The initial target for the fashion industry is to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030 © 123RF
The initial target for the fashion industry is to reduce emissions by 30% by 2030 © 123RF

Fashion firms sign charter for climate action

14 December 2018

Global fashion brands have signed a United Nations (UN) charter with an aim to reach zero emissions by 2050.

At the UN’s COP24 climate summit in Poland, leading fashion brands, retailers and suppliers have agreed to address the industry’s environmental impact across its entire value chain, using their collective power to work with investors, experts and policy makers to create “systemic change” in the fashion industry.

Working in line with the Paris Agreement, the charter contains a vision for the fashion industry to reach zero emissions by 2050 and defines issues that should be addressed by signatories, including decarbonisation of production stages, use of sustainable materials, low-carbon transportation and exploring circular business models.

An initial target has been set out by the charter’s 43 signatories: to reduce their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, as well as phasing out sources of coal-fired heat and power generation from within their own companies and direct suppliers by 2025.

Bjørn Gulden, CEO of Puma, one of the charter’s signatories, said: “We are aware that more than 90% of Puma’s carbon footprint is being generated in shared supply chains. If we want to reduce carbon emissions in our supply chains, we need to work together with our industry peers.”

From the production of raw materials to distribution and consumption, tackling the environmental impact of the fashion industry’s long supply chains and energy-intensive production methods will require innovation and collaboration from industry leaders.

The charter recognises the current role fashion plays in both contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and the opportunities the industry has to reduce emissions and support sustainable development throughout its supply chains.

According to fashion designer and signatory, Stella McCartney, climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our lifetime, and fashion industry leaders from brands, retailers and suppliers must take necessary action to address the issue of climate change at all levels.  

“Collectively we have a voice and the capacity to make a difference,” she said.

The charter has also been signed by brands such as Adidas, Burberry, Gap, H&M and Levi Strauss.

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