“Addressing consumption is a central part of reducing climate impact — from volume of new products purchased to the carbon footprint of how we use these products,” said Steven Stone, deputy director of the economy division for the United Nations Environment Program, or UNEP. “We must work together to align all stakeholders across the fashion sector towards the 1.5-degree pathway of the Paris Agreement.”
The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action launched in December 2018 at the U.N. COP24 summit held in Katowice, Poland, which drew support from the U.N. and various working groups. There are 130 companies and 41 supporting organizations signed onto the Charter, among them Burberry, H&M, Adidas and Kering.
The news was revealed at the U.N. climate summit, or COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, during the U.N. Climate Change Global Climate Action “Fashion Industry Race to Zero” session Monday.
What’s different about this year’s update?
Instead of a 30 percent absolute reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the Charter calls for companies to halve their emissions — a feat that has been adopted by many companies over the past year. As with the Kering-led Fashion Pact, the Charter set science-based carbon emissions reduction targets in line with a 1.5-degree Celsius trajectory, defined by the landmark Paris Agreement.
“This is an important milestone for the Fashion Charter, as it increases the ambition level in an effort to align the industry with 1.5 degrees,” said Stefan Seidel of Puma, a co-chair of the Fashion Industry Charter steering committee. “It is a signal that we need to work closely together with our peers, our supply chain, policymakers and consumers to get on the track to net-zero.”
The steering committee also counts executives from Nike, Kering, Textile Exchange, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, H&M Group, Adidas and the International Finance Corp., among others, as members.
There are 13 steps or goals outlined in the Charter.
Within the next 12 months, companies must submit their reduction pathway plans for the headline decarbonization goal by either setting science-based reduction targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (including targeting net-zero “no later than 2050”) or a 50 percent absolute GHG reduction goal across all scopes stamped by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard.
Within that same timeframe, companies must provide details for the majority of the goals, including how they plan to source all renewable energy in owned operations, “priority materials” (including recycled and deforestation-free materials, as defined by Textile Exchange) or the phase-out of coal.
The Charter’s updates also aim to halt fossil fuels in their tracks, outlining how signatories must support “no new coal power by January 2023 at the latest,” while leveraging incentive mechanisms so suppliers, too, can support the broader coal phase-out by 2030.
“In a time when the climate crisis is accelerating to unprecedented levels, we need the real economy to lead on climate action. The strengthened commitments of the fashion charter signatories is an excellent example of such leadership,” Niclas Svenningsen, manager of Global Climate Action at the U.N. Climate Change, said in a press statement.
Along with decarbonization strategies, a call to action for policies to incentivize the use of traceable and environmentally friendly materials, was issued at the COP26 session. After the renewed rollout, companies must provide progress updates every three years.
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