Mindful Fashion launches Sustainability Insights Report 2021
Wednesday 7 December, 2021
New Zealand fashion’s heavyweights have come together to launch Mindful Fashion New Zealand’s first Sustainability Insights Report, a report that demonstrates the collective progress being made in the NZ fashion industry and presents a path forward for positive sustainability action.
“This is an exciting new era of collaboration for our industry. Alone, the improvements we make within our individual businesses can feel small, but this report highlights the work of the industry as a whole and we are seeing some really impactful change.”
- Download the Mindful Fashion Sustainability Insights Report 2021
- Download the Mindful Fashion Sustainability Insights Executive Summary 2021
Challenges and Opportunities
The report highlights where great work is being done and drills down into the challenges and the opportunities for sustainability across the industry in Aotearoa New Zealand. Findings show the industry’s biggest concern is integrity risks in its supply chain. Programme Director Jacinta FitzGerald says this highlights the nature of the challenges businesses in the sector face. With globalised supply chains and challenges around traceability of suppliers, businesses can have limited ability to influence their supply chains.
“Working together to build capability and address these common challenges is the very reason Mindful Fashion exists.” says Jacinta. Mindful Fashion is calling on Government, philanthropic organisations and larger businesses to get involved, to ensure a thriving and sustainable future for New Zealand's fashion industry.
The organisation has created the report on behalf of its members, to show a current view of sustainability in the sector. Programme Director Jacinta FitzGerald says findings presented in the report give an honest look at how Mindful Fashion members are tackling some of the industry’s toughest challenges. It shows there is a lot to celebrate with members working on initiatives both individually and collaboratively, and where more needs to be done to advance this work.
Using four of the industry’s primary impact areas, climate, materials, waste and worker welfare, Mindful Fashion surveyed its members to get a baseline measure of current action. One key takeaway from the study is the industry’s desire to further improve the raw material sustainability. Findings show that 85 percent have a plan in place to drive uptake of low impact materials, however most members want additional support. Jacinta says moving toward low impact materials is an industry imperative and this key area will continue to be a focus of Mindful Fashion’s work.
Waste is also a significant challenge for the industry. On average 15 percent of textiles are wasted before a garment is even made. The study shows that over 75 percent of Mindful Fashion members are diverting some of this (cut and sew) textile waste from landfill through initiatives ranging from upcycling into new garments, to making insulation and furniture stuffing. The report outlines how much more needs to be done to reduce textile waste across all stages of the supply chain and the immense opportunities there are for collective action.
While many members are working to reduce their carbon emissions through actions related to waste reduction, fibre and material choice, and low emissions freight, the study shows a strong desire from the industry to address its climate impact more formally. Programme Director Jacinta FitzGerald says, “We know that globally the fashion industry is a huge contributor to carbon emissions. Our findings show we have an immense opportunity to work together as an industry to take climate action. This is something the entire fashion industry can get behind.”
For the predominantly SMEs that make up the fashion and textile industry in New Zealand, addressing wide ranging sustainability impacts is challenging, requiring time and resources that leave many businesses stretched. Mindful Fashion’s role is to support the industry to understand what it needs to do, and provide tools and resources to take action, working together where possible to share the load and go further faster.
“Mindful Fashion’s mission is to support development of a thriving and full-circle clothing and textiles industry in New Zealand, one that is resilient and creates positive benefits for people and place. The industry has shown it wants to work together to tackle its common challenges, in fact collaboration is key to making meaningful progress on sustainability. We call on all members of the industry to join us on this mission.” said Jacinta.