In 2019 we have already seen a seismic shift in the level of conversation around the all-encompassing yet vague term of 'sustainability'; with fashion brands and retailers across the world, all commendably making efforts to highlight their sustainability efforts.
All this at a time when, month by month, day by day, the news is spreading that we have only 11 years to address our carbon emissions if we are to avoid catastrophic damage to our planet. The fashion and footwear industry contribute more than 8% of carbon emissions – more than international air travel and maritime shipping, combined - whilst our clothes continue to shed the equivalent of 50 billion plastic bottles worth of plastic microfibers into our oceans every year.
Today, Maxine Bédat launches New Standard Institute, a platform using a systems approach to address the environmental and social impacts of the $2.5 trillion apparel industry. Backed by a network of scientists, NSI will host this unique open source tool that will provide the citizen consumer, the industry and media alike, with verified data, research and resources to clarify from a scientific perspective what "sustainability" means, how the industry can go about achieving it at the pace at which it needs to be achieved and what citizen consumers can do to push for that change.
Bédat has been at the forefront of sustainability since 2013, through her work founding the groundbreaking e-commerce and fashion brand Zady. Within the lifespan of that brand, sensing the urgency of change needed ahead, Bedát created a pathway for clarity and understanding of the actual science behind 'sustainability' that will lead to not only true accountability in the field but a goal setting initiative that will enable fundamental systems change for apparel manufacturing - at the pace it needs to be achieved - led by the power of the consumer.
New Standard Institute asks for the support of the global citizen consumer community in demanding more from the 'big apparel' makers of our time; those creating the largest climate impact are also those with the greatest chance of creating the systems change necessary to minimize it.
Bédat lays out the call to action to the opinion formers in the industry and to the consumer;
"We are lovers of fashion and concerned citizens aware that leading scientists have determined we have 11 years to change course with regard to climate change if we are to avoid catastrophic damage to our planet.
"The fashion industry has spoken, they say change can only start from consumer demand.
"A recent survey of fashion CEOs found that fashion companies attribute the major responsibility for driving the industry towards sustainability to consumers above any other group.
"It is time to #SetANewStandard. You drive demand and have the ability to drive change in this industry. Helping us spread the word on social media will make all the difference.
"Our first objective is to welcome signatories to our petition which asks brands to make the changes necessary to thrive while being in alignment with our planetary boundaries."
Advocates of New Standard Institute include model and activists Arizona Muse, Cameron Russell and Angela Lindvall among others.