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Pushing for materials policy

In this latest edition of FashMash Pioneers, Claire Bergkamp, COO of Textile Exchange talks trade policy for environmental progress.

One of fashion’s standout headlines from COP26, was a policy ask from Textile Exchange to incentivise the use of environmentally preferred materials. A few months on, the organisation’s COO Claire Bergkamp, joined us as our latest FashMash Pioneer to talk it through. We explored everything from what needs to happen to action such incentives, how we scale preferred fibres, the role of cheap versus disposable fashion, and the importance of slowing growth.


See the full interview via YouTube above, and read on for some of the highlights:


ON TRADE INCENTIVES

“There's a lot of movement towards regulation, which is absolutely required… but at the same time, we do need incentives. We need both the negative and the positive, the stick and the carrot. So what we’re proposing is to leverage trade tariffs - to reduce them or remove them - for environmentally preferred fibres and materials.”


ON PREFERRED

“We would define a preferred material as something that is aligned with the 1.5 degree pathway, meaning that it is a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions as compared to conventional [materials] and that it is additionally looking at benefits for human rights, animal welfare, biodiversity, soil health and water.”


ON SLOWING GROWTH

“We have to slow growth. We can't just keep on making excuses, and ways to have more. But even with that, we're still talking about a lot of scale. Like even if you slow growth down, we're still talking about thousands of tonnes of materials being used, and to transform that at scale so that we're not just talking about 1% or 10%, we do have to have an economic unlock. And this is one of those enabling factors.”


ON FAST FASHION

“You have affordable fashion and you have disposable fashion. And there's no room for disposable fashion in the future - that just can't exist. We have to get rid of it. Which again is where regulation has to come in. If products are being made in a way that is so cheap, that they're being treated as disposable, with materials that are not meant to last in a way that is just truly filling up landfills, the government has, I think, a responsibility to step in and say these are not safe products.”


FashMash Pioneers is sponsored by Klaviyo.