Nike Signs (No) Arctic Shipping Pledge, Joining H&M Group, Kering, PVH Corp

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The truth is that many large corporations have no problem that the Arctic is melting. They want the new shipping route as a terrible example of corporate greed and self-interest. Still, corporate interests are salivating to ship through the Arctic year-round.

It’s very important that NIKE has teamed up with the Ocean Conservancy to launch the Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge, inviting businesses and industry to join in a commitment against shipping through the Arctic Ocean.

Ships are responsible for more than 18 percent of some air pollutants. It also includes greenhouse gas emissions. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from shipping were equal to 2.2% of the global human-made emissions in 2012 and expects them to rise 50 to 250 percent by 2050 if no action is taken.

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The Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge invites companies to commit to not intentionally send ships through this fragile Arctic ecosystem. Today's signatories include companies Bestseller, Columbia, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Kering, Li & Fung, PVH Corp., and ocean carriers CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company.

"The dangers of trans-Arctic shipping routes outweigh all perceived benefits and we cannot ignore the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions from shipping on our ocean," says Janis Searles Jones, CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "Ocean Conservancy applauds Nike for recognizing the real bottom line here is a shared responsibility for the health of the Arctic—and believes the announcement will spur much-needed action to prevent risky Arctic shipping and hopes additional commitments to reduce emissions from global shipping will emerge." 

For Nike to take a lead in advancing and promoting awareness of the Arctic Shipping Corporate Pledge is an excellent victory. With all the moves to track how products are made and transported, we can check a product on our phones and see if it's been transported through the Arctic. If the environment means enough to us -- this is where consumer power comes into action. But it takes business leaders like Nike to talk to other corporate leaders on some of these topics. At least, it's a collaborative effort of business and activism like this one.

Do Nothing Male Privilege Struggles with Stunning Eco-Rebuke from Greta Thunberg

Greta Thunberg image composite  via HarpersBazaar.com.

Greta Thunberg image composite via HarpersBazaar.com.

The world’s men — especially white men -- says Jennifer Wright, are not accustomed to having a 16-year-old climate activist read them the riot act. This is exactly what happened on Monday, September 23 when climate activist Greta Thunberg, now nominated for a Nobel price, delivered a stinging rebuke to the patriarchy from the stage of the UN.

"This is all wrong. I shouldn’t be standing here," she said, addressing world leaders. "I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to me for hope? How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I’m one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction. And all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!"

Responding to Greta’s occasion physiological responses from her Asperger’s condition, FOX News host Michael Knowles said that the influential activist is mentally ill. In response Thunberg tweeted: “I have Aspergers and that means I’m sometimes a bit different from the norm. And—given the right circumstances—being different is a superpower.”

Not only did Greta respond with self-confidence, but she may be right about superpowers. When Hans Asperger first diagnosed the disease, he referred to kids with Aspergers as “little professors” owing to their enormous vocabularies, seemingly precocious interests, and tendency to lecture people. Abraham Lincoln, Nikola Tesla, and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are all thought to have had Aspergers, says Wright.

Comparing Greta Thunberg’s First Climate Strike with Mass Demonstrations One Year Later My Modern Met

Some Fashion Luxury Brands Are Just Buying Carbon Neutral Status -- Not Gabriela Hearst

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Some Fashion Luxury Brands Are Just Buying Carbon Neutral Status -- Not Gabriela Hearst

Carbon Neutral Buzz

The new luxury fashion buzz word in the sustainability dialogue is “carbon neutral”. Long-time sustainable brand Gabriela Hearst delivered a carbon-neutral Spring 2020 runway show in New York, and Gucci announced to considerable fanfare that “it had achieved 100 percent carbon neutrality in its supply chain and operations.” How? By buying carbon offsets writes Vogue Business. Both Burberry in London and Gucci in Milan hosted carbon neutral Spring 2020 shows, again by buying carbon offsets.

Rachel Cernansky notes that the numbers add up on paper but buying carbon credits isn’t a substitute for actually reducing emissions, and ideally they follow — not lead — actual carbon-reduction improvements in the brand’s design, sales, marketing and manufacturing and manufacturing processes.

Gabriela Hearst Sets New Standards for NYFW

Gabriela Hearst is a leader in the sustainability sector. No one tops Stella McCartney, but Hearst makes a strong showing. Vogue Business shares innovations taken by Hearst that surely aren’t happening at either Gucci or Burberry.

The designer booked only local models (see photo above) for her SS20 New York show, and this new policy will become permanent. Hearst also cut out sample production for her supply chain and — this is a biggie — the designer is shipping product via boat, resulting in a longer 10-week delivery window.

New York’s CFDA website drills down even deeper on Gabriela Hearst’s initiatives for NYFW. She teamed up with her production company Bureau Betak to track every element of the show including insuring that the food used for catering to the models used only local and seasonal foodstuffs and the models’ hair was done without using electricity.

Unable to cut down on the emissions from private cars, Ubers, and taxis delivering guests to her September 10 show, Hearst gave guests a scarf featuring a print of animals that’ve have recently gone extinct. The Gabriella Hearst brand donated funds in guests names to Our Children’s Trust, the nonprofit organization based in Oregon that has filed lawsuits on behalf of youth plaintiffs against governments, arguing that they are infringing on the children’s rights to a stable climate system. Read on in Fashion & Brands.

Stella McCartney Issues Dramatic Plea for Critical Sustainability Changes in Fashion Industry

Amber Valletta, Chu Wong + Emma Laird Front Stella McCartney Fall 2019 by Johnny Dufort Stella McCartney Fall 2019 Ad Campaign

Stella McCartney’s Fall 2019 ad campaign features Amber Valletta, Chu Wong and Emma Laird lensed by Johnny Dufort./ Makeup by Thomas De Kluyver; hair by Gary Gill

Stella McCartney Open Letter on Sustainability Sept. 15, 2019

In advance of her Spring 2020 Women’s Ready-to-Wear show McCartney issued an industry letter published in London’s Sunday Times Style magazine. The designer known for her relentless work with the fashion industry around issues of sustainability is calling for immediate action in all sectors of garment manufacturing.

"The fashion industry is at a crossroads, and I believe that this is a moment for us to come together to achieve systemic, sustainable change in our industry. “

Designer Stella McCartney

Designer Stella McCartney

McCartney is calling for a shift towards circularity and reuse of what we already have, helping to reduce the insatiable need for newness that has ravaged the planet in the last 20 years.

"The fashion industry is one of the most polluting and damaging industries in the world. Every single second, the equivalent of one rubbish truck of textiles is sent to landfill or burnt.

"The fashion industry accounts for more than a third of ocean microplastics, while textile dyeing is the second largest polluter of clean water globally. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will be using up to a quarter of the world's carbon budget.

"This way of working is not sustainable. The world is crying out for change, and it is our responsibility to act now... The science is clear, and we need to do more than just incremental shifts; keeping business as usual is no longer an option."

As well as encouraging rental, resale and recycling of clothing, Stella wants companies to embrace new "tools" and "innovators" to create their garments.

As well as encouraging rental, resale and recycling of clothing, Stella wants companies to embrace new "tools" and "innovators" to create their garments.

"The Ellen MacArthur Foundation tells us that only 1% of textiles are recycled back into textiles each year -- this is simply unacceptable. Supporting innovators will help to drastically increase this number, but we need this shift now.

"Companies we work with, like Econyl and Evrnu, are enabling true textile-to-textile recycling. More brands could help these innovators scale, and governments should support their development.

"For decades the fashion industry has relied on the same 10 to 12 fibres to make almost all of our garments, and I believe that it is time for us to add some new tools to our toolbox. Incredible innovators like Bolt Threads are using cutting-edge technology and biology to develop new textiles and materials.

"They are reimagining what the building blocks of our industry could be, and we are working closely with them as they develop incredible mycelium-based 'leather', grown in a lab and not harming a single creature in the process.

"The production of leather, which can account for up to 10% of the commercial value of a cow, shares full responsibility for the same environmental hazards as the meat industry; most critically, it is a leading cause of climate change. I believe with these new technologies that we are on the brink of something very exciting."

New AOC Writing on Sustainability

Fast fashion lies: Will they really change their ways in a climate crisis?

Fast fashion lies: Will they really change their ways in a climate crisis?

By Anika Kozlowski, Assistant Professor of Fashion Design, Ethics and Sustainnability, School of Fashion, Ryerson University. First published on The Conversation.

Recently Zara introduced a sustainability pledge. But how can Zara ever be sustainable? As the largest fast-fashion retailer in the world, they produce around 450 million garments a year and release 500 new designs a week, about 20,000 a year. Zara’s fast-fashion model has been so successful it has inspired an entire industry to shift — churning out an unprecedented number of fashion garments year-round.

We live in an era of hyper-consumption in the middle of a climate crisis.

Clothing production doubled from 2000 to 2014. The average consumer bought 60 per cent more clothing in 2014 than in 2000, but kept each garment half as long. Apparel consumption is projected to to rise by 63 per cent in the next 10 years. And less than one per cent of all clothing produced globally is recycled.

With production numbers like these, can any fast-fashion retailer claim sustainability?

Eco-Conscious Brit Designers Vin + Omi Ready LFW with Nettle-Fabrics from Prince Charles' Garden

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It all began with a cup of tea in spring 2018 with Prince Charles and members of the British design industry committed to putting the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion sustainability initiative into action. Attending were design duo Vin + Omi, admired by both Beyonce and Michelle Obama.

"It’s so surreal," says Omi, who talked to The Hollywood Reporter by phone from London and, like Vim, goes only by his first name. "We were invited for tea with His Royal Highness, and it was just a passing comment he made, where he suggested using nettles from his estate and turning them into clothes. It was over tea — we thought nothing of it. Then the next thing you know, we were down on his estate, collecting weeds. It went from zero to 100 very quickly!"

Prince Charles volunteered an abundance of nettles in residence at his and Camilla’s Clarence House gardens known as Highgrove Royal Gardens.

Prior to talking nettles with Prince Charles, Vin + Omi were creating clothes woven from cow parsley and discarded bottles. Their collection opened London Fashion Week’s Spring 2019 shows in September 2018. The creatives blended cow parsley with flax, creating an eco-fabric called Flaxley produced by by attendees of a Gloucestershire employment programme to create the clothes seen on the catwalk. The Guardian writes that Vin + Omi also created hybrid metal fabrics, manufactured from cans collected by homeless people on a support programme in Birmingham, and bags made from fabric derived from plastic bottles discarded from the menswear shows in July and collected, recycled and woven by London College of Fashion students.

Design duo Vin + Omi used nettles from the estate of Prince Charles to create 10 pieces of clothing, to be shown during London Fashion Week later this month.

Design duo Vin + Omi used nettles from the estate of Prince Charles to create 10 pieces of clothing, to be shown during London Fashion Week later this month.

Vin + Omi have been focused on eco fabrics since 2004 with a focus on the environment and supporting local communities. Two of their big successes have been creating an eco latex from a rubber plantation they fund in Malaysia and vegan “leather” made from the skins of chestnuts.

On the subject of longevity, Omi reminds Hollywood Reporter readers that the Prince has been committed to sustainability issues for 25 years.

"The thing we learned about working with someone with of the status of His Royal Highness is that he is really well informed," adds Omi. "You would think someone who is so high up wouldn’t necessarily have all these cares and concerns for the environment, so it's quite humbling. His team is really well informed, too, with the plants and all the properties that go with them. We widened our knowledge about what the possibilities are of working with these species of plants."

As part of the collection, Vin + Omi partnered with art supply brand Daler-Rowney. "We are reutilizing their paint plastic tubes and turning them into fabric, so we’re helping with their waste issues. Then we have our own linen, which we grow in our fields, and we’re also up-cycling denim, to stop it from going to landfills. We want to stop old garments from ending up in the incinerator,” Omi says. Biodegradable latex is part of the upcoming collection, says Omi, stressing that that Vin + Omi really aren’t fashion designers. The duo considers themselves to be sustainability-focused artists and clothes are their canvas.

."Everything has been carefully thought out," says Omi. "The amount of attention we’ve been receiving ahead of the show is quite humbling. From Nigeria, Australia, it's been really crazy. We’re expecting a really crazy, big show."

Omi says the duo plans to send pieces to Prince Charles, who has been sending them letters of encouragement, "as a gesture of thank you." A piece from the collection is also going to the Victoria and Alfred Museum. "It’s nice that they will have a piece in their archive permanently for public viewing," Omi says. "The public will be able to go and see and realize that 'Wow, this is what you can do with nature.'"