New Balance is the latest big brand to support the United Nations’ Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action as well as RE100, a global corporate initiative dedicated to renewable electricity.
In joining the U.N.’s effort, the Boston-based company increases the tally to 48 firms. PVH Corp., Puma AG, Schoeller Textil AG, Kering, Burberry Group, Gap Inc., Target Corp. and Hugo Boss AG are among the other corporations that have signed on. Numerous organizations such as the Outdoor Industry Association, the Sustainable Fashion Academy, World Wildlife Fund and the International Finance Corp. have also joined the initiative.
Participants aim to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. As a supporter, New Balance has committed to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The company is prioritizing materials with low climate impact, eliminating new coal from tier one and tier two supply chains, supporting more circular business models and engaging consumers to increase awareness about environmental hazards and change behavior.
In unveiling its two climate change-fighting commitments, New Balance noted it has generated more than one million kilowatt hours in solar energy at its footwear manufacturing facility in Flimby, England. One competitor, Nike Inc., has also committed to the U.N. Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action and the RE100.
Joe Preston, New Balance’s president and chief executive officer, noted in a statement that the company can demonstrate clear leadership as it pursues wider adoption of renewables and other measures across its supply chain, especially in factories it owns. “We recognize that addressing climate change requires innovation and new ways of doing business. We are excited to join with many of the world’s leading companies to amplify our voice, learn from those who have done so much already, and help accelerate change at a larger scale.”
Bestseller, JD Sports Fashion plc, Burberry and Ikea are some of the companies that are on board with RE100, which is led by The Climate Group in partnership with the CDP. The aim is to increase corporate demand for renewable energy and spur greater renewables development, which is critical in transitioning to a net-zero emissions economy. Through RE100, New Balance has committed to source 100 percent of its electricity through renewable sources by 2025 across all of its operations internationally.
On another front, Sam Bencheghib, cofounder of Make a Change World and a youth ambassador of Parley for the Oceans, has started running across the U.S. to raise awareness about plastic pollution. If all goes according to plan, the 22-year-old will be running 20 miles a day, six days a week for five months — and chronicling the highlights via Make a Change World’s social media channels. He will also be wearing Adidas x Parley running shoes, made from Ocean Plastic, a material made from upcycled plastic waste. The activist wants to inspire others to sign the Parley AIR pledge or start their own project. Parley’s AIR Strategy has three aims: avoid plastic wherever possible, intercept plastic waste and redesign the materials and thinking.