COP26: Stand.earth response to UN Fashion Charter announcement

Monday November 08, 2021

Advocacy group calls stronger emissions target and phaseout of on-site coal important steps forward, but lack of renewable energy target for supply chain remains a major gap

GLASGOW — On Monday, 8 November, 2021, major fashion brands that signed the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action convened at COP26 and announced more ambitious commitments to address the industry’s massive climate pollution. The renewed Charter commits to halving emissions by 2030 (an update on the previous target of 30% reductions by 2030) and achieving net-zero emissions by no later than 2050.

International environmental advocacy organization Stand.earth applauded the Charter’s additional commitment to phase out on-site coal from the supply chain by 2030, calling it an important step forward. However, the new commitment only applies to on-site coal for things like boilers and other sources of coal-fired heat or power generation, but it doesn’t include coal electricity — a key source of climate pollution that fashion brands must address if they hope to hit the Charter’s emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030.

Stand.earth also cautioned against the Charter’s additional commitment to source 100% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, calling it a major gap because it only applies to owned and operated facilities (scope 2), not the full supply chain (scope 3). 

“The renewal of the UN Fashion Charter marks an important step breaking the industry's addiction to coal, and brings its emissions in line with goals to limit global warming to 1.5°C. While the Charter misses the mark by not committing the industry to transition to 100% renewable energy in its supply chain by 2030, which would be critical to achieving its goal, the new commitments to phase out on-site coal usage by 2030 and pursue zero-emission shipping solutions are some signs of encouraging progress,” said Muhannad Malas, Senior Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth.

Malas is attending COP26 and is available for interviews about the UN Fashion Charter on site, by phone, or by email. 

Today’s renewed commitments came nearly three years to the date after the formation of the Charter, which was launched at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. There are currently 130 companies and 41 supporting organizations that have signed the Charter, including some of the well-known brands such as Burberry, H&M Group, VF Corporation, adidas, Kering, Chanel, Nike, and PUMA.

FASHION INDUSTRY EMISSIONS RISING

Stand.earth’s latest analysis released ahead of COP26 shows that major fashion brands are failing in their efforts to reduce supply chain emissions at the levels needed to meet the 1.5°C pathway outlined in the UN Paris Agreement. 

The analysis of 9 companies — American Eagle Outfitters, Fast Retailing (UNIQLO), Gap, H&M, Inditex, Kering (Gucci), Levi’s, Lululemon, and Nike — revealed that 8 of 9 companies increased their supply chain emissions in 2019 or 2020, which is inconsistent with UN Fashion Charter goals.

BACKGROUND

Stand.earth released its Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard in August 2021, benchmarking 47 top fashion companies on their efforts to tackle climate change. The report failed the fashion industry on its efforts, revealing that companies are not doing enough to move from climate commitments to actions at the scale desperately needed.

Stand.earth’s Fossil Free Fashion campaign is calling for the fashion industry to addresses its climate emissions by eliminating its reliance on coal to power its manufacturing processes; engaging with governments in supply chain countries to gain better access to renewables; reducing fossil fuel-derived fabrics like polyester; and advocating for zero-emissions shipping and infrastructure. Over the past several years, the advocacy group has been instrumental in encouraging major fashion brands like Levi’s and Mammut to make industry leading climate pledges.

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Media contacts
In North America: Virginia Cleaveland, U.S. Media Director, Stand.earth, +1 510 858 9902, media@stand.earth (PT)
At COP26: Muhannad Malas, Senior Climate Campaigner, Stand.earth, +1 604 757 7246 (What’s App and Signal), muhannad@stand.earth