A Conference of Parties (COP) meeting of the UNFCCC is like no other event. In that, it also serves as a veritable tool to gauge where governments, corporations and people stand on the climate crisis. And, specific industries too.
If the just-concluded COP27, or 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt is anything to go by, the fashion industry has cut a sorry figure. The industry has made progress in recent years, but all that pales into insignificance given the goal that shifts farther by the day. Add to that the rampant greenwashing, the constant self-adulation, and the abject failure in not letting the Global South into the entire process.
There was an imperative need for the industry to take drastic decisions at COP27, but none were announced. The UNEP report launched in the run up to COP27 had already laid the ground for the discourse. Its essence could have been summed up in that one sentence: "The world is not on track to reach the Paris Agreement goals and global temperatures can reach 2.8°C by the end of the century."
But clearly—from what transpired at COP27—the fashion industry was caught napping. And, it was not just the UNEP's Emissions Gap Report 2022 that mattered--there were other indicators that showed long before the event that matters were not on track.
Let's take a look at the industry from five angles, not in any particular order.