Will Sustainability awards engage in real change or just a quick fix?

CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards 2023
Ellen MacArthur Foundation, (2023) https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

September 24Th, CNMI Sustainble fashion awards 2023 went off in Milan. It is organized by CNMI(Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) and the Ethical Fashion Inisiative of the UN Agency ITC in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The event has been held for two years, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been responsible for advising and set the criteria for the winners.

According to the foundation there are three main principles that circular economy is based on:

  • Eliminate waste and pollution.
  • Circular products and materials.
  • Regenerate nature.


From what I learned in my undergrad, circular economics was defined as a system witch is based on the circular circuits in the nature. Reusing products and materials in a way that not only reduces waist but also means that there will be no waist produced at any time.(Svanemerket, 2023)

Gucci scooped the award

This years it was Gucci that brought the award home. They got awarded for their recent denim project where they incorporated regeneratively grown cotton with post-consumer recycled fibers. They also with this specific project aims to amplify their transparency with a digital product passport where you can follow the products journey through the supply chain(https://apparelresources.com/,2023)

Vouge,(2023) https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/resort-2024/gucci/slideshow/collection#1

You would think the winner is suppose to apply to all the criteria hence all the principles that is sat by The Ellen MacArthur Foundation at scale , but the award belongs to Gucci after connecting one of their projects to circular economic.(Carnansky, Vouge, 2023) This will make us believe that Gucci attends to do all of their other businesses as usual without taking a deep dive into their own fundamental economic system.

It is important to celebrate, motivate and recognize even the smallest accomplishments in relative to sustainability in the fashion industry. The question whether these small projects is worth being awarded by the most acknowledged «ethical and sustainable»- experts in the industry?

The head of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation´s reletaionship with CNMI admits that Gucci´s project does not translate to full circularity in the brand. «There is a long way to go, but we think what we´ve seen with this awards, they can set the direction of travel for the rest of the industry» he says (Carnansky, Vouge, 2023). That might be reasonable, but the question yet to be answered: Who will set the standard?

The powerful meaning of language

I experience the environment of sustainable fashion over time taking more place in grey areas. Meny of the discussions on the topic becomes vague. The arguments are vague, the focus are vague, the strategies are vague. I think this is based on the terms slowly loosing their power and the terminology in itself becomes vague.

Gucci denim project
Photo: Gucci // Colleceted: Vouge (2023).

People seems to forget the core definition of «Sustainability». The exact same is about to happen to other terms in the field. The definition of «Circular economics» are becoming vague as businesses claims to practice it and certainly when they get awarded for it.

With experts continue to recognize this small changes in the industry as well as contribute to take the power from the important terms I am afreid the industry will take to long to change as it already is too slow for what is required.

Apperel recources News-desk, (2023) https://apparelresources.com/business-news/retail/guccis-regenerative-denim-collection-wins-circularity-award-milan-fashion-week/

Carnansky, Vouge Business (2023), "The problem with fashion’s sustainability awards" ://www.voguebusiness.com/sustainability/the-problem-with-fashions-sustainability-awards-gucci-cnmi?status=verified

CNMI, https://www.cameramodafashiontrust.com/

Ellen MacArthur Foundation. https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

Ethical fashion Initiative "About" https://ethicalfashioninitiative.org/about

Svanemerket, (2023) https://svanemerket.no/miljo/sirkulaer-okonomi/

Ett kommentar til “Will Sustainability awards engage in real change or just a quick fix?”

  1. […] It is still some bigger brands with big scales that shows improvement. Gucci have created a «sustainable» denim collection where they are planning to include QR-codes with information about the product on the label when you buy it. You can read more about my opinion on Gucci´s new collection here. […]

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