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#GlobalGoals for a Sustainable Textile Industry

Ethical Fashion at United Nations Headquarters - New York

We seek to extend our reach in the world of sustainable fashion through research and awareness. On this occasion, we organized a talk at the United Nations headquarters in New York where we invited specialists in ethical fashion to talk about sustainable development and its enormous potential to eradicate poverty.

WHERE? - At the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

WHEN? - During the 56th session of the Commission for Social Development. From January 29 to February 7, 2018.

BECAUSE? - We organized the #GlobalGoals for a Sustainable Textile Industry event with the purpose of discussing a transformation of the industry towards a sustainable development model within the framework of the 2030 Agenda.

Introduction to the Event:

In its second consecutive year, the event highlighted the potential of the textile industry to achieve the objectives of the 2030 Agenda, in addition to calling for collaboration to advance towards a sustainable textile sector.

This year, the discussion tables came together under a front row of sustainability experts such as Patrick Duffy (Global Fashion Exchange Platform, Common Goal), as moderator of the event, Lilian Lu (Global Compact), Cara Hagan (GoodWeave International) , Lucia Cuba (Parsons School of Design), Natalia Martinez Sagan (Fashion Revolution USA) and, Rebecca Van Bergen (Nest), generating inspiration through a variety of topics; from circular thinking and education, to the crucial role of united actors in supply chains of sustainable practices.

Messages from Exhibitors:

In order of appearance, each guest shared their expertise and vision about a sustainable world where poverty disappears and transparency in the labor market is a fact.

Made by Us New York

Kate Holzman opened the event with an overview of the current situation and possibilities of the industry with a special focus on artisan work and natural fiber producers. In his presentation, he commented on how the textile industry could be a platform to move towards sustainable development within the framework of the 2030 Agenda. Collaborative action and a change of direction from our current production models towards circular ones, together with the reasoning of These at the systems level would increase and accelerate said development.

Global Compact

Lilian Liu continued with an introduction to successful collaboration models and their policies. UN Global Compact works in the political dimension through a framework of the 10 main Sustainable Development Goals. His message was based on the idea that in order to generate real change, all actors involved must collaborate with sustainable practices. Equally crucial are local and specific policy frameworks when taking into account local realities and the capture of local possibilities. This can only be improved by bringing existing frameworks to the local level.

Parsons School of Design

Lucia Cuba elaborated more on the power of fashion as a tool of change, emphasizing the power of the individual consumer: we choose what we wear and why we wear it; we choose where it is produced. That is, we must insert ourselves into sustainable values ​​in the character of the company. The concept of ethics in the supply chain should not be a discussion only for big brands. Instead, we need questions and constant curiosity so that change becomes a requirement and we can make collaborative paths towards sustainability visible.

US fashion revolution

Education is an essential tool to achieve sustainability. Natalia Martínez Sagan referred to the need for more education on the Sustainable Development Goals and the supply chain of problems, as well as the need for individuals and consumers to get involved to generate an impact on the obstacles to eradicating poverty.

GoodWeave International

Cara Hagan continued to highlight the importance of addressing the vulnerability of the informal sector in the textile labor market to eradicate poverty. GoodWeave has a system that creates transparency in the informal supply chain, which is usually completely hidden. With increased transparency we can improve working conditions, eliminating forced labor and child exploitation, and promote the concept of a living wage.


Eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an essential requirement for sustainable development, in addition to being connected to the textile industry. Rebecca van Bergen talked about how multinational brands have a lot of power to eradicate poverty in their value chains, but they still fail to act on it. Currently the industry is largely self-regulated; which may not be the best solution. However, technologies such as blockchain (constant and digitized records) can lead to transparency, and, for example, mobile phone-based technologies have great potential to make big brands question their lack of action. . There is fear and lack of responsibility when the value chain becomes visible through technology.

Objectives and Announcements:

One of the objectives of the event was to discuss together how to move towards collaborative action for sustainable development in the textile industry. There was a passionate discussion and brainstorming, where each person in the room felt part of a common concern, and from there, working towards possible solutions.

Similarly, participants were invited to submit ideas for collaboration goals in #HechoChallenge via email or social media.

Towards the end of the event, we announced our partnership with Common Objective, a smart network for the fashion industry that is truly rooted in collaboration as a model for moving the industry towards sustainability. The CO's mission is to build successful businesses, with positive impacts on the environment and people.

Final Teachings:

The main lesson of the event is that if we can have a framework of adequate conditions and an encouraging environmental policy, the industry presents great potential for growth, sustainable innovations, appreciation of tradition and culture, development, practices that respect the environment and job opportunities. Development could be even further through collaborative initiatives, finding ways to apply global frameworks at all levels of the supply chain and exploring the possibilities of applying circular models.


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