Shein targets 25% cut in supply chain carbon emissions

3 October 2022

Fast fashion retailer Shein has announced its intention to cut carbon emissions by 25% across its entire value chain by 2030 – amid reports it is considering an IPO in 2024.

The company, which has been criticised for its sustainability practices in the past, has benchmarked its emissions for 2021 and will now partner with other organisations to promote energy efficiency and decarbonisation among suppliers.

The company partnered with Intertek to quantify and monitor its environmental impacts and will work with energy company Brookfield Renewable Partners and the Apparael Impact Institute (Aii) to “empower suppliers and work to promote sustainable innovation”.

Work with Intertek found Shein produced approximately 6.3m tonnes of CO2 a year. Almost all (99%) of these emissions were generated in the supply chain, particularly in sourcing materials, manufacturing, and product distribution.

Adam Whinston, global head of ESG at Shein, said: “Our partnerships with Brookfield and Aii further demonstrate our commitment to implementing long-term initiatives to empower suppliers and work to promote sustainable innovation focusing on reducing carbon emissions. This announcement further solidifies our commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives at a company level.”

Shein will contribute $7.6m to Aii's carbon benchmarking programme Carbon Leadership as well as Clean by Design, a project aiming to reduce energy and water usage. Aii will design a strategy to implement energy efficiency projects at more than 500 of Shein’s partner facilities, reducing emissions by around 1.25m tonnes per year. 

The retailer is planning to transition to renewable energy through its partnership with Brookfield Renewable Partners. The partnership will implement emissions reduction projects throughout Shein’s supply chain.

Shein is reportedly planning an IPO in the US in 2024, according to Bloomberg.

Shein saw sales of at least $16bn in 2021, up from $10bn in 2020, and is valued at about $100bn.

The company drew criticism in January 2022 from sustainable fashion association Good on You, which rated it “We avoid” due to poor environment and labour policies. Sustainability organisation Public Eye investigated the company's working conditions in 2021 and found human rights violations in supplier factories.

Earlier this year the company stated its “renewed commitment” to the Supplier Community Empowerment Program, an initiative that aims to advance supplier partners and communities. It also announced an acceleration of initiatives aiming to reduce the use of virgin plastics and increase sustainable packaging.

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