IGPN - International Green Purchasing Network



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News Archives

April 28, 2023

Report-Solutions from the One Planet network to curb plastic pollution

The present report was developed in collaboration with the stakeholders of the One Planet network (Consumer Information, Lifestyles and Education, Public Procurement and Tourism programmes), a global community of practitioners, policymakers, and experts, including governments, businesses, civil society, academia, and international organisations, joining forces around implementation of Sustainable Development Goal12 (SDG12).

The report provides an overview of solutions and recommendations developed by the One Planet network around:

Reliable sustainability information within existing standards, labels, and claims
Triggers for behaviour change, including nudging strategies and awareness campaigns
Creation of markets for sustainable solutions and concrete pathways for governments to lead by example using sustainable procurement practices
Implementation of circular economy of plastics in the tourism sector, including through direct engagement of businesses towards reduction of plastics pollution.
Additionally, the present report builds on findings from previous reports by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Marine Plastics Project and brings forward solutions to address plastic pollution as assessed in the 2021 report From Pollution to Solution - A global assessment of marine litter and plastic pollution and demonstrates of how a multi-stakeholder network can mobilize action to agilely deliver concrete outputs and a practical way to implement requests by Member States.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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category : Topics

April 24, 2023

[FASHION] A sustainable fashion week. Too good to be true?

What do you do if you’re a designer who is trying to be more sustainable but you want to show at fashion week? For Emilie Helmstedt, a Danish designer who took part in last week’s Copenhagen fashion week, the solution for the footwear styled with her dresses came from her team who brought in their old Nike and Adidas trainers. Covering them with ribbons, beads and paint, Helmstedt decided it was better than using new versions, as she has done in the past. It also chimed with the rest of the collection – her finale look which was made from scraps of material accumulated in her studio.

Copenhagen fashion week started in 2006 with relatively low-level fanfare. Then, three years ago, Danish organisers set out a series of sustainability requirements for designers to meet in order to be allowed to show in 2023 which would set them apart from the main fashion weeks – New York, Milan, Paris and London – on the global calendar

Based on the United Nations sustainable development goals, the organisers decided on 18 requirements that would apply to the event itself, as well as to all designers who wanted to participate.

“I had a clear idea of what I wanted to do differently. It was about time to set specific requirements rather than just give guidelines,” says Cecilie Thorsmark, the chief executive officer of Copenhagen fashion week (CPHFW) who outlined these requirements, which include a rule that 50% of a collection must be made using textiles from new generation materials such as alternatives to animal-derived raw materials like leather. Deadstock, recycled or upcycled materials are also encouraged.

Most brands have dropped fur from collections but, here, fur is banned outright and any unsold stock from previous collections cannot be destroyed – the most prevalent technique, burning and slashing items, was employed by brands including Burberry in the past. Instead, brands are to sell to discount outlets such as TK Maxx or enter them into the circular economy. Brands must also ensure, by exercising due diligence and working with suppliers, that chains are free from child labour and factories provide safe and fair working conditions.

Thorsmark, who previously worked for the Global Fashion Agenda, an industry group focused on sustainability, says she took the job in 2018 to challenge both the role and purpose of fashion week.

Implementing the requirements was a risk. CPHFW didn’t want to lose the bigger commercial names such as Ganni that attract international press and buyers. Thirty brands were approached with 28 qualifying three years later. Applications were first reviewed by a show committee made up of industry experts, then reviewed and verified by Ramboll, an external consultancy company.

One brand dropped out of the process halfway through while another was rejected after failing to meet all 18 obligations (Thorsmark wouldn’t reveal which brand it was).

On paper, it’s encouraging news from what is often considered the fifth fashion week. But despite the changes many remain sceptical.

Ciara Barry, policy and campaigns manager at the non-profit Fashion Revolution, is currently mandating for living wage legislation across the fashion sector. She says it is concerning that the requirements don’t even mention fair pay. “There is an inherent hypocrisy with a glamorous fashion show displaying collections which are made in poverty. All players in the fashion industry should call for systemic change – and fashion weeks have a role to play in. this.”

Barry says the omission also highlights the challenges that independent brands face from larger fast-fashion brands. “The nature of fashion’s supply chains make it incredibly difficult for individual brands to ensure living wages on their own,” says Barry. “They all share factories and suppliers.”

Then there are the double standards around offsetting carbon emissions. In order to meet the zero waste requirement, brands sent digital QR codes in place of embossed paper invitations. Single-use plastic was banned, show sets were minimal and all props had to be reused. Meanwhile, members of the press and fashion buyers flew in from around the world to look at even more new clothing that was being produced.

On the ground, the designers themselves were mainly optimistic about the changes. Henrik Vibskov, who has been showing for more than two decades, felt the requirements finally acknowledged the steps he has been trying to implement since 2016. “Everything has a life after its first use,” he said as he described his basement filled with archive pieces. His latest set featuring paper tomato trees is next going to be exhibited in Berlin.

For (di)vision’s co-founders, the siblings Simon and Nanna Wick “creating from what already is” has been their ethos since they founded their streetwear inspired brand in 2018. To them, working with almost exclusively deadstock and upcycling materials is “a no brainer.”

They also source their fabrics from suppliers in Italy, often using “waste material” from giant retailers or design houses. Wick says he managed to trace the fabric used for a faux-fur vest back to a collection from Stella McCartney, while a shirt featuring red wine stains was made from an old table cloth.

It seemed a trickier area to navigate for the more commercially successful Scandi brands such as Stine Goya, Ganni and Rotate. Known for their signature sparkly dresses and accessories, sequins which have devastating environmental consequences continued to appear multiple times. Rotate claims its versions are sustainable as they are recycled. Ganni say it uses 100% recycled polyester sequins on a 100% recycled polyester backing. A spokesperson for Stine Goya said that it uses some recycled polyester versions and its team are looking for more sustainable options.

Charlotte Eskildsen, co-founder of the Danish label The Garment, thinks it’s about phrasing – and that the word sustainable itself is problematic. She prefers the word “responsible”. “Fashion is never going to be sustainable and we know that we are contributing to an industry that is polluting way more than it should,” adds (di)vision’s Wick.

While Oslo and Helsinki fashion weeks have already implemented Copenhagen’s framework, with New York’s fashion week kicking off many were hopeful that the noise generated by CPHFW could spark wider change, or at least conversation. Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, says London fashion week won’t be following suit. “The event hosts a mixture of established and emerging brands and as result of this setting a one-size-fits-all sustainability standard is not feasible without alienating the smaller businesses.” Instead the BFC says it encourages brands to commit to voluntary initiatives such as joining the UN’s Climate Challenge.

Fiona Gooch, a senior policy adviser at the fair trade organisation Transform Trade, says both an EU regulator and a fashion watchdog as proposed in UK parliament is a better option. “The actions of large brands cause poverty wages and unsafe conditions and undermine smaller fashion brands who regularly use the same suppliers.”

Barry adds: “The Copenhagen fashion week requirements are absolutely better than nothing, but all fashion shows should move forward by introducing sustainability standards that advance further – they could really drive meaningful change in doing so.”

Learn more at The Guardian, 11 February 2023 By: Chloe Mac Donnell.

...continue to read

category : Topics

April 17, 2023

Carbon Mark / I-X Launch

Launched as part of I-X, Imperial College London’s new interdisciplinary AI initiative in London, Carbon Mark aims to develop and incorporate into the world’s portfolio of mitigation resources, a new and significant means of reducing emissions in a world which – in spite of global climate legislation and progress on green energy – has produced more emissions in the last twenty years than in the twenty years before.

Recent advances in AI and Machine Learning has enabled Imperial College London – the project’s lead academic partner – to unprecedentedly, begin to create a mechanism capable of calculating carbon footprints on a product-by-product basis with unprecedented accuracy, and making those calculations freely available to be used globally, so that the world’s combined ‘purchasing power’ can be leveraged to make substantial carbon emission cuts.

By making the calculations freely available for anyone to incorporate in the products, services and applications which they provide, the market economy itself can be utilised to accelerate emission reductions at scale. Incorporated into e-commerce marketplaces and search engines, it could be used by the 1.8 billion people who currently shop online to buy ‘greener’ goods. Public procurement, which spends over $9.5 trillion on goods and services annually, could make highly accurate purchasing decisions regarding emissions, not price alone. The financial sector could accurately see the climate risks associated with their portfolios. As the system evolves in complexity, it could even help governments innovatively implement robustly informed carbon taxation policies. The uses are manifold.

Furthermore, once the mechanism is proven to successfully calculate carbon emissions, the same model could be extended to calculate how ecological products are in terms of, for example, water usage, toxins, packaging and plastic pollution.

The goal now is to build on Imperial College’s breakthrough by bringing together a consortium of internationally prestigious organisations and governing bodies which – by contributing their outstanding expertise and pooling resources – will help bring a global footprinting mechanism to fruition.

“Collectively we can harness this new technology to deliver a unique and potent way to combat climate change which is, of course, the overwhelming long-term threat to our natural world, its rich biodiversity and the global economy.” (Martin Smith, Carbon Mark Founder)

The mechanism can spark a new wave of sustainabilIty-based innovation and technology with substantial opportunities for those companies and organisations who recognise its potential. As the full life-cycle emissions of goods and services are made visible consumers will be able to judge, with unprecedented accuracy, the sustainability of the things they buy, while businesses will have a new means of competing for their market share – not just predominantly by price, but by improving the carbon emissions of the products and services they provide.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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category : Topics

April 10, 2023

10YFP Information note on the global strategy for sustainable consumption and production submitted to BRS Secretariat

Recently, an information document has been submitted for the meetings of the conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm conventions due to take place in May this year. These MEAs share the common objective of protecting human health and the environment from hazardous chemicals and wastes. The purpose of the information document, submitted by the 10YFP Secretariat is to inform Parties to the Conventions of the approved Global Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production with a view to enhancing cooperation with these conventions. It serves as input to the agenda items on International coordination and cooperation of the COP-16 to the Basel Convention, COP-11 of the Rotterdam Convention and COP-11 of the Stockholm Convention.

Learn more at one planet network knowledge center.

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category : Topics

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