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Fashion and textiles industry keen to go green despite COVID-19 pandemic

15 October 2020: Sustainability is business critical, say fashion, retail and textile leaders in a recent survey undertaken by the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol and the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The research report reveals the extent of the global fashion industry’s commitment to sustainability, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In the survey, sustainability ranked as the second most important strategic objective for businesses in the sector.

The survey involved 150 leading executives from top fashion, retail and textile business across Europe and the US, and interviews with leading brands like Puma, H&M and Adidas. The research comes at a time when the industry finds itself at a crossroads: whether to continue to invest in sustainability, or row back in light of the pandemic.

The majority of fashion, retail and textile leaders surveyed (60%), named implementing sustainability measures as a top two strategic objective for their business, second only to improving customers’ experience (ranked first by 64%). This contrasts starkly with the fewer than one in six (15%) that listed ‘rewarding shareholders’ as a top objective.

Leaders report they’re introducing sustainability measures throughout the supply chain, from sourcing sustainably produced raw materials (65%), introducing a circular economy approach to their business and cutting greenhouse gasses (51% apiece) and investing in new technologies like 3D printing and blockchain (41%). Overall, the majority (70%) were optimistic that sustainable, fast and affordable fashion is achievable. Key finding is that fashion, retail and textile business clearly cannot drive change in isolation: collaboration is needed.

The U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol will set a standard for more sustainably grown cotton. It brings quantifiable and verifiable goals and measurement to the issue of responsibly-grown cotton production and drives continuous improvement in key sustainability metrics. Brands and retailers will gain access to U.S. cotton with sustainability credentials proven via Field to Market, measured via the Fieldprint Calculator and verified with Control Union Certifications.

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