OXFORDSHIRE, United Kingdom — "A whole generation is watching our industry," said Eva Kruse, chief executive officer of Global Fashion Agenda, as she made an impassioned case for sustainability in fashion.
Speaking in December at VOICES, BoF's new annual gathering for big thinkers, Kruse explained that fashion is not only one of the world's largest industries, it is also one of the most resource-demanding. Cotton is second only to corn in its use of pesticides, she said, and the World Bank estimates that the fashion industry is responsible for 17-20 percent of industrial water pollution.
"Aside from climate change, our planet is also facing other challenges, one of them being pollution and scarcity of resources," Kruse said. "Water, in particular, is one of the major needs for our planet. Currently, we have 1.8 billion people without access to clean drinking water, by 2025 scientists predict it will be 40 percent of the world's population."
But the fashion industry's unique influence means that it has the ability to create change, she continued. "It has the power to affect the way we think and behave."
Kruse's solution came in the form of business models that incorporate respect for both people and the planet.
"I believe that if we can change fashion, we can change everything," she concluded.