Stella McCartney on 'green' fashion

Stella McCartney says how 'unfashionable the fashion industry is' for sustainability ahead of meeting world leaders at the G7.

Video Transcript

STELLA MCCARTNEY: What does it mean for me? You know, I think it's just a real-- I see it as a really powerful opportunity for me to actually bring light to an industry that I think has gone under the radar, actually, of late or forever on sustainable issues. You know, I don't think anyone really knows that the fashion industry 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, you know, in Sweden. So I don't think people know anything about it. So for me to be there with these world leaders is really exciting, very terrifying. Because I'm desperate to get across some of the facts and realities of how unfashionable the fashion industry is.

Well, we are an old industry and we rely on supply chains. So where, you know, my work, over 60% of the positive that I do is just in how I supply my raw materials. So we basically use the same materials on the whole in the fashion industry.

We use huge amounts of animal products. I'm a cruelty-free brand at Stella's. So that actually is one of the most harmful, the animal agriculture involved in the fashion industry. How many trees it's cutting down the rainforest, how many resources it is using inefficiently.

And one other side is it's deeply cruel, obviously. So there are a lot of problems that can be solved. If I can do it, anyone can do it. I think a little bit goes a long way. And I'm kind of here to encourage these world leaders to really look at laws, look at policy change.

How to incentivize the young designers of tomorrow, the young fashion houses. I'm not incentivized at all. In fact, I can be hit by up to a 30% tax when I export a non-leather good into the United States of America. And I have to put that in my margins. And that doesn't help me as a business, and I'm penalized for doing good, if you like.

If I put a sliver 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. I want the young designers of tomorrow to be encouraged this way.

I know if I can do it, anyone can do it. You know? And I know I'm privileged and I know that I've come from a specific background. But I know that I'm not a huge brand, I'm not a tiny brand. And I know that I've been solving problems from day one of trying to work in this way. And I have the solutions.

So I just-- you know, I'm hopeful that if we can take these smaller companies that I'm working with, and they're my suppliers, and we can take guys like this to invest in them and they can have a seat at the table, then we can scale this up. And we can replace convention with, you know, with a sustainable future.