Biodiversity conservation

Sustainability performances: introduction to the Milano Unica classification (3)

This is the third of a series of 5 articles illustrating the classification of the sustainability performances of the samples of fabrics and accessories that will be exhibited in the "Sostenibilità Creativa FW 24-25" project. Sustainability performances are defined starting from 5 value areas: 1) Climate Action, 2) Chemical Safety, 3) Biodiversity Conservation, 4) Circular Economy, 5) Social Justice.


The UN Convention on Biological Diversity defines biodiversity as "the variety and variability of living organisms in the ecosystems in which they live". Biodiversity loss, therefore, is the reduction in the number or variety of species in ecosystems. The main drivers of biodiversity loss are the destruction and degradation of the ecosystems. The fashion industry causes a loss of biodiversity when: it contributes to soil degradation in agriculture and livestock breeding, to the destruction of forest systems, to the pollution of watercourses or endangers the survival of biological species and essences.


On the other hand, healthy, functional ecosystems rich in biodiversity are necessary for producing many fibres and materials used in the textile and fashion industry that come from the natural environment, from crops, farms and forests. A commitment is needed by individual brands and textile manufacturing companies and by the whole of the fashion textile business community to ensure the security of supplies and the very future of the industry that uses these materials. Companies in the supply chain must ensure that sourcing strategies are oriented towards biodiversity conservation and do not lose sight of the connection between the risk of biodiversity loss and the risk of loss of material supply sources.


Awareness must also be strengthened about the negative effect of biodiversity loss on climate change. As a matter of fact, biodiversity loss and climate change are interdependent and mutually reinforcing: one accelerates the other and vice versa. For example, protecting forests could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In turn, rising global temperatures increase the risk of species extinction and biodiversity loss. 


The selection criterion Milano Unica adopted in the biodiversity conservation pillar focuses on three areas.

  • Use of materials from responsibly managed forests
  • Use of materials from regenerative and organic agriculture
  • Use of materials produced without cruel practices on animals and coming from sustainable breeding systems

In line with these principles, in the Milano Unica classification system, the Biodiversity Conservation label is awarded to a sample if the exhibitor's declarations reveal compliance with one or more of the abovementioned categories.


Finally, we remind the reader that the evaluation of the samples' compliance with the selection criteria is based on the exhibitors' declarations, for which a consistency check is envisaged and a verification of the correct attribution of the certification labels.