Stella McCartney announces UN charter to combat dangers of fast fashion

Olivia Petter
Getty Images

Stella McCartney is set to back a United Nations charter to promote sustainable fashion and target some of the environmental threats the industry currently poses.

The British designer will work alongside high street fast fashion brands, who have yet to be announced, to help them set out plans to reduce their carbon footprint without compromising on business strategies.

The charter will be officially launched on 10 December at the UN’s annual convention on climate change, which takes place in Katowice, Poland.

Speaking to The Guardian, the OBE and animal rights activist explained how it’s more important for fashion brands to champion sustainability now more than ever before.

“We really don’t have long now, to change things. But I honestly believe it’s doable – I couldn’t do what I do if I didn’t believe that,” she said.

“There is so much guilt and fear attached to talking about sustainability and that’s not helpful.

“What is essential is for the big players in the industry to come along with me, because that changes the price point.”

McCartney will unveil her plans at the Business of Fashion’s "Voices" conference in a session on Thursday afternoon.

The announcement comes two days after the Parliamentary Environmental Audit Committee's inquiry into fast fashion, which saw executives from Primark, M&S and Topshop come together to justify how they’re able to sell items for such low prices while meeting ethical and environmental standards.

The inquiry shed a light on just how much work there is to be done if we’re to see lasting change in the industry, explained Mary Creagh, chair of the Environmental Audit Committee.

“Evidence we heard today justifies our concerns that the current system allows fashion retailers to mark their own homework when it comes to workers’ rights, fair pay and sustainability,” she said in a statement released shortly after the inquiry had concluded.

Creagh went on to name some the most shocking revelations.

“Marks and Spencer are supposed to be a leading light in corporate responsibility, but even they pulled out of a scheme seeking to achieve living wages for garment workers through collective bargaining,” she said, adding that she was “unimpressed” that the CEO of Missguided, Nitin Passi, had refused to attend Parliament in person to answer questions about his supply chain.