The fashion industry has signed the first pact for concrete commitment supporting climate change–the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action–during the Climate Change Conference (COP24) recently held in Katowice, Poland.

 

The charter is a significant achievement considering that the textile industry is a huge polluter and is currently responsible for 8% of the world’s CO2 emission according to the “Measuring Fashion” report by Quantis & Climate Works Foundation.

Panel speakers at the Climate Change Conference (COP24) recently held in Katowice, Poland.
Photo: UN
Panel speakers at the Climate Change Conference (COP24) recently held in Katowice, Poland.

 

Under the auspices of UN Climate Change, 40 companies including leading fashion brands, retailers, supplier organizations and a shipping company have agreed to collectively address the climate impact of the fashion sector across its entire value chain.

 

These include, among others, Adidas, Arcteryx, Burberry, Esprit, Guess, Gap Inc. Hugo Boss, H&M Group, Inditex, Kering Group, Levi Strauss & Co., Puma, Schoeller Textiles, Otto Group, Pidigi Spa, Peak Performance, Stella McCartney, Sympatex Technology and Target; leading membership organizations, including Business for Social Responsibility, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, China National Textile and Apparel Council, Outdoor Industry Association, Textile Exchange and ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals); global logistics company Maersk; and global NGO WWF International.

Rüdiger Fox, CEO Sympatex Technologies, wears climate neutral bleed jacket
Photo: UN
Rüdiger Fox, CEO Sympatex Technologies, wears climate neutral bleed jacket

 

Together they have committed to implementing or supporting the 16 principles and targets that underpin the Fashion Climate Charter and agreed to a sector-wide plan of action that targets net-zero emissions by 2050 and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

 

In early 2018, fashion leaders volunteered to create a climate movement through discussions in working groups chaired by Puma and H&M Group.

“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,” said Bjørn Gulden, CEO, Puma. “The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action provides a collective industry effort to support the goals of the Paris Agreement. We appreciate that UN Climate Change has set up a global platform and call upon our industry peers to join the initiative.”

 

“This charter is about getting the fashion industry united in important climate work. Our industry has a global reach and only together can we create the change that is urgently needed,” said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO, H&M group. “We are happy to be a signatory of this charter as part of our ambition to become climate positive in our value chain.”

 

Like Persson, all other signatories expressed their satisfaction for joining the pact and commented:

 

Stella McCartney, designer: “Climate change is undoubtedly one of, if not, the biggest challenge of our lifetime. It is and will affect everyone on this planet and our future. I want to call on my peers in the business to sign up to this charter now and take the necessary actions to address the reality of the issue of climate change in their business and value chains. Collectively we have a voice and the capacity to make a difference.”

 

Marco Gobbetti, CEO, Burberry: “Burberry is proud to be a signatory of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. By working together with other signatories, we believe that we can achieve systemic change and build a more sustainable future.”

 

Anders Kristiansen, CEO, Esprit Group: “Esprit has already taken important steps with an ambitious sustainability strategy and clear targets. We as an industry can now take a more holistic approach to the urgent challenge we face.”

 

Rüdiger Fox, CEO, Sympatex Technologies: “The charter is obviously open to additional members. Commitments from additional industry participants increase our chances of making a mutual impact and reach the goal of driving down global warming to under 2 degrees, as outlined in the Paris Climate Accord.”

He continued: “Katowice proves that our industry is ready to take significant steps. More and more brands are beginning to understand instead of viewing sustainability as a threat, or purely as a responsibility to society and the environment, it offers a new economic opportunity for the companies of tomorrow.”