A new research report has found sustainability progress in the fashion industry has slowed by a third in the past year.
The Pulse of The Fashion Industry report, created by Global fashion Agenda, Boston Consulting Group and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, reveals that the latest Pulse Score rose four points to 42 (out of 100), compared with an increase of six points in 2018.
In contrast, the amount of clothing being purchased is expected to rise by 63%, from 62 million tons today to 102 million tons in 2030, meaning that the gap between sustainability progress and industry output will continue to widen if the issue is not addressed.
The result is being linked to the number of fashion companies who have begun to implement sustainable strategies and set goals, but haven’t progressed to scaling ideas throughout the core of their business.
The Pulse Score was created in 2017 as a measure of advancement made in the space of environmental and social sustainability in fashion. It analyses measureable developments in sustainability management, target setting and implementation of sustainability initiatives as collected by Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index, a specially commissioned survey and expert interviews.
The report also found that consumer awareness of environmental and social sustainability is gaining with more than a third of surveyed consumers reported they have switched from their preferred brand to another for reasons related to responsible practices. Consumers from America, the UK, France, China and Brazil took part in the survey where 75% said that sustainability is extremely or very important.
The creators of the report have suggested that change could be accelerated by fashion brand’s developing disruptive technologies that lead to new ways of doing business. They also emphasized the need for government intervention and for investors to encourage their investees to improve their practices.
Morten Lehmann, chief sustainability officer at Global Fashion Agenda, commented: “These latest findings emphasize the dire need for the whole industry to join the race and accelerate change now. Scaling existing solutions will depend on leadership from brands. However, some transformational changes will take cooperation among policy makers and stakeholders across the entire value chain.”