-By Ankita Dutta.
The National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme, an initiative to promote sustainable fashion, will be featured at the Global Sourcing Expo at the International Convention Centre in Sydney from July 11-13, 2023. The scheme, developed by the Australian Fashion Council, aims to improve the circularity of clothing by enhancing its design, recovery, reuse and recycling. The Expo will showcase exhibitors from 13 countries, with many prioritising sustainable production processes and materials to create high-quality and long-lasting garments.
Danielle Kent, the project director of the AFC, will lead a Global Sourcing Seminar panel on how the scheme will provide a roadmap to circularity in Australia by 2030. The CEO of International Exhibition & Conference Group, Marie Kinsella, noted the danger of fast fashion on both the economic and environmental levels and called for sustainable production and sourcing practices.
According to the AFC, Australians purchase an average of 56 items of clothing each year, but the majority are made from non-sustainable materials, leading to clothing waste becoming one of the largest contributors to the country’s waste problem. The AFC estimated that more than 200,000 tonnes of clothing and textiles end up in landfills every year in Australia, and fast fashion exacerbates this problem. Brands in the fast fashion industry rely on cheap and low-quality materials that quickly fall apart after a few wears, leading to excessive use of natural resources, high energy consumption, and pollution via microplastics.
In addition to the environmental issues, fast fashion exploits cheap labour in developing countries, compromising safe working conditions and perpetuating poverty. Many of these workers are women and children, who work long hours for low wages. The rise of fast fashion is part of a larger social issue of a modern ‘disposable culture,’ as consumers value overconsumption and quick replacements over conscious consumption and long-term sustainability.
The CEO noted the growing shift towards conscious consumerism and buyers prioritising ethically and sustainably made products. The Global Sourcing Expo aims to promote transparency and accountability throughout the international sourcing supply chain, with many sustainability-focused seminars on the programme. The expo offers a platform for engaging with buyers, suppliers, and industry experts in a crucial conversation towards a more sustainable future for the fashion industry.