Gender equality, climate protection measures, reducing inequality – these are just three of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations (UN). At a summit meeting of the United Nations in 2015, 193 governments signed Agenda 2030, the UN agreement that contains the Sustainable Development Goals. With it, a strategy was defined to ensure a secure and sustainable future for humanity and the environment. The SDGs are at the core of the agenda and apply universally to all sectors in all countries. Politicians and experts from industrial and developing countries came together to formulate five overriding key messages that the sustainability goals are aligned to: they should focus on respecting human dignity, protect the planet, promote peace and prosperity and support global partnerships. The plan is for them to be implemented by 2030, thereby building a life of dignity for all, also in the future.
Low wages, segmented supply chains, energy-intensive production methods and huge volumes of waste: as the second most polluting industry in the world, the textile and fashion industry is a major contributor to climate change and environmental pollution. The difficulties of the pandemic have shone an even greater spotlight on problems and shortcomings in the sector: factories in the Global South were left with tonnes of unwanted finished goods and orders that brands and retailers cancelled and refused to pay for. From one day to the next, millions of workers in the textile supply chains lost their jobs. To promote justice and achieve the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals by 2030, the textile and fashion industry in particular is being called upon to act quickly. Messe Frankfurt, one of the global marketplaces for textile products, has been working with the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) since 2019 to make its own contribution to fulfilling the goals. The Texpertise Network, the umbrella under which Messe Frankfurt pools around 60 internationally leading textile events around the world, has fully committed itself to the sustainability goals: the 17 SDGs will be presented at various events around the world and actively integrated into each trade show line-up.
Conscious fashion: in 2019, Neonyt, which also belongs to the Texpertise Network, entered into a partnership with Conscious Fashion Campaign – an initiative by the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) that supports fashion companies in understanding the goals of the UN and incorporating them into their own business models. These joint efforts have resulted in a platform for dialogue – with talks, conferences, podcasts and panel discussions in person and online, Neonyt offers a space for networking and learning from one another. Together with Conscious Fashion Campaign, this year Neonyt is focusing on three SDGs that play a key role in the sustainable transformation of the fashion industry: SDG 5: Gender equality, SDG 10: Reducing inequalities and SDG 13: Action to combat climate change. How can we ensure that women and girls in the textile industry are treated equally to men and boys? How can we combat global inequality? And how can textiles be produced in a resource-efficient way? Over the coming months, these and other questions will be discussed, debated and analysed together with experts from the fields of science, politics and fashion and shared with the community in short keynotes and interviews via social media, newsletters and accompanying articles. Kerry Bannigan, founder of Conscious Fashion Campaign, will start the ball rolling with a short introductory keynote.
As part of the new Frankfurt Fashion Week, the upcoming edition of Neonyt in July 2021 will be taking place in Frankfurt for the first time: whether at the trade fairs, conferences, runway shows or events – the focus of Frankfurt Fashion Week will be on sustainable development. Exhibitors, participants and stakeholders must commit to the SDGs by 2023. The SDGs will be referenced in all formats, enabling the audience to see and experience them for themselves.
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