Takeaways from the island that puts democracy on the agenda

Back on the bus after crossing the Baltic Sea, we reflected on our first visit to ‘Folkemødet’ (People’s Meeting) on the island of Bornholm. The four days with plus 2.500 events and climate, environment, and sustainability as top scorers took us from losing track to finding inspiration. Both as a company in the clothing industry and as people. Conclusion: We came with one intent and came home with something utterly different.

Enjoying what is makes an impact

A simple breakfast, enough water for a dab wash, a hedgehog walking by, or the soundtrack of the grass—our joy seems more profound when our possibilities are not innumerable. Which they usually are. We need to sense that occasionally to get better at enjoying what is. Just before our trip to Bornholm, we had arranged a two-day sales meeting with that theme to massage into the hearts of our team that the world needs us to move from more to better. The planet cannot deliver more constantly; we must unlearn that more is the solution and instead get something better out of what is available.

Green presence works on several levels

We had chosen bus, ferry, tent, and bicycles as a framework for our ‘Folkemøde’. Tranquillity, room for reflection, and time alone as a contrast to talks, inspiration, and an incredible crowd of diverse people get five stars from us. Nothing like nature can create instant grounding. All you need is a sunray.

The greater the diversity, the greater the resilience

'Folkemødet' presented an unusual integrated mix of organizations, political parties, professional and voluntary associations, activists, and businesses. Together, they brought perspectives from different angles to solve challenges both within their industries and across interests. We experienced the most exciting debates where diversity was the most significant. An important reminder that we are each other's world; Across the value chain, across industries, across agencies.

Better together—an urgent matter for our industry

The fashion and textile industry is the EU's 4. most significant climate sinner. We need to take responsibility, but no one can reduce the industry's negative impact and create better solutions on their own. We must help each other to help the world; an important step is growing our joined presence and power. Wherever we look, the future is about collaboration and relationships, and 'Folkemødet' can uniquely and democratically frame that.

This year, Our Units participated on SF’s stage with Denmark’s Lifestyle & Design Cluster and the political think tank The Textile Revolution to debate sustainable textiles and the EU’s role in that matter. The highlights were:

  • Research and knowledge are crucial to getting sustainable fibres with better durability so that the manufacturers can make better choices.
  • We need to push the business models so that it becomes attractive to produce more durable and more expensive clothing—cheap and fast fashion is way too accessible nowadays.
  • As consumers of clothes, we all need to gain knowledge and think to make more sustainable choices starting from now—hopefully, better legislation will make our choices easier in the future.


The fashion and textile industry in numbers

  • The industry is the 4th largest climate sinner in the EU
  • Danes buy an average of 15 kg of clothes a year (the average in the EU is 13 kg)
  • On average, Danes wear a piece of clothing four times
  • In Denmark, 1/3 of all new clothes are never sold
  • 667 tonnes of unused textiles were burned in Denmark in 2020

Source: Panel debate, Tent of World Goals, Folkemødet 2022: How can the fashion and textile industry become sustainable?


Coming with one intent, connecting to another

After having consumed all the impressions, here’s where we are: Let’s get together and plan for next year’s 'Folkemøde' to increase collaboration and awareness of what needs to be done in our industry. Let's turn up the dialogue and understanding to initiate subsequent collaborations and actions. And let’s not forget that thousands and thousands of clothes users are present at 'Folkemødet'—hopefully ready to be involved in the more responsible handling of clothes.

Spending time at Bornholm reminded us that it is our democratic responsibility to use our voice. As organizations, companies, and individuals. Of course, you can go to 'Folkemødet' to have a good time and enjoy lots of inspiration and ice cream. We did that. We will do that next time too. But you also leave with greater insight, network, and responsibility.

Tags: People