Fashion world moves forward to take up ecological issues. The world of fashion is getting connected with forest-based materials from sustainably managed forests, all thanks to the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)-FAO’s (Food & Agriculture Organization) initiative “Forests for Fashion”. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian actress said that ssustainability of a society is both an individual and a collective responsibility.
The main star of the movie “Crouching Tiger”, Hidden Dragon stated that the fashion industry is producing 20 % of global waste water and 10% of the global carbon emissions (more than the emissions of all international flights & maritime shipping combined). Additionally, it has been estimated that the textile industry is the major polluter with around half a million tons of plastic microfibers ending up in the world’s oceans as polyester, nylon or acrylic. Which are washed every year.
She cited the cruel abuses of modern slavery and child labour saying “Fashion is often a synonym of dangerous working conditions, unsafe processes and hazardous substances used in production.”Keeping in view that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is ambitious blueprint for governments, Ms. Yeoh urges everyone to choose consciously while planning for future and a positive change of habits.
She said today’s 3.2 billion people in the global middle class will rise to about 5.4 billion with the major part of the growth occurring in Asia. The 2.2 billion people entering the global middle class will aspire to a similar lifestyle as we know it presently – which does include a similar consumption pattern with respect to clothing.
Ms Yeoh calls fashion “a major development challenge,” and sees clothing as an essential element for the transition towards sustainable societies. She acknowledges the need for governments’ involvement in shifting the fashion industry to the right direction, and puts the main responsibility on individuals to start the fashion “revolution”. She says that forests can create productive ecosystems, to support local and rural communities. And forest fibers are already a reality and textile businesses are growing or buying large forest extensions. Ms Yeoh calls new fibers “sustainable” as there carbon and ecological footprints are low, and that there are different fast-growing species of trees that are suitable for different places and climates.