Sustainability in fashion

Thursday 11 August 2022 | News

Survive and thrive as volumes come under pressure in the industry

The fashion industry is having a significant impact on all aspects of ESG. Negative impacts occur up and down the physical value chain, in particular within raw materials, dyeing and use/washing/end-of-life. The industry will need to fundamentally transform to a world of volume declines – incremental changes will not be enough to hit the UN climate targets; as the industry faces into this, we will see (virgin) volumes reduce and production approaches transform with impacts felt throughout the full ecosystem.

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Building sustainability into the fashion operating model

This transformation will force brands and retailers to evolve propositions to thrive in an environment of stagnant or declining volumes whist sharpening their competitive advantage or risk being left behind. Focus is key to maximise impact, get consumer cut through and prioritise efforts. Having a clear vision of how sustainability will be integrated into the operating model to operate at lower production volumes and/or lower per unit impact is critical; knowing where you can have disproportionate impact and drive competitive advantage underpins this.

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Partnerships will unlock speed and competitive advantage as the fashion industry transforms to be more sustainable

Whilst the infrastructure across the industry is immature, this is not reason to delay action; instead, partnerships and innovation have an important role to play – finding the right collaborators is a key part of the winning model and early investments can give long term advantage.

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Now is the time to act – as we have learned from the digital revolution, transforming operating models takes time and the industry moves at pace; not having a clear plan now risks failure in the future, but seizing the opportunity can bring significant rewards.