Annual Sustainability Report 2022

Copenhagen Fashion Week 2022 Sustainability Report

This year’s Annual Sustainability Report (2022) marks a status update on the third and final year of Copenhagen Fashion Week's 2020-2022 Sustainability Action Plan.

While the newly published Annual Sustainability Report shares the status update of 2022, this article sets out to wrap up the three-year process and actions since we launched our first ever sustainability strategy!

35 out of the 37 targets met

Within the past three years, we successfully met 35 out of the 37 targets. Though proud of this achievement, we are dissatisfied with not meeting our carbon emissions goals.

Our action plan set out to reduce our carbon footprint with 30% by 2021 and 50% by 2022 compared to 45 tons of CO2 measured in August 2019 but already by 2021 we realised the hardship of meeting these reduction goals. Our hospitality programme, which accounts for nearly 90% of our total emissions, remains the area of concern due to emissions related to international flights. The reason we did not reach this goal is because we believe that our ability to impact the global industry to accelerate its sustainability efforts is interlinked with our position as an internationally visited and internationally acknowledged fashion week. As an agenda-setting fashion week whose sustainability efforts are looked at and recognised by the wider industry, Copenhagen Fashion Week has deliberately chosen not to reduce the number of international guests at Copenhagen Fashion Week events, even though doing so would immediately and significantly lower our carbon emissions due to fewer flights and allow us to reach our initial climate goal. Remining committed to reduce emission where possible, hospitality guests from neighbouring countries are hosted with train travel.

Alongside offsetting the carbon emissions of our hospitality programme and all other operations of fashion week, we worked strategically in all other areas to ensure a reduction in carbon emissions. We are glad to see our actions to reduce our carbon footprint related to our food and drinks, even with an expansion of fashion week events, has resulted in emission reductions both in the total and on the average carbon footprint for CPHFW event guests. By reconsidering our use of printed material and merchandise, we have reduced our carbon emissions for printed material by 55% and cut out merchandise completely.

Significant milestones

Looking back at to working on our targets, here are some milestones:

  • Our first year of implementing saw unexpected changes due to COVID-19, resulting in swift digitalisation of our fashion week. Faced with challenges, we did postpone some targets while still achieving on other targets, such as initiating our partnership with Junkbusters, who remains our waste collection partner for show brands.
  • We have gradually phased out the use of single-use materials. Starting with a ban on single-use plastic bottles in 2019 and a ban on single-use plastic cutlery in 2020, we now have banned all single-use materials in any part of the event production for brands on the official show schedule and for our own events. Our zero-waste policy requires the commitment of show brands to limit their resource use and to repurpose or recycle any materials used at the shows and is further enabled by signing up for CPHFW’s mandatory trash sorting service.
  • The Sustainability Requirements were selected by the government-funded programme (Grøn Genstart) Fremtidens Tekstilkrav as the framework to train 50 SMEs in the Danish fashion and textiles industry to lead to targeted action. In close collaboration with Lifestyle & Design Cluster, brands and consultancies worked together to further their sustainability agendas.
  • The Sustainability Requirements framework have been adopted by national and international partners counting the trade fair CIFF, Norwegian Fashion Hub, the Norwegian fashion event Oslo Runway and the Icelandic Fashion Council! It remains a central point for us to further our ambition to drive industry alignment and thus, explore opportunities with other industry platforms in the future.
  • Together with our partner Rambøll we created the Sustainability Requirements survey, an online survey for brands to fill out and share relevant documentation to disclose their actions on the Sustainability Requirements action points. The survey was first used in a pilot test with 12 representative brands in terms of size and sustainability level and is now, as of AW23, a crucial part of the admission process of CPHFW to screen the brands according to the Minimum Standards.
  • Announcing the AW23 brand lineup by end of 2022, we issued the first fashion week edition where all show brands have been screened according to our Minimum Standards. The CPHFW Sustainability Committee, led by Rambøll and supported by In futurum and Dansk Fashion & Textile as advisors, jointly assessed brands' sufficiency in their answers.
  • With this strong focus on guiding brands through the Sustainability Requirements, we have created various knowledge sharing materials and hosted various activities. These include for example the CPHFW toolbox, webinars or external consultancy.

Looking ahead

Our 2023–2025 Action Plan, to be released in the beginning of 2023, will map out Copenhagen Fashion Week’s pathway in the next three years. Based strongly on the 2020-2022 Action Plan it will EXPAND on areas with additional potential while setting NEW targets for us as an organisation as well as our community.

is to continue being an agenda-setting platform that uses its voice to accelerate sustainability efforts in the fashion industry. Copenhagen Fashion Week approaches sustainability holistically by focusing on environmental and social challenges and by acknowledging cultural and behavioural aspects that are crucial in the long run to reinventing and innovating business models. That is why Copenhagen Fashion Week aspires to LEAD BY EXAMPLE by being not just an inspirational fashion event but an organisation that comprehensively addresses sustainability not only for our benefit but that of the brands and partners we work with.

We are excited to share our continuous strategic effort on sustainability with you soon and we hope it will inspire you to act.