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Major tasks yet to be done by UN fashion charter members

Sep '19
A significant amount of work still needs to be done by the 43 signatories of the UN’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, according to key findings of the ‘Sustainable fashion: Committing to a sustainable future through the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action’ report released recently by KPMG, the Fashion Summit and HSBC.

Although 53 per cent of signatories have reported their Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), less than 15 per cent have included their supply chain-related emissions in their Scope 3 emissions.

As the supply chain represents a substantial amount of GHG emissions along the value chain of these corporations, it is vital for organisations to understand, monitor and evaluate the GHG emissions from the supply chain, says the report. This would also help companies better formulate their climate strategies.

The study included reviews of publicly available information on the sustainability performance of the 43 signatories, including their sustainability reports and corporate websites.

Sixty per cent of retail brands have a sustainability section on their consumer websites, and 35 per cent have a sustainable product line. Some signatories also strive to raise consumer awareness of sustainability through their public disclosure and other channels.

Of the signatories, 67 per cent have their sustainability reporting available in either their sustainability reports or annual reports, while 93 per cent have a sustainability section on their corporate website.

The report recommends signatories to explore creating a sustainability score or sustainability labelling system to encourage consumers to purchase sustainable fashion.

Much of the infrastructure is in place for the fashion industry to move towards a far greater embrace of sustainable practices, the study found. These include the establishment of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in 2011 and its subsequent launch of the Higg Index, as well as Kering’s Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) account.

Usage of these mechanisms, however, varies widely, from the 51 per cent reporting themselves as members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and as users of the Higg Index, to the less than one in ten which work with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Instead of looking for new measures to assess their impact, signatories should leverage these existing foundations to create a tangible impact, says the report.

KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. Fashion Summit (Hong Kong) is an Asian event focusing on sustainable development in fashion. (DS)

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