Across the global retail industry there is a growing momentum from retailers to tackle the mounting challenges being brought about by the climate crisis. With pressure for the industry to change also coming from consumers, governments, campaign groups and investors, retailers are increasingly aware of what radical steps they need to take if significant change is to happen.
Retailers are now embracing the move to cut carbon emissions to net zero, looking at solutions to packaging and production and in moving towards the circular economy. The circular economy is defined as being the transformational approach to production that eliminates waste and pollution, circulates products and materials and regenerates nature.
According to the highly influential Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “the circular economy gives us the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together, while addressing important social needs. It gives us the power to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.”
One of the most scrutinised sectors of the retail industry is the fashion sector, and even more specifically, “fast fashion”. It has been one of retail’s biggest success stories in the way that it has made it possible for all consumers to buy the very latest fashion looks at incredibly low prices which has in turn encouraged people to buy frequently and in quantity. But with that success has now come a realisation that the fast fashion business model produces excess waste, enormous pressure on resources and as a result is regarded as bad for the environment and unsustainable as a business model.
Consumers too are driving change through switching to new ways of buying fashion, whether it be through resale, rental or exciting new concepts such as digital fashion and virtual fashion.
The leading fast fashion retailers are actively embracing change in order to address all of these critical issues.