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COPENHAGEN – The second edition of the Pulse of the Fashion Industry report released today by the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) says the business case for sustainability in the fashion industry has strengthened – even though its ‘Pulse Score’ remains weak, estimating that around one-third of the fashion industry has yet to take any action on environmental and social performance.

This year’s report, which once again draws on the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s self-assessment Higg Index tool, rated fashion’s sustainability ‘pulse’ at just 38 out of 100. This indicative score edged up just six points on last year which at the time, the report authors described as ‘weak’. This year, the authors say the pace of change isn’t going fast enough – or far enough.

Most progress on sustainability within the last 12 months reportedly came from fashion companies in the ‘mid-price segment’, which the report says accounts for about half of the fashion industry. It claims that small companies in the entry-price fashion segment lag behind, while large fashion companies made no progress. The report blames this on large fashion companies reaching a “technological and infrastructural ceiling”, which will no doubt raise a few eyebrows.

Nevertheless, the new report remains upbeat when it comes to the financial rewards for companies that pursue sustainability within their businesses.

“New data and calculations show that investments in resource efficiency, secure work environments and sustainable materials have the potential to boost the EBIT margin by up to 1-2 percentage points by 2030,” say the report’s authors.

Last year, the Pulse report courted some controversy and was slated by Greenpeace and the wool textile sector, which accused the Pulse report authors of being "in thrall to the growth-obsessed fast fashion industry” and of drawing “conclusions on incomplete lifecycle data”, respectively. An accusation the report’s authors strongly denied at the time.

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