Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

As people have become increasingly aware of how our lifestyles damage the environment, the devastating impact of the fashion industry on our planet has become more widely known. 73% of our clothes go to a landfill or an incinerator when they are thrown away, despite the potential recyclability of these fabrics. Fashion uses up huge amounts of water, both in the growth of raw materials like cotton as well as in the manufacturing of clothes. On top of this, according to the UN, the fashion industry contributes 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions, using more energy than the aviation and shipping industries combined.

It is undeniable that we need to urgently change the fashion industry. In light of this, a new ‘Fashion Pact’ was announced at the G7 summit this August. The pact aims to improve the fashion industry by setting targets on three fronts – Climate, Biodiversity and Ocean. The Climate commitment includes measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon offsetting schemes and renewable energy use. The Biodiversity commitment focuses on ways to protect ecosystems, by promoting wildlife-friendly agriculture for growing clothing materials. The elimination of the use of single-use plastics and the reduction of water pollution to protect our seas are the main commitments in the Ocean section. The pact also suggests joint initiatives between companies, such as agreeing to transparency schemes and supporting technological innovation.

The pact aims to sign up 20% of the fashion industry and at the moment 32 companies, owning about 150 brands in total, have signed it. These include the likes of H&M, Zara and Nike as well as more ‘up-market’ brands like Chanel and Giorgio Armani. 

While this may seem like a leap forward in reducing the environmental impact of fashion, it remains to be seen whether this will make any difference. Several commitments already exist in the global fashion industry, such as the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Change and the Circular Fashion System Commitment. Given that many of the brands signing on to the G7 Fashion Pact have already agreed to these existing standards, it is not clear what real difference this pact will make, especially as it is not legally binding and clearly states that the goals it includes are only suggestions for the companies. One could argue that these companies would have already implemented their previous commitments if they actually cared about the environment… Consumer awareness of the importance of sustainable fashion has increased massively since the signing of the other deals, so these companies might just be trying to persuade consumers that they are environmentally friendly by signing the Fashion Pact, rather than actually planning on implementing it.  

In defence of the G7 Fashion pact, it is one of the only fashion industry agreements that focuses on the promotion of biodiversity. However, disappointedly the commitments in this section are vaguely worded and have no numerical targets or time limits for actions to be taken. The pact nevertheless has slightly more focus on collaboration between companies than in previous agreements, which could potentially help inspire more action. However, some sections of the agreement, especially those relating to collaboration, are merely vague guidelines, and do not add much value on top of collaboration suggestions in other agreements.

Overall, the Fashion Pact is underwhelming and unlikely to create change. Even in the best case scenario, if 20% of the industry actually implemented its suggestions, the other 80% may not do anything.This is not enough to stop climate change. What is more likely to actually make a difference is consumers voting with their wallets to force companies to change, and our governments creating laws targeting the pollution created by fashion companies. Without these actions, the Fashion Pact’s commitments are unlikely to be upheld.

 

 

Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

 

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Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

The G7 Fashion Pact to reduce environmental damage has been signed by many of the world’s biggest brands – but will it actually solve the problem?

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

As the EU signs a trade agreement in principle with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, environmental advocates in Europe, especially in the agricultural sectors, oppose the deal.

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

“It’s not about a small amount of people being perfect, it’s about a huge amount of people making incremental changes.” The Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass in TCD was a roaring success.

Fracked gas and climate action: an activist point of view

The last few weeks have seen an explosion in activity on the Irish climate activist movement. STAND News sat down with Maeve O’Gorman, an activist from Not Here Not Anywhere (NHNA) to get her take on the current challenges activists are fighting for.

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

Last June, after 20 years of negotiations, the EU signed a trade agreement in principle with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, the fifth-largest economy in the world. That deal would open a large market to Mercosur’s not suspended member states – Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay – multiplying the current trade value of €88 billion. 

Up to 90 percent of tariffs on goods would be eliminated on both sides. Europe would save on goods such as wine, spirits, chocolate, biscuits, tinned peaches, and olives, and import a quota of 99 tonnes of beef per year, as well as 180’000 tonnes of sugar and 100’000 tonnes of poultry. The EU hopes the deal would expand its access to South American telecommunications, transport, and financial services, and expects it to make the region more attractive to American, Japanese, and South Korean markets. 

Protestors of the deal from the farming sector worry that South American beef imports would hurt local European farms. One concern is described by The Irish Times as Brazil’s reputation for “meat fraud”, since the country does not follow the same ethical and food safety standards imposed under EU regulations.

While the EU claims that both parties would have the power to put regulations on imports should any harm come to local markets, it is unclear how long these measures can be put in place and exactly each sector would be protected.

Despite intentions to expand the high-carbon beef industry, the deal explicitly references the Paris Climate Agreement with commitments to fight climate change and to transition to a “sustainable, low carbon economy”. But to meet this goal, rigorous enforcement of regulations on the quotas would need to be put in place whether or not harm does come to local markets.

As for the deal’s sure environmental degradation, Mercosur members would have to further eat into their cattle ranching land. In Brazil, climate change denier and deforestation enthusiast President Jair Bolsonaro naturally contradicts environmental protection and sustainable development efforts. He has threatened to tear down the Amazon rainforest to make room for more beef farms, and is widely condemned by international media for intentionally starting this year’s Amazonian wildfires with his policies. 

Since 1978 over 780’000 square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest has been destroyed across Brazil, Peru, Columbia, Bolivia, Venezuela, Suriname, Guyane, and French Guiana for cattle ranching, soy farms, mineral excavations, palm oil extractions, urban planning and illegal logging projects. According to satellite data, Brazil has by far lost the most tree cover in comparison to other countries which share the Amazon. 

To come into effect, the draft Mercosur Agreement must be ratified by the European Council and the European Parliament, as well as by the Mercosur Parliament. This may be a very long process.

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said his government will block the deal, unless Brazil takes steps to protect the Amazonian rainforest. Varadkar previously said his government would assess the financial impact of the deal, but supported the deal’s bid for billions in savings on trade duties for Irish companies. 

The opposition party Sinn Fein led political support to reject the deal. A majority in the Dail voted against it and called for the Irish government to form alliances with other EU members to do the same. However, the deal must pass under the EU Trade Council for any opposition to be considered in law.

In Austria, the draft deal was rejected by the national Parliament EU’s subcommittee. Together with Ireland, they may use their veto in two years’ time to block the EU-Mercosur deal.

 

 

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

 

 

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Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

The G7 Fashion Pact to reduce environmental damage has been signed by many of the world’s biggest brands – but will it actually solve the problem?

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

As the EU signs a trade agreement in principle with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, environmental advocates in Europe, especially in the agricultural sectors, oppose the deal.

Brexit: The European Union’s perspective

Confused about what Brexit actually means and how it will impact you? This month, STAND’s Brexit Series will help you! With this second article you’ll get an insight of the European Union’s perspective on Brexit.

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

“It’s not about a small amount of people being perfect, it’s about a huge amount of people making incremental changes.” The Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass in TCD was a roaring success.

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

This week, Trinity students gathered in a full auditorium to hear from slow fashion influencers about how they can make their wardrobe more sustainable. Alba Mullen, a final year Politics and Economics student in Trinity College Dublin, who also runs her own sustainable fashion page called Traashion, moderated a panel of some of Ireland’s most prominent sustainable clothing activists in the Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass. This event was held on Tuesday night and run by STAND and Suas Trinity as part of the annual STAND Student Festival.

The lecture theatre was packed as Geraldine Carton from Sustainable Fashion Dublin, DJ and influencer Tara Stewart, Genevieve Sann from Transparent Magazine and Dylan (Dread X) Chapman from ILL Hippie lined the stage.

The opening discussion focused on how each panel member first got into the area of sustainable fashion. Carton, the cofounder of Sustainable Fashion Dublin, was inspired to leave her job with a women’s magazine after questioning all aspects of the clothing production process. She co-created Sustainable Fashion Dublin as an initiative to promote the “positive, guilt-free aspect of sustainable fashion.”

For Stewart, while working unaware as an influencer for a fast-fashion clothing brand, she was put in contact with Sustainable Fashion Dublin and promptly ended her contract on moral grounds. “I love upcycling and making clothes that I like, making them work for me.”

Chapman began to look at men’s clothes differently when he was around sixteen years of age – the complete lack of catering for men’s fashion and ability to express themselves, especially in Ireland, encouraged him to get involved in slow fashion.

As for Sann, two years ago the Netflix documentary The True Cost (a documentary thrown around a lot throughout the evening) opened her eyes to the problem and inspired her to create her magazine, Transparent.

Many tips were given by the panellists throughout the course of the evening:

  1. Look at your own wardrobe and look at what you have, as we go through four times more clothes than our parents, and keep them for only half as long
  2. Swap clothes with your friends as they’ll more than likely have similar interests and styles
  3. Use apps like Pinterest for information on reworking something you have already or tailoring something you’ve found
  4. Use resources like Depop to buy used clothes but be careful that they are authentic and not just bulk-bought
  5. Buy local so you know exactly where your clothes are coming from and how they are made
  6. Attend Swapshops, like the one run by Sustainable Fashion Dublin
  7. Go to charity shops to both support the charities and keep it sustainable

An extra piece of advice is not to give to clothing banks. In fact, they give a lump sum of only three per cent to the represented charity of the huge figure they receive from textile recycling. Instead, Carlton recommends to donate directly to the charity shop, labelling bags as “sellable” and “recyclable”. This way, shops can gain seventy per cent of the figure from textile recycling.

Carlton also explained greenwashing. “When a brand promoting sustainability overemphasises how ‘good’ it is, it’s usually hiding its ‘worse’ things… 90% of the other clothes are being made in horrendous conditions.” For example, she revealed that the Aral Sea has actually decreased to one tenth of its size due to its water being taken to grow cotton plantations.

Stewart recommended “treating getting out of fast fashion as breaking a habit” – don’t shop while bored, unfollow certain influencers and within a few months even your ads on social media will change. Chapman emphasised the amount of resources available for self-education on the topic – “open your mind and engage with each other.” If retail therapy is your downfall, then find something else to replace it with.

As for the most important takeaway for each panellist, Stewart maintained that you should not beat yourself (or your friends!) up about sustainable fashion. Instead, “really see it in a more positive light”. Carlton mentioned elongating the lifespan of your own clothes and emphasised that sustainable fashion is not supposed to be regimental or boring. “It’s a way to express yourself, have fun and decrease your carbon footprint!” Chapman, the only male on the panel, said to be logical with your clothes – “do you really need to get that same shirt in a different colour?” Sann said to “just try your best, be critically minded, and don’t fall into greenwashing traps!”

Following a quick and easy DIY solution to one-use cotton pads by cutting up and sewing old towels and t-shirts, Carlton really summed up the whole atmosphere of the evening. “It’s not about a small amount of people being perfect, it’s about a huge amount of people making incremental changes.” No shaming or passive aggression was directed towards those who “shop fast” – in fact, many of the panellists themselves are only very recent converts to the world of fast fashion – just a sense of understanding. There was an emphasis on “doing your part” and just being positive about fashion overall.

 

 

Photo of the Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass by Shannon Takahashi, 

 

 

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Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

The G7 Fashion Pact to reduce environmental damage has been signed by many of the world’s biggest brands – but will it actually solve the problem?

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

As the EU signs a trade agreement in principle with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, environmental advocates in Europe, especially in the agricultural sectors, oppose the deal.

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

“It’s not about a small amount of people being perfect, it’s about a huge amount of people making incremental changes.” The Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass in TCD was a roaring success.

Fracked gas and climate action: an activist point of view

The last few weeks have seen an explosion in activity on the Irish climate activist movement. STAND News sat down with Maeve O’Gorman, an activist from Not Here Not Anywhere (NHNA) to get her take on the current challenges activists are fighting for.

Fracked gas and climate action: an activist point of view

Fracked gas and climate action: an activist point of view

The last few weeks have seen an explosion in activity on the Irish climate activist movement. In the wake of the recent UN Climate Action Summit which took place in New York on September 23rd, the Irish government has faced ever increasing scrutiny from environmental activist groups and climate conscious citizens alike. STAND news sat down with Maeve O’Gorman, an activist from Not Here Not Anywhere (NHNA) to get her take on the current challenges activists are fighting for. 

Leo Varadkar’s UN Climate Summit address briefly went into the Irish government’s climate policy plans. The plans, the Taoiseach said, included halting fossil fuel exploration in the Irish seas while continuing to explore for natural gas as a transition fuel. He also said the country would ring-fence carbon tax to invest in renewable energy and to look after those who might be affected through unemployment by a developing green economy. 

However, the promises made by Leo were not deemed good enough by a majority of climate activists. 

“By saying ‘oh we’re not going to explore for oil in Ireland’, this is amazing, but then you peel back half a layer on that and it’s complete greenwashing! The ban on fracking is only effective for 80% of the Irish seas. All the existing licences will remain.’’ By allowing corporations to hold onto their licenses, the 20% of the Irish seas not included in the ban will continue to be exploited for oil, Maeve explained.

‘’The government needs to stop fossil fuel exploration and tell other countries to stop. We are creating a demand for fracking and fossil fuel exploration but we just don’t have time for that!”

The thorn in the sides of Not Here Not Anywhere is that while Leo Varadkar says that oil exploration won’t be happening in Ireland, they continue to outsource oil and gas, and even intend to import it from the U.S via a Liquified Natural Gas Terminal, planned to be constructed on the West coast of Ireland. Shannon LNG, as it is known, will be an import terminal for fracked gas from the US. The gas will be shipped from the US, stored here, and will then be redistributed to various countries in the EU.

The project has been a major cause of contention in the Dail recently as the development faced opposition from both citizens and TDs. Why is it such an issue? 

‘’There are environmental and health impacts from fracking. One of the main reasons we oppose it is that it is seen as a clean transition fuel that is less carbon intense. But actually when you frack for gas, it releases methane. Methane is at least 85 times more efficient at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2 released from burning coal. It is a dirty fossil fuel. The government banned fracking in Ireland but then go and import it and sell it as clean ‘’freedom fuel’’, said Maeve.

“All these wild claims being put out there that it is a clean energy are untrue. It is a fossil fuel. We know that 80% of fossil fuels needs to be kept in the ground in order to make sure we have any hope of stopping the climate warming to +1.5 degrees which will have catastrophic effects! Yet we are promoting exploration and use of fossil fuels abroad, and trying to hide it. What NHNA says is that  we need to be against fracking wherever it is happening in the world, not just in Ireland.”

Last week in the Dail, an emergency meeting was called to discuss the issue of the Shannon LNG project after uproar from citizens and environmental groups over the steamrolling of the development plan. The government had no plans on having a public debate on the issue, which was seen as completely undemocratic by several activist groups. The environmental groups made their concerns known and Richard Bruton, the current Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment was forced to listen to statements from TDs opposing the plan. Only time will tell whether the concerns are taken seriously. 

 

For more information, visit Stop Shannon LNG.

 

 

Photo by @NHNAireland on Twitter

 

 

Watch out Maeve O’Gorman interview down below!

Extinction Rebellion begins week of civil disobedience

Extinction Rebellion begins week of civil disobedience

Monday 7th of October saw environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion begin Rebellion Week 2 – a series of blockades and demonstrations in cities around the world, including in Dublin. The group’s aims are to draw attention to the climate and ecological emergencies the planet is facing, and to spur governments into action to tackle the crisis. Founded in 2018, the movement gained notoriety in April when they shut down key bridges and junctions in London for over a week; an action which saw over one thousand people arrested. The Irish branch of XR has three demands of the government: to tell the truth about the extent of the issue facing us, to act like it’s an emergency and to ensure a just transition to zero-carbon economy. Their hope is to disrupt “business as usual” to force the government to meet their demands. 

The first day of Rebellion Week saw a number of actions take place in Dublin. A black coffin adorned with pictures of the Earth was carried from Heuston Station to government buildings on Kildare Street, with the procession blocking traffic as they went. They brought with them a letter to be delivered to government ministers, one signed by over 200 Irish academics calling for greater action on climate change and environmental issues more generally. A pink sailboat was marched up Kildare Street and is now parked at Merrion Square, where activists have set up their blockade and base for the week. Around 30 tents have been pitched in the Square, with a music stage, food stalls, information stand, and kids’ tent being set up in the area as the group’s base. In the evening, protestors blocked traffic at Connolly Station in rush hour and proceeding to march down through the IFSC, urging employees of the companies there to join them at Merrion Square. 

While their methods have made them unpopular in certain circles, the group claims that the traditional methods of protesting, signing petitions and lobbying TDs hasn’t worked in the past and more drastic action is needed to tackle the various problems we face. They invite everyone to take part in the week’s events and stress that they are a non-violent, family-friendly movement which is inclusive of all people. The week will finish with a multi-faith vigil on Sunday to remember the victims of climate change. 

Photo taken by Matthew Mollahan during Dublin protest.

 

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Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

The G7 Fashion Pact to reduce environmental damage has been signed by many of the world’s biggest brands – but will it actually solve the problem?

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

As the EU signs a trade agreement in principle with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, environmental advocates in Europe, especially in the agricultural sectors, oppose the deal.

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

“It’s not about a small amount of people being perfect, it’s about a huge amount of people making incremental changes.” The Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass in TCD was a roaring success.

Fracked gas and climate action: an activist point of view

The last few weeks have seen an explosion in activity on the Irish climate activist movement. STAND News sat down with Maeve O’Gorman, an activist from Not Here Not Anywhere (NHNA) to get her take on the current challenges activists are fighting for.

Extinction Rebellion begins week of civil disobedience

Monday 7th of October saw environmental activist group Extinction Rebellion begin Rebellion Week 2 – a series of blockades and demonstrations in cities around the world, including in Dublin, to spur governments into action to tackle the climate crisis.

Climate change: why policies play a key role

The effects of climate change are not limited to the natural world. Human beings are impacted by the natural changes in their environment and climate. Policies have a key-role to play as climate change also causes negative economic impacts to increase.

Climate change: why policies play a key role

Climate change: why policies play a key role

The effects of climate change are not limited to the natural world. While humans are impacted by the natural changes in their environment and climate, climate change causes negative economic impacts to increase. The effects of escalating temperatures, wildfires, deforestation, drought, and rising sea levels will continue to creep into all sectors of the economy. These events force communities to relocate, but also to lose their livelihoods and their homes, creating economic distress. And it seems that no country will be spared.

According to the World Bank, worker productivity declines by two percent for every degrees celsius above room temperature. A report by the International Labour Organization found that by 2030 a decrease in productivity will reach 2.2 percent of global working hours because of heat stress.

High temperatures put workers at risk of dehydration, stress, and heat stroke – which is a major concern for those who work in direct sunlight such as construction workers and farmers. It is estimated that by 2028 (just nine years away) heatwaves and other effects of climate change will cost the USA $360 billion per year in health costs.

The multiple and large-scale impacts of climate change lead many to think that individual actions alone won’t solve the problem entirely. Businesses, if not compelled by the law to change their practices, are unlikely to take meaningful action. So to truly curb global warming and its effects, it is clear that governments need to step up, and make changes at a higher level. 

The UN Climate Report 2018 outlines a number of changes governments can make. The report advises that we transition out of dirty sources of energy (such as fossil fuels) and instead opt for low-emission energy produced by renewable sources. It also suggests that we alter our diets to lower our dependence on land and water-intensive agricultural practices (such as beef and soy consumption), and encourages the use of green roofs on buildings. However, these solutions remain financially out of reach for many individuals without the help of government support.

Some positive initiatives have been taken by governments hand in hand with citizens. This was the case recently in Ethiopia, when volunteers from the Green Legacy Initiative planted a record of 50 million trees in just 12 hours. The Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he envisions a total of four billion trees to be planted in an effort to tackle deforestation in the country, mainly caused by a growing population and unsustainable farming.

In addition to policy changes, we need to see more initiatives like this happen.

 

 

Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

 

 

Browse more stories below or sign up to our newsletter to receive our top news straight to your inbox!

Will the G7 Fashion Pact change fashion for the better?

The G7 Fashion Pact to reduce environmental damage has been signed by many of the world’s biggest brands – but will it actually solve the problem?

Why the EU-Mercosur worries environmentalists

As the EU signs a trade agreement in principle with the South American trade bloc Mercosur, environmental advocates in Europe, especially in the agricultural sectors, oppose the deal.

Brexit: The European Union’s perspective

Confused about what Brexit actually means and how it will impact you? This month, STAND’s Brexit Series will help you! With this second article you’ll get an insight of the European Union’s perspective on Brexit.

How Looking Good Can Help the Environment – Sustainable Fashion from the Ones in the Know

“It’s not about a small amount of people being perfect, it’s about a huge amount of people making incremental changes.” The Slow Fashion Panel Discussion and Upcycling Masterclass in TCD was a roaring success.