15 August 2023
For generations, Indigenous Peoples have been guardians of nature, stewards of the land, writes Textile Exchange.
So many of fashion’s raw materials come from the land. In many cases, land that traditionally belongs to Indigenous Peoples. And the production of these raw materials – such as cotton, wool, mohair, leather, and viscose – has a profound impact on both local communities and ecosystems.
And yet, of the 252 companies that reported on biodiversity in the Textile Exchange 2022 Materials Benchmark, only 5% said they are consulting with Indigenous leaders and communities.
This needs to change.
Today is UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, and this year’s theme is Indigenous Youth as Agents of Change for Self-determination.
Now is the time to recognize and respect the enormous contribution of Indigenous Peoples towards the protection of biodiversity on earth.
A “just transition” means companies not only listening to Indigenous communities, but actively working together and providing the support they need. If we are to create a global production system that protects, restores, and regenerates local ecosystems, Indigenous Peoples – especially Indigenous youth – must play a key decision-making role.