Safia Minney MBE
Fashion Declares/REAL CIC
The Department of Business and Trade
Old Admiralty Building
Admiralty Pl, London
Dear Honourable Secretary of State, Business and Trade, Kemi Badenoch,
Fashion Declares challenge lack of government action on fashion industry’s climate impact
High-profile, fashion industry experts including Safia Minney MBE, Bel Jacobs, Debbie Luffman and Caryn Franklin MBE, led a peaceful protest outside the Department for Business and Trade.
The Fashion Declares action formed part of a four-day peaceful event – “The Big One” – with over 60,000 individuals and more than 200 leading environmental and social justice groups gathered around Westminster to protest the UK government’s policies that continue to support the fossil fuel era.
Fashion Declares, the bottom-up movement of fashion industry professionals, brought together 150 people from the industry and campaigners to talk about fashion industry’s impact on the environment and workers’ rights outside the Department for Business and Trade. The event will see fourteenhigh-profile, fashion industry experts take to the ‘stage’ to talk about the urgent need for regulation in the fashion industry and for the UK government to provide a framework to halt and reverse the increasing emissions of the fashion industry, many of which are attributable to fossil fuels.
The fashion industry’s global carbon emissions are greater than the annual emissions of the UK, Germany and France combined (estimated 4-8% of global greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions). By far the most carbon intensive part of the supply chain is the production of materials. More than 60% of these are made with fossil fuels including polyester and nylon. McKinsey research shows that, without substantial carbon-abatement measures, the current trajectory will lead to industry-wide emissions twice what is required to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of 1.5-degree warming.
The UK Government must:
- Create mandatory minimum sustainability standards for every industry and ban damaging practices, toxins, and materials.
- Consider using financial levers (taxation and/or subsidies) to level the playing field for sustainable businesses.
- Create legislation to administer sanctions and monitor unacceptable behaviour across a range of areas including greenwashing and not meeting environmental and transparency standards.
- Create a Fashion Watchdog to regulate the UK’s fashion business’ purchasing practices.
Safia Minney, MBE, Exec Director of REAL Sustainability & Fashion Declares said:
“Our interconnectedness with the natural world, each other and other species is clear. Many businesses recognise the urgent need to redesign our economy and for every sector to operate within planetary boundaries. We must pull away from supply chains dependent on fossil fuels and modern slavery and move to a new era – one free of fossil fuels and built on redistribution of the benefits of trade. The fashion industry has no shortage of routes to a just transition. The race to the bottom must be replaced with the race to regenerate – our soils, our communities, and the biosphere. Business leaders are ready to relearn, collaborate and take the necessary actions – but government must facilitate this through policy and regulatory shift – and right now their strategy of pursuing new fossil fuels is taking us backwards”.
Information about Fashion Declares:
The Fashion Declares community shares best practice and expertise to restore ecosystems, biodiversity and climate, whilst empowering communities, democracy and health.
Fashion Declares was launched in 2022 with an Open Letter calling for radical change of the fashion industry in the climate, ecological and social crisis. Founding Signatories.
Fashion Declares’ Five Goals:
- Speaking Out for Urgent Action
We call for urgent action in the fashion industry to galvanise industry-wide debate on tackling the climate, ecological and social crisis.
- Decarbonisation, Restoration of Ecosystems & Biodiversity
The fashion industry must reach net-zero carbon by 2030 through rapid emissions reduction, with minimal use of off-setting. We call for radical cuts in the industry’s use of energy, water and toxic chemicals.
- Social Justice & The Just Transition
We demand that the fashion industry treats all workers fairly and with dignity. We speak out for workers’ rights, a living income, freedom of association, gender equality, and challenge systemic racism and other forms of abusive power.
- Radical Transparency & Corporate Governance
We call for standardised, industry-wide methodology and measurement criteria, underpinned by a common language and consistent reporting of social and environmental impacts.
- The Regenerative Fashion Model
With pressure from citizens, employees, investors and the inescapable reality of the climate crisis, brands must acknowledge that the existing economic model, based on infinite growth is broken. We call for all fashion companies to take rapid action to manage their operations within planetary boundaries, transforming their business models to be fair for all.
Fashion Watchdog/Garment Trading Adjudicator
The way many UK fashion brands and retailers buy clothing dumps inappropriate, unexpected, and excessive risks onto suppliers. If a retailer fails to pay the agreed amount, or delays payments, the supplier has to cut costs some other way, and this is frequently passed on to their workers, who have the least power in the supply chain. A fashion watchdog to regulate purchasing practices, as proposed in the 13 July 2022 Fashion Supply Chain Adjudicator Bill, would ensure brands treat their suppliers fairly, and ensure that British consumer confidence that retailers benefiting from the UK market are not subjecting their international and domestic partners to unethical practices in clothing supply chains.
Detail on the Watchdog: The Garment Trading Adjudicator (or Fashion Watchdog) would ensure large clothing retailers/brands, selling into the UK market, abide by a Statutory Code, initially replicating elements in the Groceries Supply Code of Practice and would need to include Principle of Fair Dealing so suppliers can operate with certainty. There is growing support among MPs for a Fashion Watchdog.
Contact Details: Safia Minney, firstname.lastname@example.org
We very much look forward to arranging a meeting with you at your earliest convenience.
Safia Minney MBE
On behalf of Fashion Declares, REAL Sustainability CIC.