The article I have chosen to analyze this week is this one from ABC News. The article, titled “Sustainability in the fashion industry faces an uphill climb,” was published on January 7th, 2020 and written by Lizzie Knight of the Associated Press. 

Personally, I think that this story could have been reported or put together better. There’s so many different conversations going on when you talk about sustainability in the fashion industry. This story tries to cover a lot of those different topics quickly within a 5-minute read, but they should have just focused on one main topic and covered it in depth. 

Out of all the different points they make, the overall negative environmental impacts of fashion, Zara’s pledge to go sustainable, the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action at the COP24 climate conference, the Environmental Audit Committee proposal failures, and the unethical labor practices of the Rana Plaza disaster, only three sources are used. 

Two of these sources also only gave very short, one sentence quotes. While the credentials of the sources all correlate to the respective areas of the story, I think that more context is needed from them. 

Had the author used larger interviews, or had asked their sources different questions, I think the story would have flown better and had smoother transitions. 

For example, one of the longer paragraphs in the story is all about  how this Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action is a big step forward for sustainability and will impact the fashion industry across multiple sectors, but the source used to back this up only says that the charter came when “we needed it most.” That’s the whole use of the source. 

Patricia Espinosa, who gave the quote, is the executive secretary for UN Climate Change. Maybe it was a rushed interview, but I’m sure that she has much more to say about the topic. In fact, I think that this section could have been a whole story in itself if it had been thoroughly reported. 

There’s a lot more to unpack here, and as a reader, I felt unsatisfied with the amount of reporting done. As someone who cares about sustainability, I’m reading these articles to learn something and become informed about policies and decisions, but I don’t really understand the whole history and progress of the charter based on this article. 

Luckily, all of the sources used in the article, though they may not have been used to their full potential, were credible. They’re all respected professions of high ranks within their respective fields and after doing quick Google searches for each, you can easily find their accolades as well as other reputable pieces of news content they’ve been quoted in. 

One more thing I wished the piece would have done was linked to their outside research. While there are a few active links throughout the story, they only lead to another page suggesting further reading from ABC News. 

I imagine this is to get the reader to stay on the site and explore for longer, but it’s not helpful in discerning where all of the facts presented in the story are from. 

There were some statements in the story, as well as statistics, that I would have liked to know more about. 

For example, in the second paragraph, the author credits the United Nations Environment Program as the source of statistics about fashions water usage and carbon emissions. Had the place they got this information been linked, it would have made the story more credible and user friendly for the readers instead of them going out of their way to fact check this. 

There’s another statement in the fourth paragraph where the author states that consumers are “demanding ethical practices and responsible retailing,” but there’s no source that backs up this statement mentioned or linked. 

While I know from previous knowledge that this is true, not everyone reading this story will, and I think that this is a pretty bold claim to not have any sort of resource to back it up. 

Overall, I would give this story a B- grade. While I think that the story is on the right track, the reporting and composition seem rushed. There are key elements and important facts from notable sources present, but they could have been developed further to give the reader a deeper understanding of the story’s topic across the board.