Sustainability and circularity for the garment and footwear industry

Brands and stakeholders meet at an event organized by the Monitor for Circular Fashion


SDA Bocconi welcomed 50+ speakers, 150+ in person participants in the new Campus in Milan and 650+ online attendees at a three-day event jointly hosted by United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the Monitor for Circular Fashion part of SDA Bocconi School of Management Sustainability Lab: “Accelerating action for the sustainable and circular garment and footwear industry of the future”. The purpose? To share experience and renewed commitments for action towards improved sustainability and ethical practices in the garment and footwear sector, in conjunction with the project “Enhancing Traceability and Transparency for Sustainable and Circular Value Chains in Garment and Footwear”, jointly implemented with the UN’s International Trade Centre (ITC), with financial support from the European Union. This initiative is the culmination of several years of work with UNECE and hundreds of experts to improve sustainability in the garment and footwear sector.

The event took place during the Milan Fashion Week. Over the three days, industry stakeholders, policy makers, campaigners and academics gathered alongside companies and brands from the garment and footwear sector to take part in practical training on approaches and standards for improved traceability and transparency that can drive progress towards circular economic models.

In a mixed line up of roundtables, presentations and informal discussions, participants shared their commitments and experience in implementing the UNECE-brokered policy recommendations, guidelines and standard, known as The Sustainability Pledge.

The Sustainability Pledge a new UN-brokered package adopted in April 2021 by UNECE Member States, of policy recommendations, guidelines and standard that, when implemented, enables industry actors to track and trace their products through the value chain and so make verifiable claims about their sustainability. A number of leading brands and industry actors are taking part in blockchain pilot projects to implement the UNECE toolbox. All interested industry actors committed to accelerate action towards a more sustainable and circular garment and footwear sector are invited to join UNECE Call to Action by submitting their pledge on

On the first day of the event the was presented from three representative partners of the SDA Bocconi’s Sustainability Lab Monitor for Circular Fashion powered by Enel X, which produced the Monitor for Circular Fashion Report 2021 presented at the opening of the event.

Partner companies of the Monitor joined the UNECE Call to Action by committing to specific Key Performance Indicators to measure the traceability, transparency and circularity performance of their products and processes.

The companies involved in the Monitor for Circular Fashion Report 2021 share the need to start from their data and a measurement of circularity in order to implement a strategic approach to sustainability and circularity, in the belief that traceability and transparency represent a fundamental tool against greenwashing.

The KPIs will be tested in the coming months during the UNECE pilot projects in order to find relevant and reliable indicators that garment and footwear companies can use to measure the traceability and transparency performance along the different activities of the value chain, thereby accelerating the transformational change towards sustainability and circularity.

The Monitor for Circular Fashion also presented a Managerial Agenda, recommending concrete and priority actions to improve the circularity performance of each company and the entire sector, starting with the measurement of circularity and the involvement of end users in circularity initiatives. The industry actions, identified as priorities by companies, are linked to increasing the level of traceability and transparency of fashion value chains, the resolution of circular fashion trade- and the enhancement of circularity pilot projects. The support of Policy Makers is seen as fundamental, especially for the improvement of waste collection, the acceleration of industrial symbiosis, and the development of consistent criteria throughout Europe for end-of-waste.

SDA Bocconi School of Management

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