The global fashion sector today significantly increased momentum to address climate change by launching the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Under the auspices of UN Climate Change, leading fashion brands, retailers, supplier organizations, and others, including a major shipping company, have agreed to collectively address the climate impact of the fashion sector across its entire value chain.
43 leaders, including adidas, Burberry, Esprit, Guess, Gap Inc. Hugo Boss, H&M Group, Inditex, Kering Group, Levi Strauss & Co., Puma SE, PVH Corp.,Target and re:newcell; leading membership organizations, including Business for Social Responsibility, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, China National Textile and Apparel Council, Outdoor Industry Association and Textile Exchange; global logistics company Maersk; and global NGO WWF International have committed to implementing or supporting the 16 principles and targets that underpin the Fashion Climate Charter.
The Charter, which is open for other companies and organizations to join, recognizes the crucial role that fashion plays on both sides of the climate equation; as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, and as a sector with multiple opportunities to reduce emissions while contributing to sustainable development.
Aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the Charter contains the vision for the industry to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and defines issues that will be addressed by signatories, ranging from decarbonization of the production phase, selection of climate friendly and sustainable materials, low-carbon transport, improved consumer dialogue and awareness, working with the financing community and policymakers to catalyze scalable solutions, and exploring circular business models. To make concrete progress on these commitments, six working groups have been established in which signatories will work to define steps for implementation.
The signatories are not waiting for these issues to be fully elaborated and have set an initial target to reduce their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030 and have defined concrete measures, such as phasing out coal-fired boilers or other sources of coal-fired heat and power generation in their own companies and direct suppliers from 2025.
“The fashion industry is always two steps ahead when it comes to defining world culture, so I am pleased to see it now also leading the way in terms of climate action,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “I congratulate the signatories of this important charter, which represents a unique commitment and collaboration from an array of fashion leaders. The Charter, like the renowned fashion runways of the world, sets an example that I hope others will follow.”
The Charter is industry-led, and open to a wider group of fashion stakeholders. It is supported by a range of relevant organizations and NGOs that will foster ambition which will be tracked and recognized by UN Climate Change, The Charter aims to drive climate action in the sector, including by complementing and supporting other fashion sector initiatives aimed at increasing climate action.
In early 2018, fashion leaders volunteered to shape a climate movement through discussions in working groups chaired by PUMA SE and H&M Group. The launch today, during the critical UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, Poland (COP24), reflects genuine sectoral buy-in and is a clarion call to the fashion industry globally to sign-up to climate action.
The founding signatories are: adidas, Aquitex, Arcteryx, Burberry Limited, Esprit, Guess, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Hakro Gmbh., Hugo Boss, Inditex, Kering Group, Lenzing AG, Levi Strauss & Co., Mammut Sports Group AG, Mantis World, Maersk, Otto Group, Pidigi S.P.A, PUMA SE, re:newcell, Schoeller Textiles AG, Peak Performance, PVH Corp., Salomon, Skunkfunk, SLN Textil, Stella McCartney, Sympatex Technologies, Target and Tropic Knits Group.
Supporting organizations include: Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), China National Textile and Apparel Council (CNTAC), China Textile Information Center (CTIC), Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA), Textile Exchange, WWF International and ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation).
By signing on to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, CEOs and presidents of these organizations have confirmed their commitment to address climate change and their willingness to step up collaboration within and beyond the fashion sector towards a cleaner, low-carbon future. The fashion industry — which encompasses textiles, clothing, leather, and footwear industries, from the production of raw materials and manufacturing of garments, accessories and footwear to their distribution and consumption — has long supply chains and energy intensive production.
Principles and actions outlined in the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action will be pursued and developed collectively through working groups which will be convened by the UN Climate Change in early 2019. Any company or organization professionally engaged in the fashion sector, regardless of where they are in their environmental journey, and who are committing to the principles of the Charter by signing it, may participate in this work.