Fashionably Cool

Spanish designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada’s show at Madrid Fashion Week, June 7, 2018 (Photo by España Global) Creative Commons license via Flickr.

By Sunny Lewis

KATOWICE, Poland, December 11, 2018 ( News) – Keeping the planet cool is now seriously stylish in the exclusive world of fashion. To demonstrate commitment, the global fashion sector Monday launched the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action at the annual UN climate conference now underway in Katowice.

Fashion brands such as Burberry, Esprit, Levi Strauss and Stella McCartney; retailers such as Target and Gap; supplier organizations, and the giant shipping company Maersk, plus dozens of others, have agreed to collectively address the climate impact of the fashion sector by implementing or supporting the 16 principles and targets that underpin the Fashion Climate Charter.

Aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement to keep the global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and try to limit the warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the Charter is open for more companies and organizations to join.

It 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 of the economy with multiple opportunities to reduce emissions while contributing to sustainable development.

“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,” said fashion designer Stella McCartney, daughter of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, whose latest album “Egypt Station” features a song about the dangers of climate change.

Stella McCartney said, “I want to call on my peers in the business, from other brands to retailers and suppliers, 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.”

The Fashion Climate Charter contains the vision for the industry to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and defines issues to be addressed by the signatories. Six working groups in which signatories will work to define steps for implementation of the Charter will be convened by the UN Climate Change in early 2019.

The issues range from decarbonization of garment production, selection of climate friendly and sustainable materials, low-carbon transport, improved consumer dialogue and awareness, work with the financing community and policymakers to catalyze scalable solutions, and exploration of circular business models.

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.

They have agreed to phase out coal-fired boilers and 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. “The Charter, like the renowned fashion runways of the world, sets an example that I hope others will follow.”

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.

In October British MPs on Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee said the fashion industry is a major source of the greenhouse gases that are overheating the planet. This conclusion is one outcome of the Committee’s ongoing Inquiry into the Sustainability of the Fashion Industry.

Men’s fashions from around the world at COP24 in Katowice, Poland. From left, Rasmus Valanko, World Business Council on Sustainable Development; Yeom Tae-young, Mayor of Suwon, Republic of Korea, on behalf of ICLEI’s Ecomobility Alliance; Anirban Ghosh, Mahindra; and Nicola Tagliafierro, Head of Sustainable Product Development, Enel; Dec. 10, 2018 (Photo courtesy Earth Negotiations Bulletin) Used With Permission

As chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, MP Mary Creagh told BBC News that swift action is essential, because if current clothes consumption continues, it “…will account for more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change by 2050.”

Now it appears that the industry is moving quickly.

It was in early 2018 that fashion leaders volunteered to shape a climate movement through discussions in working groups chaired by PUMA SE and H&M Group.

The launch Monday, during the UN Climate Change Conference in Katowice, known as COP24, reflects genuine sectoral support and is a call to the fashion industry everywhere to take climate action.

The founding signatories to the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action 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, China National Textile and Apparel Council, China Textile Information Center, Global Fashion Agenda, Global Organic Textile Standard, International Finance Corporation, Outdoor Industry Association, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Sustainable Fashion Academy, Textile Exchange, WWF International and Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation.

It’s going to take all of the players working together to achieve real and lasting climate protection.

Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said, “While we have committed to becoming carbon neutral in our own operations, achieving a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the entire global fashion industry by 2030 will require innovation and collaboration. By working together with other signatories of the Charter, we believe that we can achieve systemic change and build a more sustainable future.”

Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of the H&M group, said, “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.”

“We are aware that more than 90 percent 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 of PUMA.

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

Featured Image: Brazilian super model Lais Ribeiro attends the Elie Saab show during Paris Fashion Week, Sept. 29, 2018. (Photo by Angel Dust) Creative Commons license via Flickr

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