1. How to communicate the emergency and lead a conversation and action

Tell others that you care and create a space to talk and discuss the issues and actions It can feel daunting to bring up the subject of the climate, ecological and social crisis amongst the people you work with. The first thing to do is learn about the issues yourself. Find like-minded people who want to join you to raise awareness and widen the conversation and lead action in your organisation. It’s easier, more fun and effective to work with others. Watch our expert webinar on this topic below.
fashion declares zoom webinar

1. Setting up a meeting

Set up a talk in your office or on Zoom to discuss why it’s important and what can be done. It’s always a good idea to find out first what your company is doing for sustainability, climate and social justice. If you have someone who is leading this action, ask them to come along and share the strategy and action plan. Ask how you can get involved and help come up with new actions that can make big differences. Reading the five commitments to the team can help generate new ideas and actions in each and every department. Collect these ideas and make a plan. Researching best practice in your sector can inspire and help you set targets. Don’t let yourself be put off. There is no better antidote to climate anxiety than leading change and working with other people in your team to create a new culture. (If your organisation has a detailed sustainability or climate strategy and action plan, read it carefully and think about how you can help implement and improve it.)

Download the ‘Why Now?’ presentation to share. 

Fashion Declares held an expert webinar with industry leaders on this topic – How to Communicate the Emergency and Lead a Conversation and Action. Hear from Anannya Bhattacharjee, Alden Wicker, Debbie Luffman, Ben Tolhurst, and Safia Minney. 


You can also show the ‘Welcome to Fashion Declares’ video outlining : why now?, the 5 commitments and the Open Letter’. This is great to start the conversation and start to create an action plan and set targets. Think about your audience. Are you talking to the Logistics team or the Board? What will capture their imagination? Keep it real and solutions focused. You want buy in. Everyone needs to get involved.

After a presentation, you might like to start a conversation by asking: What can we do? What initiatives are we currently taking? Who’s leading ? How can we support them / resource this effort better? What are the obstacles? How do we start to cut emissions and waste now? How do we make our supply chains more sustainable and reduce impact on nature and support workers? What’s our vision for the future? Who do we need to talk to get the information and action we want? Importantly, before you close the meeting, ask if everyone is happy to stay involved and agree who is going to do what and set a date, time and place when you will next meet to keep the momentum going.

There is no better antidote to climate anxiety than leading change

Rolls of material stacked up.

2. Invite your colleagues to join a Fashion Declares webinar

Invite people in your company to attend a webinar on one of the seven topics.

  • How to Communicate the Emergency and lead a Conversation and Action
  • How to Decarbonise your Company
  • How to with to Low Impact Materials including Renewable, Regenerative and Recycled Materials
  • How to Realise a Fashion Circular Economy
  • How to Reduce Water Usage and Pollution
  • How to Promote Social Justice and Equality
  • How to Promote Governance and Transparency

Join our monthly, lunchtime Fashion Declares introduction to learn more on the first Wednesday from 1- 2 pm of each month.

‘How to Communicate the Emergency and Lead a Conversation and Action’ webinar video

Fashion Declares held a webinar detailing this topic, with brilliant speakers from across the industry. Do watch the recording if you were unable to attend and use it as a resource to share with others on this topic.

Panellists included:

– Anannya Bhattacharjee, International Coordinator of the Asia Floor Wage

– Alden Wicker, Sustainable fashion journalist, founder and EIC of EcoCult

– Debbie Luffman, Hubbub, ThinkCircular

– Ben Tolhurst, Director of Business Declares

– Safia Minney, MBE, Founder of People Tree, REAL sustainability centre, Fashion Declares

3. Screen a film about fashion’s impacts

Watch one of the videos below and ask yourself and your colleagues what they can do to improve your organisation’s activities. This is a great way to start the ball rolling and inspire you to take action and set targets. Think about your audience whether it’s the Buying team or the Board. What will capture their imagination? You want buy in.

See film ideas here

4. Sign up and resource yourself and others

Sign up to the Fashion Declares newsletter for regular updates and information. Also sign up to Future Fashion Expo here , Textile Exchange or Common Objective to learn about low impact, natural, regenerative and non- virgin synthetic materials and tell your product teams to join and learn more about sustainable sourcing.

Read Vogue Sustainability and other industry press to strengthen your hand with facts and best practice about how quickly the industry is changing in the climate and ecological crisis.

If there are other resources that you find useful to start the conversation, please write to us at kevin@REALsustainability.org.

5. Join a campaign group

As well as joining Fashion Declares, why not join other campaigning organisations like Clean Clothes Campaign and Fashion Revolution to resource yourself and take action?

Doughnut Economics – using this model to redesign your organisations operations

Developed by Kate Raworth this model offers a vision of what it means for humanity to thrive in the 21st century within planetary boundaries. First published in 2012 (A Safe and Just Space for Humanity), the concept has rapidly gained traction internationally from the UN General Assembly to the Occupy movement.

The doughnut consists of two concentric rings:

  • A social foundation to ensure that no one is left falling short of life’s essentials and
  • An ecological ceiling to ensure that humanity does not collectively overshoot planetary boundaries.

Between these two boundaries lies a doughnut-shaped space that is both ecologically safe and socially just – a space in which humanity can thrive.

Why fashion needs to act now

Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics showing exceeding boundaries (See Video Here)

We have already overshot 4 of 9 planetary boundaries – climate change, nitrogen and phosphorous loading, land conversion and biodiversity loss. The most critical planetary boundaries being exceeded are climate and biodiversity.

In 2009 a group of environmental scientists led by Johan Rockstrom and Will Steffen defined a “safe operating space for humanity” for governments, business, organisations and civil society, as a precondition for sustainable development. Learn more about the planetary boundaries in this short video

We’ve succeeded before with the ozone layer destruction in stopping the harmful effects of CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances. We need this to happen now at a larger scale.

As consumption increases, we use resources faster. In 2021, Earth Overshoot Day occurred on 29 July.

Beyond the doughnut graphic.
Image of deforestation.

We have already overshot 4 of 9 planetary boundaries

Code Red for humanity

“Today’s IPCC … report is a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: Greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.” (UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres)

In 2021, the IPCC reported that we are facing CODE RED for humanity and that the narrow window of opportunity is closing fast. We need urgent, radical action to keep to 1.5oC global heating alive; we are heading for 2.9°C above pre-industrial levels (link) For every 1 degree, one billion people will suffer displacement and suffer from food and water shortages.

Biodiversity is threatened with nearly one million animal and plant species on the brink of extinction. The systemic effects of this loss of nature could be the tipping point for us too as the lungs of the world, the Amazon rainforest, fights for survival threatened by commercialisation for meat, leather, logging and mining. This is all on our watch.

The fashion industry’s part in the Climate, Ecological and Social crisis

Fashion contributes up to 10 percent of GHG emissions (The_Sustainability_Index_2021.pdf (businessoffashion.com) and is predicted by 2050 to contribute more than 26 percent of the world’s annual carbon budget associated with a 2oC pathway.

Fashion is highly dependent on fossil fuels. “The use of synthetic fibres derived from oil in textiles has more than doubled since 2000 and is already present in over two thirds (69%) of textiles we use today. Most cotton is still not organic and relies on fossil fuel derived fertilisers and pesticides to grow it, the fabrics are dyed, printed and finished with synthetic dyes and the final product is produced in coal-powered factories and distributed in a system that relies on unrenewable energy.Fossil fuels are responsible for 89 percent of GHG emissions and the extreme pollution from extraction to the 35 percent of textile related micro-fibres in our oceans, and drastically undermine water and soil health.

That’s why Earth logic makes the case for cutting production by 75-95 percent of current resorce use by 2030 – see more below- and the British Fashion Council recommends that production is cut by 50 percent. Link here.

Growing cotton accounts for 69 percent of the water footprint of textile fibre production; just one kilogram of cotton takes as much as 10,000 to 20,000 litres of water to produce (Cotton on: the staggering potential of switching to organic clothes | Fashion | The Guardian). In terms of pollution, conventionally grown cotton is produced using huge quantities of insecticide and pesticide and 69 percent of the water footprint of all textile fibre production. Chemical addition to crops causes soil deterioration, species loss and pollution. Growing cotton organically uses significantly less (up to 91 percent) water than conventional cotton. See more on Topic 5.

It can take years to understand how the fashion industry works. to understand it better Think Circular have provided this useful graphic.

The fashion system graphic.