UN issues call to action after CFDA award win – Vogue Business

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The United Nations might not seem like a natural bedfellow for fashion, but its role in the sector is fast growing as the threat of climate change becomes more urgent. On Monday evening, model and sustainability consultant Amber Valletta presented the intergovernmental organisation with the Environmental Sustainability Award at the 2022 CFDA Fashion Awards.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals have served as the compass for our industry,” the CFDA tells Vogue Business. “As the world gathers for COP27, we honour the global leadership of the UN and celebrate its work to positively navigate and mobilise our global sector to accelerate actionable efforts.”

As UN deputy secretary-general Amina J Mohammed accepted the CFDA award in New York, her colleagues were convening in Sharm-El-Sheikh, Egypt, for the COP27 climate change conference. Reflecting on the two events, Mohammed says there is much more to be done to achieve the organisation’s ambitious climate change goals — and fashion will play an important role in uniting people behind some of those efforts.

“The creative world has not been given the same investment as science and technology, but it has the same — if not more — dividends to reap,” she tells Vogue Business. “People will continue to wear clothes and be influenced by others in the fashion industry. They want to be happy and feel good, to explore their cultures and identify with different movements. That’s part of our social fabric.

“The challenge is how to engage with fashion and creativity in a way that provides meaningful employment, improves the environment, and has an inclusive economy with gender equality and human rights at its core.”

The UN’s contributions to fashion focus on systems change, a big picture approach that covers consumer behaviour, alliances between rival luxury houses, and pledges to push the sector towards net-zero emissions. Its three flagship programmes are the UN Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle (CFL) Network; the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (led by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change); and the UN Sustainable Fashion Alliance.

Delegates at the United Nations Conscious Fashion and Lifestyle Network annual meeting 2022. On the left is Tracy Reese, founder and creative director of Hope for Flowers by Tracy Reese. On the right is Mara Hoffman, president and creative director of her eponymous label.

Photo: Lisa Kato