It sounds like a brave new World, what the Nordic countries are planning: supported by the politics, the region is aiming to become the world leader in sustainable design, consumption and production.

With the presentation of the new report “Mapping sustainable textile initiatives and a potential roadmap for a Nordic action plan” in July, the Nordic Council of Ministers (a regional collaboration, involving Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland) demonstrates its willingness to transform the whole fashion industry and fashion consumption within their countries and abroad. The report aims to chart a plan for a coordinated Nordic effort towards sustainable development in textiles and identify ongoing initiatives in the area. Contributors include the national Institute for Consumer Research, the Sustainable Fashion Academy, the Nordic Fashion Association, the Swedish Environmental Research Institute and the Copenhagen Resource Institute.

Following the Nordic “Vision 2050”, the Nordic fashion and textile industry is aiming to become the world leader in sustainable design, consumption and production. To achieve this goal, the report is not afraid to point at the most problematic type of fashion: fast fashion. To “replace fast fashion” is on the top of its list of necessary improvements “to reduce the amount of textiles in circulation”, the report says. “This will reduce the production of waste and the use of chemicals.” Considering the Nordic countries as the home countries of fast fashion brands like H&M and Bestseller etc., this aim is quite courageous. The second step is not as surprising, since it demands the reduction of resource input. “This includes various forms of circulatory thinking, material efficiency, as well as commercial forms of recycling and waste management.” As the third step, the report demands more local production and the greater appreciation of good quality and lasting value. The fourth step finally addresses the social aspect of fashion and its discriminating preference of the young and thin, which doesn’t fit inclusive and democratic societies.  So changing and educating the consumer plays an integral role in the whole action plan.

To reach the vision of 2050, the tangible initiatives the report outlines will be implemented up to and including 2017. They are meant as the basis for a more resource-efficient and sustainable Nordic textile and fashion industry that will be free of harmful chemicals by 2020.

Besides the overall goal to reduce the environmental impact of fashion production and consumption, the plan presents this shift towards more sustainability in fashion as an economic chance for the Nordic countries. Since all of the Nordic countries focus on green transition and are, in international terms, among the leading countries in green growth, the countries already support the development of greener processes and technologies and therefore are to benefit from their role by creating new jobs.

The full report can be downloaded here.