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Velkomsttale ved Copenhagen Fashion Summit den 12. maj 2016

Udenrigsminister Kristian Jensens velkomsttale ved Copenhagen Fashion Summit den 12. maj 2016


  • Your Royal Highness, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome – especially to our foreign guests. I’m pleased to see your active engagement and participation in this year’s Fashion Summit.
  • I would like to start by taking you back to April 24 2013. That day the Rana Plaza textile factory in Bangladesh collapsed killing more than 1100 and wounding 2500. That was a game changer for the international fashion and textile industry.


  • Rana Plaza is a symbol of our common responsibility to work for a global fashion industry, where sustainability and productivity goes hand in hand. Our common aim must be to avoid future Rana Plazas. To promote better rights and conditions in the international fashion and textile industry. And to ensure a sustainable business model.


  • Fashion is about how to make people look their best. Sustainable Fashion is about how to make people be their best.


  • DK is committed to take the lead in creating a sustainable global fashion value chain and become the first sustainable fashion nation. This we want to do hand in hand with the responsible and forward looking Danish fashion industry.
  • Not only for the sake of the workers and producers. But because sustainability is simply good business. An example: A company that focuses on sustainable production and responsible management of supply chains builds a more robust enterprise. Activities that help reduce the use of energy, minimize waste and ensure decent working conditions in the supply chain will have a positive effect on the company’s triple bottom line people, profit and planet.
  • How do we do that? Politically, we must push for common global frameworks based on UNs guiding principles for business and human rights. That must ensure that the rules of the game are the same no matter who the buyer is and where the producer is located.
  • Global political partnerships are crucial to improve framework conditions in the industry. Agreements as the Bangladesh Accord and EU’s Sustainability Compact. And the new EU conclusions on responsibility in the global value chain of European businesses that will be agreed upon in Brussels today.


  • And we must take our own political initiatives to further this agenda; DK work closely with partner countries as Bangladesh to improve working conditions and create a level playing field for business, where sustainability does not mean that you lose in the global competition.


  • Through the Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) we have created a ‘Race to the Top’ initiative in the textile industry in Vietnam in close cooperation with the Vietnamese government. Our initiative is expected to improve productivity while raising social and environmental standards and creating responsible value chains.
  • Systemic change requires collaboration between stakeholders that don’t automatically partner in the current system, such as competitor brands. Through unifying efforts and defining a common agenda, a level playing field is created which can be raised by improving minimum labour, building and environmental performance standards.
  • Systemic change also implies collaboration between public and private stakeholders on finding innovative solutions to current system failures. Manufacturers are often confronted with the need to cut costs and deal with low margins, making it difficult for them to stop unsustainable practices and invest in sustainable ones. Here buyers, national governments, investors and other stakeholders have the potential to unlock positive change by encouraging and incentivising suppliers to produce more sustainably.


  • Politicians cannot solve the world’s challenges on our own. We need private sector innovators who can push towards increased sustainability in production. The fashion industry has the potential to be such an innovator addressing the challenges in the sector.


  • In 2015 the Danish branch organizations developed a National Action Plan to strengthen the Danish fashion and textile industry. The ambition is to integrate sustainability in the business strategies of Danish Brands. With financial support from the Danish government. This approach is business driven and makes sustainability a strategy to gain a competitive advantage. That is the future.


  • Sustainability is not a zero-sum game. It is the glue that holds the new UN global goals for sustainable development together. The workers, producers, societies and our industries all gain from having a strategic focus on sustainability in the fashion and textile industry.
  • I belive from my heart that sustainabillity is good for business. But even if that is not always clear, we must still act.
  • I grew up with the words of my mother, who told me that the earth I walk on is a gift from my ancestores. A gift that I recived on one condition: that I will pass it on to my children in a better state, than I recived it from my parentes. I will not let my self end in a situation where my children many years from will ask my: Dad, why didn't you do anything to ensure a sustainable future for us.


  • We must work together on a global, European and national level. And build strong private-public partnerships to reach this common goal. Let this be the spirit for this year’s Fashion Summit and our future cooperation on promoting a sustainable fashion and textile industry.


  • Thank you.

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