The Fashion Industry is consistently faced with challenges that are both Social and Environmental. In an attempt to address these issues the Nordic Fashion Association is hosting the second Copenhagen Fashion Summit. This conference will take place on May 3rd of this year, and will be the largest conference in the world focused on sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the fashion industry. Participants in this conference include top fashion companies, NGO’s, politicians and experts in the field.
The first CFS took place in December of 2009. It was a one day event, and featured presentations from industry leaders including: Laurent Claquin, Senior VP of CSR for PPR (Gucci Group), Christian Kemp-Griffin, Chief Mission Officer of Edun, Manuel Baigorri, Director of Social & Environmental Sustainability of Levi Strauss & Co., Julie Gilhart, VP and Senior Buyer of Barneys New York, and many more. The day culminated with a runway show complete with collections from young Nordic designers featuring sustainable or ethically produced clothing. Swedish retailer H&M sponsored the competition and awarded the winner with a nine thousand dollar cash prize. The 2009 event was attended by 650 plus participants, and this year’s summit is expected to draw an even larger crowd of 800 to 1,000 participants.
The Nordic Fashion Association is a collaboration of several organizations including — The Danish Fashion Institute, Helsinki Design Week, The Icelandic Fashion Council, Oslo Fashion Week and The Swedish Fashion Council. In addition to the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, this group is responsible for the Nordic Initiative Clean and Ethical, other wise known as NICE. The main purpose of this initiative is to raise awareness about ethically responsible and environmentally sustainable business practices — which undoubtedly involves a high level of new information and learning. To aid in the education process, NICE is committed to making this information easily accessible to everyone involved in the industry. The initiative is organized into a ten year action plan. As part of this plan, NICE will produce a code of conduct for the fashion industry, continue to grow their site Nicefashion.org (a web tool and forum for professionals to find resources), offer supplemental training, and conduct applied research projects.
NICE also recently announced their new partnership with the UN Global Compact. This partnership will result in the first sector specific initiative under the UN Global Compact, and the coalition will officially be launched at the Copenhagen Fashion Summit.
It’s clear The Nordic Fashion Association and their partners are working together towards a common goal. In addition to giving small and medium sized fashion companies a socio-environmental standard by which they can align their businesses, we hope these efforts will lead the fashion industry into a more sustainable future.