New study published suggesting bold Nordic moves

Tone Skårdal Tobiasson
Posted on
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
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Even though the recently published report in the TemaNord series, on a potential for a Nordic Action plan and an over-view of already existing initiatives, was finished way ahead of the Nordic Actionplan, it has first now been published.

The report, Mapping sustainable textile initiatives and a potential roadmap for a Nordic actionplan, responds to an invitation from the Nordic Council of Ministers to map out Nordic initiatives within textiles as a pre-study to the initiation of a Nordic Roadmap for Sustainable Textiles in 2015. The report has been named as significant on Twitter by The Guardian’s Lucy Siegle, a tweet which was retweeted all of 22 times. The report outlines four major strategies for putting the Nordic region at the forefront in a sustainable approach to the sector: Reduce, Replace, Redirect and Rethink (explained below).

The work has been conducted by:

SIFO - National Institute for Consumer Research (Norway) Project leader
SFA - Sustainable Fashion Academy (Sweden)
NFA - Nordic Fashion Association/ (Nordic)
IVL - Swedish Environmental Research Institute (Sweden)
CRI - Copenhagen Resource Institute (Denmark)

Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Environmental Affairs (EK-M) has been responsible for the funding of this project. The project’s steering committee consists of representatives from members from the working groups; Nordic Chemicals Group (NKG), the Nordic Waste Group (NAG) and the Group of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) and officers from the Environmental Protection Agency in Denmark. This steering Group is jointly responsible for the direction and decisions regarding the project. NAG has been coordinating the work. Coordinator of project has been Yvonne Augustsson from the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

The mapping was of international and Nordic initiatives for the sector; with evaluation of the initiatives on where within Reduce, Replace, Redirect and/or Rethink the main focus was. Not surprising, reducing chemicals, water, energy and waste was by far the area where the most work to date is being done. However, as the report points out, the increase in consumption is out-weighing the benefits from this work. So, while the Reduce initiatives need to be backed and continue; the report argues that for the Nordic region to take a lead and instigate effective and pivotal change – the recommendation is to Replace Design Destined for Trash (DDT) with Wonderful to Wear (W2W), Redirect off-shoring globally to on-shoring locally (in order to better understand the value-chain) and last but not least Rethink what democratic fashion really is all about. The latter is of course the most radical suggestion, and challenges the fashion industry to include the Nordic values of equality and inclusion in society. Not exclusion, which fashion is based on today. However, as opposed to the current understanding of democratic fashion, the report claims cheap chic and fast fashion are at the core of the problem.

The final Nordic Actionplan has to a large extent ignored the recommendations of the report, and mainly focused on recycling. 

Read EcoTextile News' report on the mapping here.

Download the report here.