As sustainability becomes a global imperative, explore the cities that are setting the pace for change across the sustainable retail, design and infrastructure spheres.
Building circular economies
European regions are at the forefront of system change, which puts the climate crisis at the heart of economic strategies. Look to London’s environmental strategies that aim to improve air quality and create a low-carbon, circular economy by 2050.
Glimpse into the future of sustainable fashion at The Mills Fabrica, which combines a showroom, store, design lab, co-working and events space in one sustainably designed building. Customers can make an appointment with Nona Source, a resale platform that provides deadstock fabrics from LVMH. Visit the Barbican’s immersive Our Time On Earth exhibition, which explores how harnessing technology, ancient wisdom and working with nature can unlock solutions for the future.
Smart cities accelerate change
APAC excels in the expansion of smart cities and investing in tech to accelerate change. Singapore stands out for its biophilic urban architecture, but also within the sustainable startup scene. Young brands are innovating with tech: Hoow Foods uses AI to reformulate foods to have a higher nutritional profile, while WhatIF Foods creates nutrient-dense convenience foods via regenerative practices.
The ESG agenda
North American innovator cities recognise the need for future-proofed urban development, infrastructure and policy change. New York’s pending Fashion Sustainability Act orders large companies to disclose social and environmental practices.
Shop consciously at CFDA award-winning sustainable brand Bode for one-of-a-kind luxury pieces made of discarded materials including quilts, flags and tablecloths. The city’s food industry is working towards a more sustainable future, with restaurants required by law to compost waste and culinary institutions such as Eleven Madison Park shifting to become plant-based.
Cape Town’s abundant natural resources are used to produce textiles, as seen at menswear brand FIELDS, also contributing to nourishing ingredients for A-Beauty brands such as Plaiin that produces zero-waste soap and body oil bars.
Look to the Rwandan capital city, Kigali, as an emerging African city that puts climate change solutions at the core of policies. It was one of the first countries to ban plastic bags and aims to be a climate-resilient and low-carbon economy by 2050.
If you’re a subscriber, read more about WGSN’s pick of global sustainable cities in Sustainable Cities: Global Guide. Live now on the site.