In the textile and fashion industry, conversations about “peak cotton” are very much on the table, and will be a reality in the decades to come. How can cotton even peak? The background to this is that the middle class worldwide is increasing – a segment in society that can afford to dress and fill the closet to a higher degree than before. In 2009, the middle class encompassed 1.8 billion people. In 2020, it is estimated to have risen to 3.2 billion.
UN and fabric and fashion industry met at Cop22
According to the UN Sustainability goals, by 2020 we aim for all our cotton to come from more sustainable sources. That means sources that require less water, pesticides and fertilisers and also helps farmers and communities to improve their standard of living. The Bridge 2016- participants were part of a workshop on “Peak cotton” arranged by Yasemin Arhan Modéer, Project manager The Bridge and Nils-Krister Persson, professor at The Swedish school of textiles. More recently, Altitude meetings hosted the textile sustainability round-table discussion at the Cop22 Climate Summit in Marrakech, featuring Filippa K, Dedicated Institute, Tretorn, Mistra Future Fashion, The Swedish School of Textiles University of Borås, KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Region Hovedstaden (Copenhagen).
“I did not really believe we would be elected to host this discussion. There are many influential organizations in place, and I think we were elected because we have an incredibly concrete problem articulated, says Yasemin Arhan Modéer. We operate The Bridge to help create change in the world, based in the Malmö and Öresund region. It is extremely valuable that the UN is responding to our invitation saying that they are partners. The long term goal is to create more sustainable materials” she concludes.
The commodity industry, as well as textile and fashion industries, is now addressing the coming problem, and the option on solving it with sustainable goals. The next step according to Yasemin Arhan Modéer, is to continue the work also between each The Bridge conference, with seminars and conversations continuously involving the parties that make a living out of material sciences, fashion and those that can set up sustainability highways in our society. We want to see more incentives and opportunities that support business models and solutions that indeed are in line with a global circular economy.