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  • Patrick Cabasset

Spotlight on biodiversity and fashion at the WWF

Updated: Jul 5, 2022

Nature is declining at unprecedented rates. But innovations that can reverse humanity’s negative impact on it exist. On 23 March, Ms. Lin Li, Director of Global Policy and Advocacy at WWF International, highlighted the important role that fashion innovators can play in reducing the industry’s impact on biodiversity. In an interview for the H&M Foundation, she emphasised the positive steps we can take to help restore biodiversity around the world as part of a positive stance. We share some highlights below.

Nothing is lost

“Innovations that are generated across the whole lifecycle and supply chains of the fashion industry can play a critical role in finding solutions to global challenges so that collectively, we can create an equitable, nature positive and carbon neutral future for all”.

Why is biodiversity important?

“Biological diversity is the resource upon which families, communities, nations and future generations depend. It is the link between all organisms on earth, binding each into an interdependent ecosystem, in which all species have their role. It is the web of life. Biodiversity as we know it today is fundamental to human life on earth”.

“Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in history. The way we produce and consume food, fibre, and energy, and the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our current economic model, has pushed the natural world to its limits. COVID-19 is a clear manifestation of our broken relationship with nature and highlights the deep interconnection between the health of both people and the planet.”

How does the fashion industry affect biodiversity?

“Food, clothing and shelter are our basic needs. The fashion industry, while making us feel and look good, has significant impact on the global commons such as biodiversity, water and air. Sourcing of raw materials from the natural world, energy usage, and pollution generated in the production processes, and disposal of the used or waste cloths all have tremendous impact on the health and integrity of ecosystems and all life residing in them. How we produce and consume will determine whether our future is sustainable or not.”

What are the most critical actions for the fashion industry to take now, to improve biodiversity?

“Actions can and should be taken throughout the whole life cycle of fashion — from raw material sourcing, production, consumption, end of life product management, and to close the loop. The fashion industry should explore and act to ensure that all processes in each step of these lifecycle stages are biodiversity and nature positive — meaning they benefit instead of harm nature and biodiversity.”

Dr. Lin Li

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