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Forests for Fashion

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The global fashion industry is valued at more than 2.5 trillion dollars and employs over 75 million people worldwide. The sector is an engine for economic development, but how does it align with sustainable development?  

Many leading brands and fashion consortiums are increasingly concerned about the environmental and social impacts associated with the textile industry. Almost 65 percent of global fabric consumption consists of synthetic fibers derived from fossil fuels, and the majority of the remainder is made up of water- and pesticide-intensive crops. 

Sustainable solutions and alternative materials are required! 

Renewable and responsibly sourced forest fibers are part of the solution for a sustainable fashion industry. 

Modern wood fibers can be used to produce sustainable, renewable and biodegradable textiles and a range of materials the fashion sector can use to reduce its ecological footprint. New technologies are able to convert wood pulp into fibers with a circular approach, reusing chemicals and lowering the amounts of water and energy that are required in the process of manufacturing synthetic materials.

Movie: Made in Forests

The 'Forests for Fashion' Initiative 

It all started in 2014, when the Italian Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva, the Government of Switzerland and other partners joined forces with the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section to celebrate a memorable International Day of Forests with a focus on innovative forest fibers. The celebration consisted of a series of events, including an art performance, a conference and a fashion exhibit. 

Forest fashion once again took centre stage at the 2018 High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, where a 'Forests for Fashion' exhibit highlighted the role of forests and forest products in contributing towards a sustainable fashion sector. The work resulted from a fruitful collaboration between the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), along with a range of other partners such as the UN Forum on Forests, Cittadellarte Fashion B.E.S.T., and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. More information can be found here.

At the Fourth UN Environment Assembly that took place from 10-15 March 2019 in Nairobi, Kenya, the Forests for Fashion initiative exhibited at the Sustainable Innovations Expo. Find the brochure here, pictures of the event here, and a video here

The UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion

The UN is committed to changing the path of fashion, which was underlined by the dedication of 10 different UN organizations that came together during two side events organized by UNECE to create a UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion. It aims at improving collaboration and knowledge sharing, and strengthening of synergies between existing initiatives, as well as reaching out to wider audiences with a unified voice. UN Environment and ITC have agreed to host the Alliance for three years, and it was formally launched at the Fourth Environment Assembly in March 2019. Check out the website of the UN Alliance for more information: 

Meetings and Events

  Press Releases and News

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Last update date: December 4, 2020