Companies must now release quantitative details on how they will meet climate change goals in line with UN Paris Agreement.
Traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone Lands (SAN FRANCISCO, CA) — Over the weekend, major fashion brands announced a Fashion Pact at the G7 Summit in France, outlining commitments focused on reducing the fashion industry’s contribution to climate change. This is the first time major industry players have set a level of ambition consistent with the UN Paris Agreement goal of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
More than 30 companies signed the pact, including Kering, Gap, Nike, Adidas, H&M, and Chanel. The signatories committed to implementing Science Based Targets to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, including sustainable sourcing of raw materials and 100 percent use of renewable energy in their supply chains by 2030.
The pact is a set of guidelines that is not legally binding.
In response to the announcement, Stand.earth, an international environmental organization that was instrumental in pushing Levi’s to make its groundbreaking climate commitment in 2018, said the pact was promising but called for companies to release quantitative details outlining how they will meet the 1.5 degree Celsius reduction target in line with the UN Paris Agreement.
“The continued momentum in the fashion industry to address its massive contribution to climate change is promising. This level of ambition marks the first major effort from the fashion industry with the potential to meet the scale of the climate change crisis at hand. We’re encouraged to see the Fashion Pact includes a commitment to do as much as possible to reduce and avoid carbon emissions throughout global supply chains, with a focus on renewable energy and low-carbon material sourcing,” said Kristina Flores, Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth.
“If companies in the Fashion Pact are committed to meeting the targets of the UN Paris Agreement — and saving millions of lives worldwide in the process — they must now work to release quantitative details outlining how they will accomplish these goals. As signatories work toward becoming ‘net zero’ by 2050, they must ensure that at least two-thirds of their greenhouse gas reductions come from energy efficiency measures and a transition to renewable energy across the entire supply chain, and avoid relying on false solutions like renewable energy credits or carbon offsets,” said Liz McDowell, Director of Campaign Strategies at Stand.earth.
Stand.earth launched its “Too Dirty to Wear” campaign focusing on Levi’s in December 2017, calling on the company to clean up the climate pollution throughout its supply chain. In April 2018, the group released its “Too Deadly to Wear” report, detailing the fashion industry’s and Levi’s outsized role in the deadly impacts of climate change and air pollution across the globe.
Stand.earth is calling for fashion industry commitments that adequately address the scale of the climate change challenge at hand by making meaningful climate commitments through global supply chains that include:
- 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 in all owned and operated facilities (Scope 1 and 2)
- 40% or higher absolute reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 in the full supply chain (Scope 3)
- Transition to renewable energy, with a minimum of 50% of energy sourced through renewables by 2035
- Long-term carbon emission reductions of at least 66% by 2050 for the entire supply chain
Commitments should avoid false or partial solutions that:
- Fail to encompass full supply chains. While companies’ commitments to reduce the carbon pollution in their owned and operated facilities (scope 1 and 2) is a good first step, any commitment that does not address the full supply chain (scope 3) would fail to address the vast majority of the fashion industry’s climate pollution.
- Set faulty targets around reducing emissions levels per clothing unit or per sales volume. Only absolute climate emission reductions ultimately guarantee less climate pollution in the atmosphere.
- Place unwarranted hope in the use of only recycled fibers or a “circular economy” approach. Although adopting low-carbon materials such as organic cotton or recycled polyester will be essential for companies to meet their climate commitments, these actions alone will not easily offer the level of savings in climate pollution needed.
Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with offices in Canada and the United States that is known for its citizens engagement campaigns to create new policies and industry standards in protecting forests, advocating the rights of indigenous peoples, and protecting the climate. Learn more at stand.earth.
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Feature image of pedestrian walking with her H&M shopping bag on Via del Corso, main shopping street in Rome, Italy. Credit: Shutterstock.