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Monday, October 7, 2019

How The Fashion Industry Is Responding To Climate Change




close up shot of patterend and jumbled clothes on hangers
The clothing industry is responsible for 8% of carbon emissions. Credit: Shutterstock
This story is part of Degrees Of Change, a series that explores the problem of climate change and how we as a planet are adapting to it. Tell us how you or your community are responding to climate change here.

Recently it seems like the whole world’s been talking about climate change. 
All week you’ve been hearing from us and our partners in the media report on climate change as part of the journalism initiative Covering Climate Now. And on Friday, students around the world are skipping school to voice their support for taking action against climate change as part of the Global Youth Climate Strike.
It seems like right now, climate change is trending.
And if there’s one industry out there that knows something about trends, it’s the fashion industry. Long known for churning out cheap garments and burning through resources, some fashion labels like fast fashion giant H&M are now embracing sustainable fashion trends. But can this industry—which is responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions—really shed its wasteful business model in favor of one with a lower carbon footprint? Marc Bain, a fashion reporter at Quartz, Maxine B├ędat from the New Standard Institute, and Linda Greer, global policy fellow with the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs talk with Ira about the industry’s effort to reduce its climate impact.
Richard from Madison: I try and buy at least half of my clothing secondhand from places like St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill… Lara from Venice: When I buy clothing I try to make sure that it’s of a natural fiber, that it’s made locally, sometimes even fair trade or organic… David from North Carolina: One thing that I’m looking for is a few good pieces that I can wear over and over instead of hundreds of pieces in my closet… Tamara from Colorado: I consider the environmental impact of my personal clothing extremely conscientiously when I’m picking out clothes. I choose to visit thrift stores. My professional clothes, they’re work pants, they’re heavy-duty pants—I can’t factor in the environmental thoughts for that one, unfortunately.



Car and jeans emitting smoke
Designed by Andrea Corona
cartoon image of a landfill with text that says "non-biodegradeable fabric can sit in landfills for up to 200 years" and a cloudy sky in the background
Designed by Andrea Corona
27 cartoon water bottles lined up in a row with a "x100" next to it and text that says "2,700 liters of water are needed to make one cotton shirt" against a black background
Designed by Andrea Corona
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Monday, September 30, 2019

Luxury makeover: Kering to go 'carbon neutral' by offsetting 2018 emissions


gucci shop kering
Credit: Sardaka

On Tuesday, Kering announced that the luxury group, which includes brands such as Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga, will become carbon neutral across its operations and supply chain by offsetting its greenhouse gas emissions from 2018. The announcement follows Gucci’s own carbon neutrality pledge earlier this month and comes a day after Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s emotional speech at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.
"We are going a step ahead in the implementation of our sustainability strategy," says Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer. Kering’s sustainability initiatives to date have included work to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a push for the use of reusable energy, says Daveu. “Where we won't be able to have zero impact it's important to offset.”
Fashion companies are increasingly pledging to offset their carbon footprint as it shows a commitment to sustainability, but the benefits of these initiatives are not guaranteed. “There is nothing logical or innovative around carbon offsetting unless it comes with a very serious commitment to prevent and reduce the company's carbon footprint,” says Orsola de Castro, founder and creative director of Fashion Revolution.
Kering, which also led the formation of the Fashion Pact to combat climate change at the 45th G7 Summit in August, has pledged to reduce all of its operations and supply chain greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2025. The ambitious goal sets the industry in the right direction, but de Castro points out that without an external policing body, there is no guarantee of accountability.
Gucci Spring/Summer 2020.

Since 2011, Kering has measured the group’s greenhouse gas emissions through environmental profit and loss accounting (EP&L) to implement changes in its supply chain and promote efficiency initiatives across the board. These efforts have focused on offsetting two of the three types of emissions as defined by the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, by operating on direct emissions from owned or controlled sources and emissions from the generation of purchased energy.
With its latest pledge, the group will offset all remaining emissions in the protocol, meaning upstream and downstream emissions in the value chain. For 2018, these remaining emissions will account for approximately 2.4 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. The group’s offsetting practices rely on Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) projects, which include a partnership with the Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network (WFEN) to promote the conservation of biodiversity in farming practices, and collaborating with the Savory Institute’s Frontier Founder initiative to encourage regenerative grazing practices. The company’s 2018 offset will equal around 2 million hectares of forests around the world.
Kering’s announcement pushes it ahead of other luxury conglomerates in its commitment to full carbon neutrality, but other groups have their own initiatives in place. Richemont has been purchasing carbon offsets since 2008, while LVMH introduced a carbon fund across its brands in 2015 to calculate and offset greenhouse gas emissions generated by its businesses. “Such an approach reaffirms how Kering is one of the companies leading the way in sustainability, and I hope other brands and retailers will follow,” writes Eva Kruse, CEO and president of the Global Fashion Agenda, via email.

But an overreliance on offsetting can be seen as sidestepping a larger issue.
“With this level of urgency [we need] a commitment policy on reduction, not just of carbon and fumes, but also of production,” says de Castro. “We need to disinvest from growth to invest in social and environmental supply chain prosperity and compliance.”
oa here
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