Tale ved åbning af konferencen "Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012" i Operaen, København den 3. maj 2012

Offentliggjort den 3. maj 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Nordic Fashion Association first for inviting me to participate and speak here at the opening of Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2012 but, more importantly for hosting this Summit.

A summit focusing on a very critical issue:  How to tackle the growing social and environmental issues in the fashion and textile industry, and more specifically discussing the consumers’ role in the industry’s necessary transition towards more sustainable and socially responsible conditions.

The fashion and textile industry is one of the largest industries in the global economy.  In Denmark it is the fourth largest export industry and as such plays a key role in the Danish economy.

However, the global fashion and textile industry also holds a much less fashionable top position. The fashion and textile industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. Water consumption, CO2 emissions, waste, use of chemicals and transport of goods are serious problems.

And the industry also faces challenges on social and ethical issues, such as working conditions and wages.

In our globalised world there is no doubt that collective action is needed to address these challenges.

Therefore it is extremely pleasing to see so many people – more than 1000 – from all over the world, gathered here today at the Opera House in Copenhagen.  

A warm welcome to all of you and a special welcome to all of you who have joined us from abroad..

- Representatives from international fashion and textile companies, 
- industry experts,
- designers, 
- NGOs,
- policy and opinion makers

I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate organisers..

- the Nordic fashion industry 
- and the Danish Fashion Institute on behalf of Nordic Fashion Association

Congratulate them for taking the lead on addressing these challenges and putting together the ambitious and pioneering initiative behind this important event.

We are all here because we share the same vision. And that vision is clear.  To protect and preserve our planet and fellow human beings.

History shows that consumers can play a pivotal role in transitioning an industry or a society.

We can see it in the food industry where; for example, consumers demanded organic products and by doing so, created a new market. And we are seeing something similar happen in the cosmetic and beauty industry with natural and organic products.

In order to be conscious, information is needed and a conscious consumer can be very forceful.

Can the conscious fashion consumer play a similarly pivotal role in transitioning the fashion industry towards more sustainable business models? Sustainable business models that significantly reduce the social and environmental impacts of the industry and at the same time create new business opportunities.

Research shows that despite numerous industry efforts, ethical purchasing happens most often when it coincides with the consumer’s budget - and even then it is not guaranteed.

Sustainable fashion consumption has been even more difficult to achieve because so many other factors influence consumer choices, from the item’s look and feel to the consumer’s mood or even the weather.

The fashion industry has struggled to create products that are affordable, fashionable, and sustainable.

To address this problem, this Fashion Summit will present a vision and framework for sustainable fashion consumption based on research and dialogue with leaders in the fashion industry.

As an industry, if you succeed in moving the consumer, you can create real change.

As resources become scarce and more expensive, innovation in fashion is becoming all about sustainability - clothes, shoes, and accessories that look great and have the lightest possible environmental and social footprints.

That doesn’t mean 100% sustainable collections, more that the entire production process is reconsidered with respect to material choice, chemicals used, preproduction and social conditions.

Zero impact production is impossible, so we are seeing innovative and environmentally conscious designers choosing sustainable elements that mean something to them.  For example, a designer might choose to employ an indigenous community to produce its product or material by hand instead of using a factory, thus providing income for families and supporting the community as a whole.

The Nordic Fashion Association is about creating a global movement on sustainable fashion that activates and engages the fashion consumer in new and innovative ways.

I strongly support the efforts made by the Nordic fashion industry with the NICE initiative and this Fashion Summit, and hope they will serve as an inspiration for the fashion industry globally.

The fashion industry is full of great ideas and creative people. People who are eager to embrace change and who are always ahead of time. It is and has always been an industry that picks up on and mirrors the developments in society.

With so many of you here today from all around the world, you could easily conclude that it is becoming almost unfashionable to ignore the growing environmental and social issues in the fashion and textile industry.

An exciting program lies ahead of us with key note speakers from:

- fashion brands
- experts
- politicians 
- and NGO’s .  

All of whom will share their insights into how the fashion industry can become more sustainable and how they believe fashion consumers can be motivated to make sustainable fashion choices.

I wish you all an inspiring and successful summit.

Thank you.

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