In April 2019, ahead of the G7 meeting which took place in the French town of Biarritz on August 23-26, France’s President Emmanuel Macron gave Pinault a mission to bring together the leading players in fashion and textile, with the aim of setting practical objectives for reducing the environmental impact of their industry. The coalition includes groups and brands in luxury, fashion, sports and lifestyle, along with suppliers and retailers, all of whom are already involved in separate environmental strategies, including Adidas, Burberry, Chanel, Ferragamo, Hermès, Prada and Puma.

Drawing on the Science-Based Targets (SBT) initiative, the Fashion Pact focusses on action in three “essential areas for safeguarding the planet”; stop global warming, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans. “Private companies, working alongside nation states, have an essential role to play in protecting the planet. With the Fashion Pact, some leading players in the fashion and textile sector are joining forces for the first time to launch an unprecedented movement”, says a statement released by Kering. “A collective endeavor by its nature, the Fashion Pact is open to any company that wants to help to fundamentally transform the practices of the fashion and textile industry, and to meet the environmental challenges of our century”.

The Fashion Pact says it aims to “eliminate the sourcing from intensive feed-lot based farming” and support production systems that “optimise the animals’ time on natural pasture aligned with the adoption of animal welfare standards across the industry”. It will seek to support material and process innovations that have no negative impact on key species and ecosystems, and provide support for the development and implementation of certifications schemes for all key (high impact) materials such as leather, cotton, cashmere, wool, metals, viscose and synthetics, while supporting quantitative targets on the percentage of materials and processes that are covered by sustainability certifications. It says it will also support initiatives that advocate new approaches in farming and agriculture that eliminate the need for intensive, high impact systems.

Chief Sustainability Officers as ‘fashion’s new influencers’

Vogue Business has declared Chief Sustainability Officers as ‘fashion’s new influencers’. “There are two important ingredients for making sustainability business as usual”, said Tamsin Lejeune, CEO, Common Objective. “One is that there is bold leadership from the top to set an ambitious sustainability agenda, and the second is that it is embedded across teams. Sustainability is no longer the sole responsibility of the CSR or ethical trading department – it is something every fashion professional needs to understand in order to be good at their job”.

Launched in May 2018 by the team who ran global not-for-profit the Ethical Fashion Forum, B2B sourcing and information network Common Objective (CO) aims to be the practical tool for fashion professionals to help them succeed sustainably in their role or business. As of August 2019, over 18,000 members have joined CO, including from world leading brands and retailers such as Kering, LVMH, Burberry, Nike, and ASOS.