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Sustainable fashion is on the rise in Asia, with global sustainability initiative Fashion For Good revealing a new investment fund at the 2019 Hong Kong Fashion Summit to encourage the development of lower impact fashion throughout the industry’s supply chain. This is a step forward for Asia, proving that sustainable innovation is not just taking off in Europe or North America, but right here at our doorstep too.
Major players in the global fashion network and NGOs came together for the 2-day Hong Kong Fashion Summit this year to discuss the environmental impact of the industry. With fast fashion still popular at large, it is now more important than ever to come up with green solutions and disrupt the prevailing “business-as-usual” approach in the industry. The fast fashion industry remains one of the world’s largest global polluters, producing 92 million tonnes of waste every year, according to estimates reported at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. The industry is also accountable for 20% of global water waste and generates 10% of greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, as highlighted by a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) report.
Amsterdam-based organisation Fashion For Good in collaboration with Hong Kong’s The Mills Fabrica, impact investment firm FOUNT and the C&A Foundation announced the launch of the “Good Fashion Fund” at the summit. With a target size of US$60 million, the fund seeks to initiate change at the structural level across the apparel and footwear supply chain through investing in sustainable innovations in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam. The majority of the money will go to small and medium sized manufacturers who are committed to adopting environmentally friendly practices, such as using recyclable materials, operating using clean energy and fair job creation.
Commenting on the launch, investment manager at Fashion For Good Rogier van Mazijk told Euronews Living that the fund hopes to make a long-term impact on the manufacturer level, which will “ripple through the fashion value chain.”
There has been more awareness in recent years about the environmental cost of the fashion industry in Asia, which has led to some positive steps forward. Major retail brands, for instance, have introduced green campaigns in an attempt to retain shoppers in an increasingly environmentally conscious and purpose-driven market. In the past few months, we have seen online fashion platform NET-A-PORTER begin their excursion into conscious fashion, and fast fashion giant Zara making a series of sustainability pledges. Some consumers are also taking active steps to lower their environmental footprint when it comes to fashion, with rental clothing and second-hand stores becoming increasingly popular in China and Asia more broadly.
Speaking to Euronews Living, the founder of Fashion Revolution Orsola de Castro argues that the launch of the new investment fund to make the entire Asian fashion supply chain more sustainable reflects a “massive improvement” with the power to drive low impact innovation globally in the future.
Lead image courtesy of Fashion For Good.