Stella McCartney has urged world leaders to stop “penalising those doing good” and incentivise the fashion industry to make sustainable choices.

On Friday, 11 June, chief executives from nine global businesses, including the fashion designer, met with world leaders during the G7 summit to discuss the acceleration of sustainable investment.

Ahead of the meeting, McCartney told Sky News it will be a “powerful opportunity to bring light to an industry” that has “gone under the radar forever on sustainable issues”.

The designer, who is the daughter of Sir Paul McCartney and late animal rights activist Linda McCartney started her namesake brand in 2001.

The brand does not use materials from animals, such as leather, feathers, skin or fur in its products and has a commitment to “being kinder to Mother Earth”, an ethos which McCartney said is rare across the fashion industry.

“I don’t think anyone really knows that fashion is one of the most harmful industries. I don’t think they know that 150 million trees are cut down for viscose, whereas I’ve managed to source a sustainable wood pulp in Sweden.

“I’m desperate to get across some of the facts and reality of how unfashionable the fashion industry is,” she said.

McCartney has urged world leaders to revisit their policies and incentivise young designers, explaining that current tax laws “penalise” those trying to implement sustainable practices.

“I’m not incentivised at all, in fact, I can be hit by up to a 30 per cent tax if I export a non-leather good into the USA and I have to put that in my margins, and that doesn’t help me as a business and I’m penalised for doing good if you like,” she said.

“If I put a slither of pig leather onto that vegan product, my tax is exempt. So these are the kind of conversations I want to have, I want to be encouraged to work this way,” she explained.

Since launching two decades ago, McCartney has sought out suppliers who can produce the same materials used across the fashion industry in a more sustainable way. She said she hopes governments will invest in them for a “sustainable future”.

“Sixty per cent of everything positive I do is just in how I supply my raw materials.

“I have the solutions. So I’m hopeful that if we can take these smaller companies that I’m working with, and we can [ask] guys like this to invest in them, then they can have a seat at the table and we can scale this up, and we can replace convention with a sustainable future,” she said.

By Saman Javed from The Independent.

June 16, 2021