August 5, 2021

How Copenhagen Fashion Week wants to become sustainable

3 min read

Today sees the start of Copenhagen Fashion Week (CFW)–for the first time digital-only. While the pandemic made it impossible to organize physical events, the team behind CFW works on making changes to the way the event is executed, and to encourage the industry to take steps towards becoming more sustainable. Therefore, Copenhagen Fashion Week has just unveiled its first Sustainability Report to give an overlook of what has happened since the official launch of its ‘Sustainability Action Plan’ a year ago.

The time frame for the ‘Sustainability Action Plan’ is set 2020-2022, while Copenhagen Fashion Week had announced in early 2019 its goal to intensify efforts to become a more sustainable event and industry platform.

The initiative unfolds not only how the event itself will transition, but also how new standards for brands who wish to showcase their collections at Copenhagen Fashion Week will be introduced.

Copenhagen Fashion Week image pic

Photo: Copenhagen Fashion Week

Copenhagen Fashion Week image pic

To underline its goals, Copenhagen Fashion Week established in early 2019 a sustainability advisory board (members include Charlotte Eskildsen of Designers Remix, Franciska Rosenkilde, Mayor of Culture & Leisure City of Copenhagen and Nicolaj Reffstrup of Ganni, among others) and initiated a strategic process in cooperation with knowledge partner In Futurum focusing on selected UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular the following three:

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
For instance in June 2019 CFW initiated a ban on single-use plastic bottles at all Copenhagen Fashion Week events, facilities, shows and showrooms, effective as of the August 2019 (s/s ’20) edition of fashion week.
It also published a free 15-step guide to inspire fashion brands to produce more responsible shows, presentations and events. The guide will be updated each season to reflect new insights and knowledge on responsible event production.
In terms of its own production of fashion week activities, it always wants to prioritize selecting sustainable options for supplies, including organic, vegetarian and preferably locally sourced food and snacks, sustainable beverages, no single-use plastic cutlery, straws or tableware, the most environmentally friendly busses available and electric cars.
It has stopped using goodie bags and stopped producing new seasonal staff uniforms.
The goal is to rethink the whole waste systems in all aspects of event production, with zero waste by 2022.

SDG 13: Climate Action
According to Copenhagen Fashion Week its own operations have been climate compensated and it supports two Verified Carbon Standard and Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance Gold Level projects through Rensti, respectively tree planting (Tist) and forest conservation (Kariba).
It offsets the flights and hotel accommodation of Copenhagen Fashion Week’s invited international guests, its official opening dinner, the press busses (including the organic food and beverages served on the busses), logo stickers for cars and runs a climate-neutral website. Furthermore it only uses electric cars during Copenhagen Fashion Week.
In 2020 CFW’s goal was to measure the event’s entire carbon footprint, including shows and presentations.
The goal is to reduce CWF’s climate impact by 50% by 2022.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals
Whenever possible CFW claims to only work with responsible suppliers and partners pioneering sustainable products or who have established ambitious sustainability strategies. The main areas of focus are food, snack and beverage suppliers for press busses and other vehicles, merchandise partners as well as its hotel partner.

Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week

Photo: Copenhagen Fashion Week

Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week

“Despite a challenging year, we believe that the status of our Sustainability Action Plan shows the potential of our strategy and three-year targets to inspire and push fashion companies to embrace more sustainable business practices. Although unable to meet every one of the goals set for 2020, most goals were accomplished and we look forward to continuing the work,” says Cecilie Thorsmark, CEO, Copenhagen Fashion Week.

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