Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Fashion industry launches SME sustainability drive

March 2012

A programme to drive sustainability co-operation and innovation in the fashion industry has been set up by the UN Global Compact.

In the Compact’s first sector-specific project, it will collaborate with the industry body Nordic Initiative Clean & Ethical (Nice) to establish a platform in the summer for small and medium-sized fashion companies that usually lack the time to develop sustainability policies independently.

This will enable them to share information and resources internationally and to develop more systematic thinking around the issue.

The code of conduct is based on Compact principles, though it has added requirements specific to fashion on matters such as chemical use, water, animal rights and diamonds.

Signatories will have to respect the usual commitments of an annual communication on progress and public disclosure to stakeholders.

Parts of the industry have long been seen as laggards in the corporate responsibility world and luxury brands have been particularly slow to embrace CSR.

Compact executive director Georg Kell said: “As an industry facing serious and widely publicised social and environmental challenges, the fashion and textile industry is uniquely positioned to launch a sectoral initiative under the umbrella of the UN Global Compact.

“We are very excited about this effort and look forward to collaborating with Nice and its partners.”

Nice added: “Fashion has historically had the capacity to affect the society as a whole and, therefore, fashion is a great place to start building a new creative future aligned with the ecosystem we are all a part of.”

United Nations | Global | SMEs (Small and medium-sized companies)

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