‘Put your money where your mouth is’: Fashion brands must be held to account on climate crisis, say experts

·2-min read
L-R clockwise: Roberta Annan, Tamara Cincik, Louise Boyle and George Harding-Rolls (The Independent)
L-R clockwise: Roberta Annan, Tamara Cincik, Louise Boyle and George Harding-Rolls (The Independent)

Experts united on the message that big fashion brands must be held to account on the climate crisis at a panel event run by The Independent on Thursday.

Senior climate correspondent Louise Boyle hosted a panel of global experts including Roberta Annan, founder of Annan Capital Partners, and the Impact Fund For African Creatives, Tamara Cincik, CEO of Fashion Roundtable and George Harding-Rolls, campaign manager at the Changing Markets Foundation.

The hour-long discussion, which can be watched back in the video below, covered a range of topics from how big the issue of fast fashion is and who are the culprits, to how consumers can take action against policies such as greenwashing.

Roberta spoke about the impact of fast fashion on Ghana - about 50 million pieces are imported into the country on a weekly basis, with roughly 40 per cent end up in landfill. She stressed the environmental impact on the ecosystem and called on big brands to “put your money where your mouth is.”

“We just really need to highlight these things and stop beating around the bush and exchanging dialogues that are not going anywhere,” she said.

George pointed out that pictures the audience were shown of clothing dumped in the Atacama desert in Chile, was unsold and unused.

He said: “It is completely outrageous and we do need to name names.

“We are not holding the brands to account and as long as we walk around the edge of corporate responsibility they can get away without reputational damage.”

Tamara, who has 20 years’ experience in the fashion industry as an editor and brand consultant, spoke about the challenges of extended producer responsibility (EPR) which covers disposal of waste.

She said: “The issue with EPR is it’s really difficult for brands to action without the infrastructure and support.

“Where’s the support? If you have a voice and you are doing good work, it’s very difficult to get funding.”

She noted a significant amount of funding has been stopped because of Brexit.

“Businesses have been left to pick up the pieces.” she added. “Decisions are then being made around survival.”

Watch the full discussion back in the video below.

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