Six apparel companies join “science based targets”

23 Sep '17
4 min read

As Climate Week begins in New York, six top apparel companies have joined the Science Based Targets initiative. Gap, Nike, Levi Strauss & Co, Guess, Eileen Fisher and VF Corporation have committed to set emission reduction targets consistent with global efforts to limit warming to well below two degrees Celsius, joining companies like H&M and Asics.

Fashion brands like H&M, Asics, Kering, PUMA, Walmart, Inditex, Woolworths Holdings, Marks and Spencer, and One Jeanswear Company have already committed to set science-based targets.

More than 300 companies, including 15 from the apparel sector, have committed to set ambitious emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative, a partnership between CDP, WRI, WWF and the UN Global Compact. Businesses who commit have two years to develop science-based targets, which are then reviewed by the initiative’s team of experts. So far, 72 science-based targets meeting the initiative’s strict criteria have been approved. The initiative is also one of the We Mean Business coalition commitments.

“By joining the Science Based Targets initiative, these companies are positioning themselves as leaders in the apparel sector,” said Cynthia Cummis, WRI’s director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation and member of the Science Based Targets initiative steering committee. “The fashion industry is known for innovation and these companies are using that spirit to tackle climate change. For apparel brands, up to 90 per cent of emissions come from the value chain, and companies share many of the same suppliers, so setting ambitious value chain targets will open up a great deal of opportunity for collaboration, innovation and efficiency across the industry.”

“Aligning our greenhouse gas reduction goals with Science Based Targets is an important action we can take right now to protect the future of our planet,” said Victor Herrero, chief executive officer and director, Guess?. “We at Guess understand the importance and urgency of climate change and therefore strive to set an example that will positively impact the future of fashion.”

“We believe that the private sector has a critical role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. By joining the Science Based Target initiative, we’re strengthening our commitment to tackling climate change and working collaboratively, building on the progress we’ve made in our owned and operated facilities,” said Melissa Fifield, senior director of Sustainable Innovation at Gap. “We look forward to working with the SBTi to align our future emissions reduction targets with sound climate science.”

“Levi Strauss & Co knows that transitioning to a low-carbon future is vital to the health and well-being of the people who make and wear our iconic products,” said Anna Walker, senior director, Global Policy and Advocacy, Levi Strauss & Co. “That’s why we are committing to set science-based targets in reducing our own emissions as well as emissions throughout our value chain. By doing so, LS&Co and our communities will continue to thrive for the next 160 years and beyond.”

In addition to reducing emissions from their operations, companies that join the Science Based Targets initiative are required to set ambitious “scope 3” value chain targets when these emissions are significant. This is important because to date, most apparel companies have not been measuring and managing emissions upstream and downstream of their operations, where most of their emissions lie.

Quantis, a company that specialises in environmental sustainability services and solutions, is working with ClimateWorks to develop a more comprehensive view of the apparel industry’s footprint. A preliminary estimate, based on apparel production volumes and calculated with emission factors from Quantis’ World Apparel and Footwear Lifecycle Database, shows that the greenhouse gas emissions of the global apparel sector may amount to a significant five per cent of total emissions. This is comparable in impact to the total emissions of the aviation sector or to the total GHG emissions of Russia.

The Science Based Targets initiative champions science-based target setting as a powerful way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets. (SV)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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