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Promoting Global Environmental Action in the Fashion Industry

Middlebury College's Institute of International Studies Environmental Policy Program in collaboration with Fashion Revolution

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The United States is among the top 5 consumers of fast fashion globally and yet, in many countries in the world, including the United States, the fashion industry and its resulting harms remain unregulated. WFI believes that the adverse effects of the fast fashion industry pose a global challenge that necessitates an innovative multi-pronged approach and an interdisciplinary collaboration that provides critical research to human progress that can be put into action by governments and corporations to address the harmful effects of the fast fashion industry on the environment. This program will take on a multi-phase structure. 


In the first phase during the Spring of 2022, WFI is partnering with the Middlebury College of International Studies International Environmental Policy Program to provide in-depth policy recommendations with Fashion Revolution, the world’s largest fashion activism movement, mobilizing citizens, industry and policymakers through research, education and advocacy work. Waste and hazardous environmental impact caused by textile manufacturers are currently regulated within the United States, however, due to the globalized supply chains of the fast fashion industry, there is no framework in place that addresses the environmental damage and pollution caused by clothing that is consumed in the United States yet manufactured in countries where such regulations may not exist. The Middlebury team’s task is to recommend a regulatory framework or policy on holding retail giants accountable for adverse environmental outcomes resulting from their harmful manufacturing practices abroad, which often impact women who comprise the overwhelming majority of garment workers. 


The goal of this project is to research and analyze data available from Fashion Revolution and public reports of fashion industry companies to strengthen regulation and identify industry best practice and trends. The written report will be used by Fashion Revolution team for inclusion into the Fashion Transparency Index 2022 or its own questionnaire. The ultimate goal of the role is to increase awareness of the role of transparency and brand disclosure in improving the fashion industry’s sustainability and social impact. 


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