“We’re at a turning point – I think many brands have realised [during the pandemic] that there’s something broken in the system,” CFW CEO Cecilie Thorsmark told Vogue. “This has reaffirmed the potential of our plan: Fashion Weeks must act as a catalyst for a sustainable transition in the fashion industry and not just a platform for showcasing collections”.
This is why, last year, the CFW – which launched its three-year action plan for sustainable development in January 2020 – developed a point system, which will make it possible to evaluate the ecological efforts of the brands. A pilot test involving 12 companies is taking place this month to establish a benchmark score – a more ambitious target for 2023 will be set on the basis of these results.
The CFW 2023 action plan includes 17 minimum requirements that brands will have to meet (such as a commitment not to destroy unsold clothes, to have at least 50% certified, organic, recycled or recovered textiles in all collections, and to use only sustainable packaging). Following the global protests against racial injustice in 2020 and the resurgence of the #MeToo movement in Denmark, the framework now also states that brands must offer equal opportunities and provide a safe, healthy and respectful working environment for all employees without harassment or discrimination.
Although much has been said about the environmental impact of Global Fashion Weeks during the pandemic, the actual CO2 emissions of a Fashion Week – compared to the impact of garment production – are relatively low (it is estimated that 70% of the emissions come from upstream operations such as production and processing of materials). Although CFW is working hard to reduce its own emissions and plans to return to being a physical event when it can do so safely, its real influence will be to reduce the negative impacts within the wider industry.