The BoF Podcast | Greenwashing: It’s Time to Call in the Refs

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When it comes to sustainability, the fashion industry has long relied on self-regulation rather than external coercion. But often, these self-defined goals create a “convenient illusion,” said Tariq Fancy, former Chief Investment Officer of Sustainable Investing at BlackRock, in a speech at BoF VOICES 2022. . Indeed, activists like Fancy, consumers and investors are calling on government regulators to intervene.

“A lot of companies pretend to be dirty,” he said. “It’s time to call the referee.”

BoF Chief Sustainability Correspondent Sarah Kent speaks with Fancy this week on the BoF Podcast. Maxine Beda, Director of the New Standards Institute. Activist and Member of the House of Lords Baroness Margaret Omorola Young and former Timberland Chief Operating Officer Ken Packer explore the role regulation can play in creating a more sustainable fashion industry.

Key Insights:

  • Fancy believes we have passed the stage where self-regulation is acceptable. Businesses should no longer be held accountable for their own regulations. “It has to be a must,” said Fancy. “Then this girl could really turn the tide in 10 years.”
  • To get past greenwashing, “governments need to take bold action and tell people to be bold at the ballot box and at every opportunity,” says Baroness Young.
  • “Green bonds” and ESG must be left behind. Fancy specifically identifies ESG as a point of disenchantment, stating that it is essentially how the fashion system “paints itself green.” “This ESG of him can actually be detrimental if people don’t know that BS,” says Fancy. “[It’s] A convenient fantasy…where the world fixes itself and no sacrifices are required.
  • The United States paved the way with the proposed New York Fashion Act. A proposed law in New York state would be a “fundamental guardrail,” Bedda said, adding that all businesses that trade within the state and have sales in excess of $100 million would require minimum environmental standards. Set.

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