Pulse of the Fashion Industry (2018)

This report uses new data and calculations to show that investments in resource efficiency, secure work environments, and sustainable materials can benefit the environment and improve profitability.

Primary Functions

  • Learn about the financial gain of taking action on sustainability in the fashion industry.
  • Measure sustainability performance against others in the industry and find guidance for advancing towards more responsible ways of doing business.
  • Understand the importance of a collective effort to achieve lasting impact at scale.

Detailed Description


2017 was a turning point for sustainability. Overall 75% of fashion companies have improved their score com- pared to last year – raising the pulse of the industry by six-points. This is impressive and encouraging. However, more needs to be done.

The fashion industry has a responsibility to continue to improve its environmental and social performance. As one of the largest and most creative industries, it has a vital interest in securing a prosperous and sustainable future. Environmental and social stress are enormous, and they are continuously growing, in line with customer demand. In addition, consumer behavior and rapidly evolving technology will soon shape and challenge the industry in unpredictable ways. It is undeniable: the industry has to adapt.

The direction is set. Almost half of the fashion players (by market share) demonstrated that laying the foundation for change and initiating action can boost Pulse Scores, a performance measure of the sector developed by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), powered by the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index. The majority of this year’s improvement in Pulse Scores is driven by companies in the mid-price segment. It clearly indicates that moving to better practices has reached the mass market and is no longer a question of values or a privilege of large companies’ resources. And, even some companies of smaller size gained strong momentum, beginning to catch up to the frontrunners.

However, progress at the very top and among the weakest performers has lagged, each for different reasons. Many well-performing giant companies and luxury players are finding progress increasingly difficult. At the same time, almost one third of the fashion industry has yet to take action.

This year’s report aims to give guidance to companies looking to start or find further advances toward more responsible ways of doing business, by sharing proven best practices and defining bigger and bolder steps the industry must take. Taking action not only improves the social and environmental performance of the industry, but results in a strong business case – raising the EBIT margin by 1 to 2 percentage points.






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Topics & SDGs

WWF Mitigation

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