While our individual efforts in supporting sustainable and ethical fashion are crucial, the fast fashion industry is unlikely to correct its harmful production patterns unless there is organization-level pressure. The United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion is an initiative that was founded in 2019 by various branches of the United Nations to specifically target the global fashion sector on meeting Sustainable Development Goals. The primary purpose of the Alliance is to promote collaboration, transparency of information and outreach in correcting the nature of fast fashion.
As their name suggests, the main goal of the Alliance is to create a joint effort in reducing the fashion industry’s negative environmental and humanitarian impacts. Key members of the Alliance that are organizations independent from the UN are: ‘Connect4Climate World Bank Group’, ‘International Labour Organization’, ‘ITC Ethical Fashion Initiative’. The involvement of these acclaimed global organizations brings more awareness to the realities of the fashion industry from different perspectives, where each organization is specific in their involvement. The ILO advocates against exploitation of textile labourers while Connect4Climate is focused on environmentally friendly textile production habits.
The Alliance is dedicated to the spread of information, and they share their findings in published public reports. According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion the clothing and textiles industry today is responsible of:
– 2-8% of the world’s greenhouse emissions
– 215 trillion gallons of water consumption per year
– 9% of annual microplastic entry into the oceans
This is a limited number of examples from their report and highlights how a singular industry is capable of large-scale environmental damage to our planet. Their ‘Synthesis Report on United Nations System-wide Initiatives related to Fashion’ outlines Sustainable Development Goals such as ‘no poverty’, ‘zero hunger’ or ‘clean energy’ that are applicable and as urgent in the sustainable fashion movement.
Outreach is another central initiative of the Alliance, which they provide through hosting events both online and in person. Events come in variations, where some feature key speakers and others are launching events for new sustainability initiatives. Anyone can access or attend these events by pre-registering on their website.
Read more on the UN Alliance for Fashion and pre-register for their events at https://unfashionalliance.org