What does the war in Ukraine mean for fashion sustainability goals?

Lucy Shea, CEO of change agency Futerra, urges companies and countries to invest instead in small-scale renewable energy and mass electrification. “We need a diverse network where everyone is their own supplier, decentralized by powerful people who collude to lead the war and exacerbate climate change,” she says.

“In light of the unjustified Russian invasion of Ukraine, it is right to move away from dependence on Russian energy, increase our self-sufficiency and diversify the supply,” says a spokesman for the British government. Vogue business. The UK hopes to boost its renewable and nuclear energy capacity while supporting the oil and gas industry in the North Sea, a move that has received negative backlash from environmentalists.

The European Commission aims to reduce dependence on Russian gas by two thirds by the end of 2022 and become completely independent of all Russian fossil fuels well before 2030. “We cannot find ourselves in this situation where we depend on Russian energy coming in. provided with constraints, ”said Frans Timmermans, European Commission’s Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal this month.

The fashion industry has a role to play in raising public awareness of the climate crisis and its potential solutions, says Krakovska. “Fashion is very powerful in changing the minds of many people,” she explains, adding that war should be a provocation for individuals in fashion to reflect on how much of its production and activities are unnecessary. “Try to put yourself in our shoes. What would you take with you when you flee your homes? What really matters? “

Brands can use their “brainprint” or influence consumer sentiment to change popular behavior, Shea says. “Many creative directors see themselves as artists, and artists have a key role to play in driving progress. As we have seen on the climate, fashion has not yet played such an important role “.

Sustainability beyond renewables

For the fashion industry, as oil and gas prices rise, producing raw materials is likely to become more expensive, says a spokesperson for the Clean Clothes campaign. The risk is that brands push these costs onto suppliers, leaving apparel workers to suffer the consequences.

Brands should ensure decent wages and human rights across all their supply chains, says Futerra’s Shea. “The risk is that we put the same problems in a more climate-resilient world, instead of distributing power and property more evenly,” she explains. “Climate change, inequality and the war in Ukraine all stem from the same corruption in the system and we need a downsizing of power to address it.”

Céline Semaan-Vernon, founder of the non-profit organization Slow Factory, urges brands to reconsider their geopolitical relationships and reflect on how their supply chains connect with the continuing legacy of colonialism, with trade routes mirroring those of slavery and countries of the global South often suffering to meet the demands of the fashion industry of the global North.

War is a wake-up call to the world. “We have a very narrow window to put our civilization on a climate resilient path and build a sustainable future. With this war, that window is getting even narrower, ”says Krakovska. “We really need to pay attention to this, because climate change is not going to stop and it won’t wait.”

Comments, questions or feedback? Write to us feedback@voguebusiness.com.

More from this author:

Neiman Marcus is swapping fur for apple skin. Can he convince loyal customers?

The United States considers the possibility of companies disclosing emissions and climate risks

What sustainable fashion can learn from children’s clothing

Leave a Comment