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What Is The Fashion Industry Charter For Climate Action?

by: Rosie Dalton | 7 months ago | Features

Image: Stella McCartney announcing the charter at BoF VOICES 2018. Image source

Last year at Business of Fashion’s VOICES event, designer Stella McCartney announced a new fashion industry charter that she developed in collaboration with the United Nations. That UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action has just turned one, so we’re revisiting exactly what it is – and how effective it has been so far.

“We really don’t have long now, to change things. But I honestly believe it’s doable,” McCartney told The Guardian when the UN charter first launched. “There is so much guilt and fear attached to talking about sustainability and that’s not helpful. What is essential is for the big players in the industry to come along with me.” 

So, with this in mind, the UN charter – which broadly mirrors the Paris Agreement – is designed to help brands reduce their planetary impact. Among the signatories of this charter, these are some of the key commitments:

1. Limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius

2. Commit to 30% aggregate GHG emission reductions by 2030

3. Commit to analysing and setting a decarbonisation pathway for the fashion industry

4. Quantify, track and publicly report GHG emissions

5. Commit to prioritising materials with low-climate5 impact

6. Pursue energy efficiency measures and renewable energy in the value chain

7. Commit to not installing new coal-fired boilers by 2025

8. Support global transition to low-carbon transport

9. Support the movement towards circular business models

10. Create a dialogue with consumers around emissions in the use and end-of-life product phases

This charter continues to gain some big-name signatories like Ralph Lauren and Condé Nast. But, like many other pledges, the voluntary targets sometimes seem a little too vague to enact real positive change.

“The fashion industry has a glut of overlapping sustainability pledges, including a Kering-led sustainability pledge and individual targets set by LVMH and others,” writes Business of Fashion. “With no standard measure for success, and arguably no consequences for failure, progress will be uneven.”

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