According to the UN, ‘climate change is the defining crisis of our time and it is happening even more quickly than we feared.’ This is something that can be avoided. Therefore, we may ask, how much are brands helping to combat the climate crisis?
The G7 Fashion Pact was created to stall the impacts of climate change caused by the fashion industry. The Pact has three goals that set out their aims, ‘stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.’ With brands including Chanel and Stella McCartney having signed this Pact, it is clear that these brands have made a commitment to help the planet. Not only are a range of luxury brands a part of this Pact, but also more affordable brands, including H&M and Nike. The founders of the Pact have stated, ‘The Fashion Pact is still at the beginning of its impact’, creating hope for what else they have to offer in the future. However, people such as Orsola de Castro have been sceptical: ‘If this [Pact] was made up of brands that had never made strides towards sustainability, then this would be something worth celebrating. But the fact that many of the brands, like Kering and Stella McCartney have been vocal about their environmental goals for years means that this is nothing new.’ Although it is a step in the right direction, it won’t truly be able to make an impact until more brands make a commitment to help combat the climate crisis.
Sustainability is also a major trend within fashion at the moment. For example, Prada recently introduced their ‘Re-Nylon’ scheme, where they use ‘ECONYL’ to make their range of bags. These materials are made out of recycled plastic collected from landfills and the ocean. Prada noted how their ‘ultimate goal will be to convert all Prada virgin nylon into Re-Nylon by the end of 2021.’ Furthermore, the SS20 line-up included a plethora of sustainability, including the launch of Stella McCartney’s faux fur coat, with ‘75% of the materials being classed as eco-friendly by the brand.’
In 2019, LVMH, the owner of houses such as Louis Vuitton and Fendi, donated $11 million in order to help combat the Amazon Forest wildfires occurring at the time. Board member Yann Arthus-Bertrand stated, ‘Protecting the environment is not just about words and speeches or signing declarations of principle, it also requires taking concrete collective actions when dangers arise in order to provide resources for local specialists and work together to save our planet.’ This is important as it shows the brands commitment to protecting the environment, rather than giving false promises.
The question of natural beauty combating the climate crisis is also raised a lot. Although the name has links to being environmentally friendly, experts are debunking this, and raising criticisms of the industry. Whilst some of the ingredients used are bio-degradable, they are not entirely sustainable as such, making people question how beneficial they are. Also, the presence of ingredients from the oceans, such as seaweed, within face care products is leading to the destruction of the ocean’s surface.
Within LVMH’s Climate Week in December 2020, the group noted how ‘The climate crisis thus becomes a challenge that the fashion industry must take up to inspire innovation.’ Although brands are evidently making more of an effort to combat the climate crisis, it must be ensured that this is not purely a trend, and something that is maintained for the long run, in order to save our planet.