UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017

Bringing together an international community of business leaders, academics and Government to accelerate action towards the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement.

“We are ready…to make Global Goals local business”– Lise Kingo, CEO United Nations Global Compact.

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Marking three years since the launch of the SDGS, the summit focused on empowering leaders to embed the Global Goals into the spirit and everyday practice of their businesses. Lise Kingo called for deeper integration of all the goals and reminded the audience of the importance of the ‘5 P’s’ “people, planet, partnerships, prosperity and peace” in meeting the 2030 targets.

We met the ten SDG Pioneers for 2017, nominated for their bold action for the Global Goals and as part of the ‘Break Through’ Section my colleague Ricardo Garay presented our resolution on sustainable fashion on behalf of the Youth Fashion Summit, Copenhagen (read our full resolution here). Finally, the SDG Reporting Handbook was launched in partnership with the Global Reporting Initiative which offers participants a new set of guidelines designed to unify and simplify business reporting on the SDGS.

“The timing is right, right now” Lise Kingo, CEO UNGC.

After a day filled with optimistic examples of innovation towards the 2030 Goals, Lise Kingo’s closing speech centred on the theme of collective action. She urged business leaders to promote and live the Global Goals starting by finding ways to transform every employee into an SDG ambassador. She stressed the importance of seizing the present moment to mobilise businesses, to pool ideas and actions and to create momentum for a future we all want.

“Leaps of innovation require a bravery that borders on absurdity” Lise Kingo quoting Astro Teller.

Vivienne Westwood says SWITCH! at Fabric

As part of her continued environmental activism, last Monday Vivienne Westwood launched SWITCH! at Fabric; a club night for the environmentally conscious, fashion crowd.

Vivienne’s social enterprise Climate Revolution teamed up with Ecotricity to host the event with a clear message; it’s time to switch to GREEN ENERGY!

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On entering the club we were reminded what it was all about; A Climate Revolution.

Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity, Britain’s largest green energy supplier, opened the night with a video. He spoke about his former life on the road as new age traveller and the lessons he learnt from being self reliant. The idea of Ecotricity was born through the experience of making his own energy via a windmill on the roof of his van. He explained how a connection to nature and concern for the unsustainability of life as we know it has been the driving force throughout his life. Since burning of fossil fuels for electricity forms the biggest single cause of climate change, switching to green energy is perhaps the most significant change we can make as individuals.

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Next, Dame Viv herself graced the stage with an entourage of models sporting her latest collection titled ‘Ecotricity’ in tribute to the energy supplier. She reminded us of our power as active citizens to shape our economy, our future and our planet. The paper crowns served as metaphor for taking back power from the “rotten financial system” and richest 1%. She explained the imminent risk posed by climate change using the world map behind her. The red area indicates uninhabitable land if the sea level were to rise by just 5%. She urged the 900 strong crowd to “stop the demand for fossil fuels and further fracking and make choices that stop climate change”.

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After the speeches, guest DJ ‘A Guy Called Gerald’ provided the soundtrack to night with a little help from Eli Li who owned the stage (in Vivienne Westwood of course).

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Embracing the post apocalyptic, Mad Max theme.
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Guests wore Vivienne’s latest collection ‘Ecotricity’

Switching to green energy is the “one truly political act you can make as an individual”.

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“Paper crowns mean people power!”

Instructions on how to make you crown at Climate Revolution.

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In a truly sustainable fashion, guests were encouraged to reuse their cups.

While a club night during Fashion Week -one of the most highly consumption driven events in the year – might not seem an appropriate place to discuss climate change, this is where action is needed the most. It is essential to engage with fashion enthusiasts in order to generate change from within.  The resounding message of the night was people power and if the Climate Revolution starts now, what a way better to welcome it than through dancing.

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Finally, a couple of photos of me and my great friend Ffi. I didn’t get the memo about the dress code so went for a piece from my final collection teamed with sash made by Susanna Molla, an amazing craftivist and member of Sisters Uncut. Check out her online shop here.

Invest Love; Stella McCartney talks sustainability at LCF.

For Kering’s third annual talk at London College of Fashion, Frances Corner welcomed the ‘effortlessly cool’ sustainable fashion role model, Stella McCartney to the stage. In conversation with Lucy Siegle, they discussed the responsibility of both designers and consumers in bringing change to the industry.

For Kering’s third annual talk at London College of Fashion, Frances Corner welcomed the ‘effortlessly cool’ sustainable fashion role model, Stella McCartney to the stage. In conversation with Lucy Siegle, they discussed the responsibility of both designers and consumers in bringing change to the industry.

Stella began by sharing her latest innovation; viscose produced sustainably from forests in Sweden. In a short, introductory video we watched Carmen Kass, dressed in an array of luxurious designs tackle the issue of deforestation and make a case for forest conservation. This playful and informative video surmises McCartney’s approach to fashion. Trained at Central Saint Martins, she is first a designer driven by a desire to create the stylish, sharp, sexy and sporty and secondly an activist with a strong commitment to people and the environment. For Stella, ‘the fashionable side has to go hand in hand with the ethical side’. While many sustainable brand’s fastidious attention to environmental standards has led to a compromise in design, the success of Stella can be attributed to her tenacious ability of remaining both desirable and relevant to the fashion elite. She stressed the importance of investing love in the supply chain and being mindful of the challenges fashion production poses while staying true to a design philosophy.

How to prioritise

As a market leader, she explained the difficulties her company face when sourcing materials which are only just becoming available. Stella stressed the importance of prioritising the development of materials which replace those with the most significant environmental impact first. An ethos which placed the use of animal products at top of the agenda. When the brand launched as a vegetarian company the industry laughed and deemed she could never build an accessories line without leather. Even today her non-leather goods incur the same taxes as leather items and cost significantly more to produce.  She expressed concern in the lack of flexibility and growth within the industry which relies heavily on ‘outdated’ design practices. Unlike the food industry which has seen significant growth in ethical and biological markets, fashion remains woefully behind the times. She encouraged brands to ‘think differently’ and to be open to the positive changes innovation and technology can bring. The development of products such as Stella’s line of fake fur jackets are so realistic, in theory, they could eliminate the need for real fur.  Rather than making consumers feel guilty about their purchases, Stella aims to ‘infiltrate from within’ by offering sustainable products so desirable the consumer does not even notice.

53% of Stella McCartney womenswear and 45% of menswear is currently made from sustainable materials, a figure which is set to reach 100% during the lifespan of the brand.

Fast fashion

Stella’s gentle approach to the subject of fast fashion showed an understanding of the difficulties many consumers face when wishing to engage with fashion on a limited budget. She encouraged consumers to ‘come at fashion from a different point of view’, to invest more in a longer period of time and to spend mindfully and responsibly. She invited consumers to ‘challenge the people who make your clothes’ and demand that fashion no longer ‘gets away with murder’. She heralded a shift towards greater product awareness and transparency. As with the food industry, Stella called for clothing to be set to sustainable standards with an ‘ingredients list’.

Dilys Williams summed up Stella McCartney’s mindful approach to fashion with the phrase ‘standing up can be a principle as well as a style’. The event culminated with the announcement of the winners of The Kering Award for Sustainable Fashion 2016; Irene-Marie Seelig, Iciar Bravo Tomboly, Ana Pasalic, Agraj Jain and Elise Comrie. The resounding message for the next generation of designers was; be courageous, be responsible and say something from the heart.

 

Vivienne Westwood at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Self proclaimed Queen of Punk, Dame Vivienne Westwood did not disappoint in bringing rebellious views to the table at this years Cheltenham Literature Festival. Here to promote her new book Get a Life, a diary style biography compiled of blog posts she began in 2010. The book entwines her deep interest in fashion, climate change and activism.

Political from the first Westwood began by asking for our help. She reminded the audience that climate change is each of our responsibility and as a collective we can begin a climate revolution. The first step, according to the dame herself is to fill out a letter to Theresa May (handed out pre-show) with advice on how she could be more environmental in her daily life.

Westwood’s main priority has been communicating the threat of climate change with fashion shows becoming an avenue to creatively express frustrations. Her talk similarly centred on her views of the ‘rotten financial system’ and the injustice of 1m controlling a population of 7bn. Focusing on the selfish nature of ‘rotten’ politicians who ‘serve central banks and promote big business’ at the expense of the tax payer and corrupt foreign policy which says ‘fuck everybody but us’.

Westwood urged her audience to go home and switch to green energy, highlighting in a slick info graphic the impact rising temperature will have on the level of inhabitable land. She claimed ‘once the rising temperature goes beyond the tipping point it will run away to +5°, there will be only 1 bn people left by the 21st century’.

Provocative and outspoken as always Vivienne Westwood conveyed her passion for the planet and the people in it. While it is difficult to agree with all of her hard lined views on the ‘wasted lives’ of politicians, hearing her talk with such vigour and energy after five decades in the fashion industry was a good reminder of the capacity each of us has to make a difference. As Kirsty Wark eloquently put it ‘there’s nothing like a dame and certainly not this one’.

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