As the world looks beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, a consensus is emerging: certain measures to curb the growth of greenhouse-gas emissions will be central to global economic recovery. Awareness is also growing around the urgent need to slow the destruction of the natural world, and it is becoming clear that the two environmental crises-a changing climate and nature loss-are inextricably linked and compounding.
In the news
It’s clear that 2021 has to be the year that fashion accelerates its action on the climate crisis. Despite sustainability being much-discussed in recent years, a 2020 report by the Global Fashion Agenda and management consultants McKinsey found that the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions – which already make up as much as 10 per cent of total global emissions – are actually on course to rise by about a third, to a shocking 2.7bn tonnes a year, by 2030.
An annual sweep of corporate websites has found that four in ten are providing information on environmental criteria that could be considered misleading and potentially breaking consumer laws. The International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network (ICPEN) hosts annual website “sweeps”, where brands are examined to remove potentially fraudulent, deceptive or unfair online conduct.
British glaciologist Joseph Cook has found a ‘frozen rainforest’ of microscopic life on the Greenland ice sheet. These tiny microbes are causing the ice to melt faster than scientists have predicted, contributing to sea level rise.
Traditional customer groups for luxury brands – baby boomers and Gen Xers – focus less on sustainability. But younger generations are dramatically more concerned with the external side effects of what they consume. Gen Zers perceive themselves as brands, and they associate themselves with brands that are extensions of themselves.
For the second year running, climate-related risks have topped the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ranking of long-term risks by likelihood and severity, alongside the new risks posed by Covid-19. The WEF publishes a ranking of the top 10 risks to humanity in the long-term in terms of how likely they are, and how severe the direct and knock-on impacts would be, every year ahead of its summit in Davos.