Did You Change Your Preferred Brand for Environmental Reasons?

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), y Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) have published a new edition of Pulse of the Fashion Industry, a report that annually evaluates the social and environmental factors of the fashion industry in terms of Pulse Score (sustainability indicators used in the report).

Madrid, 20 August 2019. The awareness about social and environmental practices amongst consumers is growing. The new edition of the report Pulse of the Fashion Industry includes the findings based on large sample size survey conducted in five countries. More than a third of consumers surveyed claim to have changed their preferred brand for another due to issues related to responsible practices.

However, the data in this edition of the report reveals that sustainability is still far from being a key consideration in buying decisions. “Therefore, it is up to industry leaders to drive a impact on a larger scale and influence the perdecptions of consumers,” says Joan Sol, partner at Boston Consulting Group.

The data in the new edition of the report also reveals that the fashion industry’s rate of progress, in terms of sustainablity, has decreased by a third in 2018, slowing down an action that counteracts the damaging impact of the rapidly growing industry. Unless the current Pulse Score trend improves, fashion will continue to contribute to climate change, increasing the risk that the Paris Agreement objective, keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius for the rest of this century, will not be achieved.

The Pulse Score has risen four points in the new edition of the report, from 38 to 42 (out of 100). In last year’s edition it increased six points, consequently the speed of progress in the last year has decreased by a third.

Sustainability Progress is Insufficient to Fight the Growth of the Industry

As stated in the 2019 conclusions, the positive rate of chage does not coincide with the projected growth of the fashion industry. Estimates suggest that by 2030 the global clothing and footwear industry will have grown 81%, reaching 102 million tons, exerting an unprecendented pressure on natural resources. If the Pulse Score continues on its current trajectory, the gap between indutry production and the indicator score will contine to widen, and the damaging consequences of the growth of production will be even more difficult to overcome.

The Growth of the Pulse Score has Diminished by a Third in 2018

The report reveals that the fashion industry has made progress in its social and environmental performance in the last year, but at a slower pace than in previous years. The progress is primarily due to the rapid progress among brands that have taken the first steps on the path to sustainability and have implemented fundamental changes in their strategy, leadership and goal setting. In the mean time, progress, as reflected in the indicator, has slowed down within larger companies that must still figure out how to scale distruptive business models and take advantage of innovative technology. However, there are several large companies that have implemented promising sustainable practices that are not currently measured by the Pulse Score, so their impact has not yet been included in the score.

How to Pick up the Pace

According to the report, solving global challenges and developing new disruptive technology will lead to new ways of doing business. Governments and businesses have to collaborate also, and the investors must insist that their investees improve their social and environmental practices.

Morten Lehmann, director of sustainability at the Global Fashion Agenda says: “These lastest conclusions mark the huge need for the entire industry to unite to accelerate this change. However, some transformations will require cooperation between policy makers and stakeholders throughout the value chain.”

For his part, Sebastian Boger, partner at BCG, explains, “It is very encouraging to finally see a change in consumers’ feelings. Our research shows that sustainability is changing from being a secondary consideration to a fundamental decision. More than a third of consumers surveyed have already changed their preffered brand due to social or environmental reasons.”

Amina Razvi, chief executive of Sustainable Apparel Coalition, states: “In order to achieve the required change, we have to collaborate and establish commitments to put the harmful practices of our industry behind us. We need to scale our efforts to assess impact through a common framwork and increase improvements in the performance of sustainablity on a global level.”

Pulse of the Fashion Industry

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