Recovery is still a bold-faced word at G20.
The Group of Twenty, or G20, is a gathering of 20 of the world’s largest economies — including the U.S., China, Canada, Russia, Italy, Japan and more — to discuss pressing economic issues. Formed in 1999, the assembly can be thought of as a task force handling complex emergencies spanning everything from climate change, COVID-19 to the Russian war in Ukraine. Though the point is strategic financial and economic cooperation, often the events see unresolved issues, recurring geopolitical tension or lack of concrete commitments.
In line with the G20 theme for 2022, “Recover Together, Recover Stronger,” some outcomes included projects to accelerate sustainable infrastructure, reassured climate targets and $20 billion in associated financing under the new “Just Energy Transition Partnership.” The G20 countries also agreed to “calibrate” interest rate rises carefully to avoid stoking further inflation (as opposed to last year’s infusion of stimulus packages to buffer the pandemic’s economic toll).
They don’t often end so abruptly, but the 17th G20 summit — taking place Tuesday and Wednesday in Bali, Indonesia — was disrupted for an emergency sidebar meeting to discuss the missile that hit Polish territory near Ukraine late Tuesday, killing two Polish citizens. Though its origin is still unconfirmed, the event prompted world leaders from Canada, the European Commission, the European Council, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. to release a joint statement in which they, again, “reaffirm our steadfast support for Ukraine and the Ukrainian people in the face of ongoing Russian aggression.”
With the Russian war ongoing, brands and retailers have taken action — offering aid, shutting Russian business outposts and the like. Russian oil — and polyester produced from it — is still a hushed subject, however.
Though some issues are recurring, industry stakeholders remain more motivated than ever to see sustainable development at the top of recovery plans.
“To the extent that we’re able to be more competitive in international trade is a good thing,” Adam Friedman, chief strategy officer, office of the provost for research and strategic partnerships at Pratt Institute, told WWD.
Having founded the New York Industrial Retention Network (a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening New York City’s manufacturing sector sustainably), his work naturally extends to historic manufacturing centers like the Garment District. Speaking more to the perspective of New York’s economic value and sustainable fashion, he added: “New York City just has tremendous brand value.…To the extent that we can incorporate more ethical fashion standards and trade is going to be good for New York. We’re an expensive city. The more we value better-made, better-quality and better-designed products that’s inevitably a good thing.”
Another top headline from G20 was how U.S.-China relations are, once again, on better footing. To that, environmental activists are feeling more encouraged than ever to see climate change wrestled into submission.
Ocean Wise chief executive officer Lasse Gustavsson told WWD, “We are encouraged the U.S. and China are back at the table to develop climate change solutions.…As the world’s two largest economies, the choices of these nations will have ripple effects for other nations but taking action is what matters today. I look forward to seeing these talks turn into action.”
Certain climate crisis battle cries are getting louder. “Cows and sheep are the top two global producers of methane, 30 percent of the planet’s surface has now been cleared for agricultural land, and cattle farming accounts for up to 80 percent deforestation in the Amazon,” PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman told WWD. “So animals used for clothing must be part of the U.S.-China sustainability equation. The production of PETA-approved vegan leathers and wool-free fabrics require fewer resources, less water, and zero animal lives, and everyone can do their part by buying and wearing vegan.”