Individuals and businesses increasingly demand that the packaging enclosing their products is not ecologically damaging, as awareness rises around the effect of packaging on the environment. Meanwhile, governments are pushing the packaging industry to reduce its environmental impact dramatically. Against this backdrop, cartonboard is gaining ever-greater favour and in many cases it is replacing plastic.
Impact investing, combining finance with sustainability, has been around since the 1940s, but in the last few years demand has strengthened as the environment reaches a crunch point. Policy-makers are now piling pressure on the private sector and the desire for positive investments is reaching a peak.
Some $22 billion was invested last year in impact projects, according to the Global Impact Investing Network. Ninety one per cent of last year’s projects equalled or bettered expected financial returns, and European development banks alone calculate that in a year they created four million jobs and $11 billion in local tax revenue.
The dire handling of materials, chemicals, water, emissions and waste poses a serious problem for the fashion industry. Each year the sector uses enough water to fill nearly 32 million Olympic swimming pools and emits carbon dioxide levels equivalent to 230 million cars, according to the Pulse of Fashion report. Meanwhile, consumers annually dump 92 million tonnes of clothing that could have been recycled.
“Projections show that in the worst case, the fashion industry will face distinct restrictions on one or more of its key input factors, leaving it unable to grow at the projected rate, and in the long run unable to continue its current operating model,” warns Eva Kruse, chief executive of non-profit Global Fashion Agenda.
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