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UNECE Urges Fashion Industry to Commit to Sustainability: The Call for Transparency, Traceability, and Global Standards

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The UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) is urging the fashion industry to prioritize sustainability, given the industry's significant environmental impact, including doubling clothing production in the past 15 years and contributing 4% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions in 2018. During the Venice Sustainable Fashion Forum 2023, UNECE Executive Secretary Tatiana Molcean emphasized the critical role of fashion industry leaders in reducing emissions and integrating Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their operations. Despite consumer willingness to pay more for environmentally friendly products, the sector lacks transparency.

UNECE has developed "The Sustainability Pledge," a UN-brokered toolbox to enhance transparency and traceability in the fashion industry. This initiative encourages companies to publicly commit to transparency and traceability, based on results from engaging with approximately 100 companies across 23 countries. The call is for industry-wide adoption of concrete actions to improve traceability and transparency. The pledge includes harmonized standards and criteria, crucial for a global understanding of sustainability and to build trust in claims.

The Sustainability Pledge also explores innovative solutions, such as blockchain and DNA markers, to track and trace fashion products throughout the value chain. These technologies aim to bridge the gap between upstream and downstream components, providing customers with the information they seek to make sustainable choices. Acknowledging the importance of new legislation on sustainability, UNECE emphasizes the need for such measures to consider the capacities of small and medium-sized enterprises, particularly in the developing world, which constitute the majority of the fashion sector.


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