The growth of social media in recent years has meant clothing brands are increasingly being held accountable for their actions on human rights and toward the environment, something that will grow in prevalence as the world looks to step up green actions under the United Nations (UN) 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.
Hannah Abdulla, Apparel Correspondent at GlobalData, comments: “Companies such as Twitter and Facebook are allowing more people to speak out; people that might not necessarily have had the platform to do so before and this means the actions of brands toward the people in their value chains and the environment can be exposed at the drop of a hat.
“Social media means brands can no longer hide behind the excuse that they are too far removed from failings in their supply chains, or that they were not aware of them – consumers are no longer buying that as an acceptable excuse. Brands need to do better and deliver on promises of protecting those most vulnerable in their supply chains.”
In 2015, the UN adopted a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), an ambitious roadmap for improving the lives of people around the world. Broadly speaking, they comprise 169 targets designed to advance 17 overarching goals, which include poverty eradication, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and decent work.
The environmental and social implications of fashion production and disposal make it of high relevance to integrate the targets of the SDGs into this industry, to make it fully sustainable and positive for people and the ecosystem by tackling the environmental and social issues related to clothing production and consumption.
“The fashion industry’s footprint on the world is no secret and the race is on for it to slow, if not reverse its impact. Social media is driving a new level of transparency; while it is a great tool for brands to publicise their efforts around sustainability, equally, it can prove detrimental for brands that are failing their supply chains.
“Now more than ever, brands should be taking the necessary steps to trace every part of their supply chains to ensure they truly are acting responsibly at every level, and, more than anything, to secure long-term success,” Abdulla adds.