales to support projects aimed at protecting the environment, told industry leaders and policymakers that fashion faces a “race for scale” in the lead up to 2030.
Speaking at the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen on Monday, Ms Jones said she has seen “amazing” change in the sector since 2016 but added “some things haven’t changed fast enough”.
She said: “We have seven years left to reduce global emissions by over 40% and to protect 30% of nature and oceans.”
“We know where we have to go and we know the distance we have to travel to get there and that can seem daunting – seemingly impossible.
“Honestly the time to go slowly and incrementally has almost completely run out.”
But Ms Jones warned that innovators tackling the impacts of apparel and footwear on the environment still “face an uphill battle to take their ideas to scale”.
My call to action today .. is to take bold action, make the seemingly impossible the new normal, push aside the roadblocks and support each other in doing that, take risks and take solutions to scale
“If fashion opens up new business models, we change the game for how we consume and we build successful businesses as the agents of new commerce,” she said.
“Now we are actually at a time and place in history where we known so much of this can be done because we have prototypes for all of this,” she said, adding that the industry now has the data, policy and solutions where before there was none.
“My call to action today .. is to take bold action, make the seemingly impossible the new normal, push aside the roadblocks and support each other in doing that, take risks and take solutions to scale.”
It came after Denmark’s Crown Princess earlier called on industry leaders to “show the world how a complex industry can transform to one that protects the fragility of and conserves the natural world, to one that gives more to people, societies and the economy than it takes.”
Crown Princess Mary told the summit that the fashion world must work to become “sustainable and inclusive”.
“We must collectively minimise the environmental damage and impact of climate change,” she said.
“For the fashion industry, this is a complex matrix of interconnected matters, including deforestation, displacement, rising sea levels, dangerous weather events, microplastic pollution, dwindling levels of biodiversity, human health risks, food scarcity and extreme inequality.”
But she added that “with challenge comes opportunity” and “potential for growth”.