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Freshfields clothes swap initiative

Reducing the environmental impact of fast fashion

Freshfields’ Manchester-based Global Centre was looking for ways to lessen its environmental impact. An initiative run by the Centre’s Green Impact Group and Gender Equality Network (GEN) was created to create awareness and encourage the repurposing of clothes.

The Global Centre Clothes Swap invited colleagues in the Global Centre to tackle the impact of fast fashion by bringing up to 10 items of clothing to be swapped. All items not swapped were donated to local charities.

Emily Hopkins, product development assistant in the Freshfields Hub, said: ‘Fast fashion has a huge impact on the environment. The UN in 2018 said that fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater, 10 per cent of global carbon emissions and is the second biggest polluter of water globally. If we don’t try to remedy this, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.

‘Our hope is that this initiative will shed some light on what our shopping can mean for the environment and the future, and hopefully encourage people and ourselves to take small steps towards more sustainable behaviour.’

The initiative is also an example of how inclusive, local groups like the Green Impact Group, the Global Centre’s environmental sustainability engagement group, and the GEN, which supports the promotion of gender equality, can come up with pragmatic ways to address our environmental impact.

As a firm, Freshfields is committed to managing its environmental impact as part of our global responsible business strategy. We also advise clients on a range of sustainability-related issues.