FASHION AND SUSTAINABILITY? This is what UN's Agenda is all about. By Ann Gior, PAUSE Guest Editor

by PAUSE Team on March 16, 2020

March is Women's History Month and our best way to celebrate is by taking action.

PAUSE Fashion Hub is proud to join forces with the initiative between the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP), the Conscious Fashion Campaign and the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt, which aims to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals by engaging leading fashion events, including tradeshows, and textile industry.

We had the privilege of attending the Opening Press Conference at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, with other fellow innovators and over 100 guests from the press, business, politics and associations. Here’s all you need to know about this new initiative.

Robert Skinner, Detlef Braun, Lucie Brigham, Kerry Bannigan and Jürgen Schulz. Photos Courtesy of Rich Dodge for Messe Frankfurt.


With only ten years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), representatives

from the UNOP, Messe Frankfurt, and the Conscious Fashion Campaign gathered at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to announce their official partnership.

According to this initiative, Messe Frankfurt —the global market leader in trade fairs for the textile industry— will gradually implement the United Nations’ SDGs, a 17-goal outline to increase ethical manufacturing across the globe first introduced in 2015.


The 17 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)


The Executive Director of UNOP, Robert Skinner —who moderated the event— highlighted that the international fashion and textile industry have the potential to advance the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development. With its Texpertise Network, Messe Frankfurt supports the SDGs within the framework of the cooperation with the Conscious Fashion Campaign and UNOP. The goals will be adopted at the more than 50 textile events organised by Messe Frankfurt at venues around the globe, in full force by 2022.


Kerry Bannigan, Detlef Braun, Jürgen Schulz and Robert Skinner. Photos Courtesy of Rich Dodge for Messe Frankfurt.


This year alone, some 3,000 exhibitors and 65,000 visitors are projected to attend Heimtextil, the world’s largest textile trade fair, which Messe Frankfurt hosts on its own fairgrounds. Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board at Messe Frankfurt stated: “Along with artificial intelligence and digitalization, sustainability is a topic currently exerting a significant influence on the global textile industry”.

 “Trade fairs have long been a place of communication, innovation, and the exchange of ideas”. Their prevalence is projected to continue, he added, citing a study involving Millennials and Generation Z. When surveyed, two out of three expressed a desire for increased face-to-face commerce as opposed to e-commerce. This holds especially true for the textile industry, where every sale hinges on a product's visual and tactile qualities.


Kerry Bannigan, founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign. Photos Courtesy of Rich Dodge for Messe Frankfurt.


The potential for change when you engage the fashion industry is exponential explained Kerry Bannigan —a leading voice in the movement for global sustainable development and the founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign (CFC). It’s a necessity to engage with innovators and decision-makers to enable the SDG’s to scale and create concrete strategies for action.

In essence, the CFC aims to help businesses land and integrate the SGD’s into their business models to develop meaningful multi-stakeholder partnerships, which will secure a future where no one is left behind.

“Through our global event partners, the CFC will integrate education, advocacy and ultimately engagement while also seeking to implement sustainable and circular event logistics and operations. If we work together to shape the future of fashion, we will create dynamic impact, lasting change and deliver on our core mission to make the SDG’s a reality”, she said in a statement.


Our Guest Editor Ann Gior on behalf of PAUSE Fashion Hub at the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. Photos Courtesy of Rich Dodge for Messe Frankfurt.

This is not the UN's first campaign related to the fashion sector. Earlier this year, UNOP and seven other organizations formed the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, added Lucie Brigham, Chief of Office for the UNOP. The alliance's platform promotes its sustainability initiatives, from the scope of its greenhouse gas emissions (8-10 per cent of the worldwide total) and industrial wastewater pollution (20 per cent). It also employs some 75 million people globally, most of them women.


Why this matters:

Since its inception in 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — which set out a 15- year plan to achieve the 17 Goals —has provided a blueprint for shared prosperity in a sustainable world.

Today, significant progress is being made in many places, but, overall, action 2020 needs to usher in a decade of ambitious action to tackle growing poverty, inequality, empower women and girls, and address the climate emergency.

The year 2030 is just over a decade away, and this effort could not be more urgent. The SDGs are a roadmap to building a better world for our planet by 2030 and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere. #ForPeopleForPlanet


How to Get Involved:

As of 2020, the SDGs will be integrated into the Green Directory, an index of sustainably producing companies. To be included, exhibitors are evaluated on the basis of three categories: social responsibility, which calls for social initiatives and living wages for workers; ecological responsibility, which prioritizes, for example, organic and recycled materials; and transparency and openness regarding the manufacturer’s supply chain, from the original source of its raw materials through distribution.

For more information and to see how you can get involved to take action, visit the official press release:

Detlef Braun, Member of the Executive Board at Messe Frankfurt. Photos Courtesy of Rich Dodge for Messe Frankfurt.


About the UNOP:

The United Nations Office for Partnerships serves as a global gateway for catalyzing and building multi-stakeholder partnerships to advance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNOP provides a platform for effective partner engagement and works to leverage the assets and expertise of a broad range of partners in furtherance of the SDGs. As a member of the UN Fashion Alliance and the advisor to the Conscious Fashion Campaign, UNOP facilitates awareness, advocacy and engagement to achieve the SDGs within the fashion and textile industry.

About the CFC:

The Conscious Fashion Campaign, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Partnerships, seeks to inspire worldwide prominent fashion industry tradeshows, fashion weeks, conferences and speaker series to implement responsible marketing, operations and logistics that are mindful of social, economic and environmental impact. To achieve the 2030 agenda the Conscious Fashion Campaign, founded by Kerry Bannigan, urges industry event leaders to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into their business models, incorporate circular production solutions, highlight key innovations and facilitate knowledge share. The Conscious Fashion Campaign commits to actively support the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development by bridging the gap between the United Nations and global major fashion events to enable the Sustainable Development Goals to scale and create multi-stakeholder partnerships with concrete strategies for action.


About Texpertise Network:

With a unique portfolio currently embracing 58 international textile trade fairs, Messe Frankfurt is the global market leader in trade fairs for the textile industry. In 2018, some 22,000 exhibitors and 520,000 visitors took part in the events around the globe. The trade fair portfolio spans the entire textile industry value chain. As a central communication platform, the Texpertise Network provides information on the world-renowned trade fair brand and the first-class services offered by Messe Frankfurt.




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