What does the war in Ukraine mean for fashion sustainability goals?

Lucy Shea, CEO of change agency Futerra, urges companies and countries to invest in small-scale renewables and mass electrification instead. “We need a diverse network where everyone is their own, decentralized provider of powerful people who agree to wage war and exacerbate climate change,” she says.

“In light of Russia’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine, it is right that we move away from dependence on Russian energy, increase our self-reliance and diversify supply,” said a British government spokesman. Business in vogue. The UK hopes to increase its renewables and nuclear capacity, while supporting the oil and gas industry in the North Sea, a move that has received backlash from environmentalists.

The European Commission aims to reduce dependence on Russian gas by two-thirds by the end of 2022 and to become fully independent of all Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. “We cannot be in this situation where we are dependent on Russian energy that comes with strings attached. said the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans in a statement this month.

The fashion industry has a role to play in raising awareness about the climate crisis and its potential solutions, says Krakovska. “Fashion is very powerful in changing the minds of many people,” she explains, adding that the war should be a provocation for fashion individuals to reflect on how much of its production and activities are unnecessary. “Try to put yourself in our shoes. What would you take with you when you fled your homes? What really matters?”

Brands can use their “brainprint” or influence on consumer sentiment to change popular behavior, Shea says. “Many creative directors would consider themselves artists, and artists have a key role to play in driving progress. As we saw on the climate, fashion has not yet played as much of a role as it could.

Sustainability beyond renewables

For the fashion industry, as oil and gas prices rise, the production of raw materials is likely to become more expensive, a Clean Clothes Campaign spokesperson said. The risk is that brands pass these costs on to suppliers, leaving garment workers to suffer the consequences.

Brands must ensure living wages and human rights throughout their supply chains, says Shea de Futerra. “The risk is that we embed the same issues in a world that is more resilient to climate change, instead of distributing power and ownership more evenly,” she explains. “Climate change, inequality and war in Ukraine all stem from the same corruption in the system and we need a power shake-up to fix it.”

Céline Semaan-Vernon, founder of the nonprofit Slow Factory, urges brands to reconsider their geopolitical relationships and reflect on how their supply chains are tied to the lingering legacy of colonialism – with roads trade mirroring those of slavery and the countries of the South. often suffer to meet the demands of the northern fashion industry.

War is a wake-up call to the world. “We have a very narrow window to put our civilization on a climate-resilient path and build a sustainable future. With this war, that window becomes even narrower,” says Krakovska. “We really have to pay attention to this, because climate change will not stop and wait.”

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