2024 Eco-Steward of the Year: Global Fashion Agenda

Pamela Coke Hamilton

A discussion with Global Fashion Agenda, Federica Marchionni, CEO, accepting

Federica Marchionni is currently the Chief Executive Officer at Global Fashion Agenda (GFA). Founded in Denmark, GFA is a non-profit organization with the ultimate vision to create a net positive fashion industry for the people and the planet across entire eco-system.

Let's hear from her with just a few questions in lead up to April 16!

With 2030 around the corner already, is there one word or phrase to sum up the motivation needed to get there?  

The fashion industry and its leaders must take urgent steps to transform their current business model and lead with a net positive mindset. Action at large and innovation at scale are needed to reach 2030 targets and place us on the necessary pathway for progress. To safeguard our planet and nurture the well-being and livelihoods of all its people and inhabitants, all sector actors - including brands, retailers, manufacturers, as well as consumers, citizens, NGOs, innovators, policymakers and investors - have to take holistic and measurable actions towards a sector transformation. Innovation is a fundamental tool to enable action and, ultimately, unlock the next level for the industry.

Where do you see immediate impacts to support clean oceans as it relates to fashion?
The fashion industry too is a major consumer and polluter of both freshwater sources and the oceans with implications spanning the value chain. Immediate impact lies in working towards water stewardship to mitigate water risks and contribute to positive basin outcomes across the global garment value chain. The GFA Monitor identifies action areas, including pursuing context-driven approaches informed by local contexts and aligned with broader company climate and biodiversity strategies, stakeholder engagement across the entire value chain, mitigating microfibre pollution, chemical mapping & tracking, and chemical conformance.

Describe one inspiring takeaway from COP28?
The call to transition away from fossil fuels and transform how we source and consume energy calls for us to implement tangible solutions. More than 70% of the fashion industry's GHG emissions come from upstream activities, and current operations predominantly rely on non-renewable energy sources, such as petroleum, gas, oil, and coal. It is empirical that the fashion industry supports suppliers in procuring renewable energy. Recognizing the need to increase the availability of renewable energy, GFA, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and our impact partners BESTSELLER and H&M Group introduced the Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to significantly increase the availability of renewable energy in key manufacturing regions like Bangladesh.

What's next for the Renewable Energy Initiative?
The offshore wind project is currently in early-stage development by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) in collaboration with a local partner Summit Power. The pre-feasibility studies have been completed and the project has received an in-principle approval to conduct feasibility studies to further advance the development of the project. If development is successful, operations are expected to commence in 2028. The wind project would have an approximate capacity of 500MW, making it the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in Bangladesh to support the country in reaching its goal of supplying 40% of the nation’s power from renewable sources by 2041. The project is expected to contribute to substantial job creation, stabilize energy supply, and reduce emissions by approximately 725,000 tones annually. We at GFA are now calling for more stakeholders in the fashion industry and beyond to come together and engage in facilitating renewable energy solutions.