Traceability in the supply chain, combating climate change, efficient use of water, energy and chemicals, and a more respectful and safe work environment. In the last year, the fashion business has put its commitment to sustainability in black and white. In 2019, the giants of the sector signed several agreements such as the Fashion Pact, the New Plastic Economy or the CEO Agenda 2019 to combat the climate impact of the industry.
Stop climate change, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans. In the last twelve months, the fashion industry put in black and white its commitment to sustainability. During 2019, the large international groups in the sector unified more than ever before to fight climate change and preserve the environment.
In less than a year, the giants of fashion have marked the new roadmap that will define the sustainable strategy of the sector for the coming years. In August 2019, under the guidance of the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, and François-Henri Pinault, president and CEO of the French luxury conglomerate Kering, about thirty operators signed the Fashion Pact, the new roadmap to drive the sector towards sustainability. The presentation of the pact was made within the framework of the G7 summit.
Endorsed by one the main players such as Inditex, the pact highlights 3 points: stop climate change, restore biodiversity and preserve the oceans, within the framework of the Science Based Targets (SBT) initiative of scientifically measurable objectives. Different work points and guidelines to be developed are established in each of these areas: from the objective of reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to protecting ecosystems or the elimination of single-use plastics.
The fashion pact highlights 3 points: Stop climate change, restore biodiversity and protect the oceans
Among the concrete measures of Fashion Pact are the sustainable extraction of raw materials, the use of renewable energies, and the elimination of raw materials that demand high-impact intensive consumption or the eradication of toxic chemicals from the value chain.
Via a jointly issued statement, the fashion business operators who signed the pact recognized that the sector is responsible for at least 20% of wastewater emissions, and 10% of carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) into the atmosphere, according to data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
With the objective of reducing this impact, the sector has also proposed other measures such as the elimination of single-use plastics, consuming 100% renewable energy by 2030 and reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 2050.
The fashion sector is responsible for at least 20% of wastewater emissions, and 10% of carbon dioxide emissions
However, the Fashion Pact signing is not binding, and only seeks to be a guide to establish the guidelines to be followed for the sustainable development of the fashion industry. The first signatories of the document were 32 companies in the fashion sector, such as pure players, fast fashion companies, sports and large distribution companies, as well as other smaller companies in the fashion business in the world.
Precisely, the lead players in the sector that signed the Fashion Pact in August were: Adidas, Bestseller, Burberry, Capri, Carrefour, Chanel, Everybody & Everyone, Fashion3, Ferragamo, Fung Group, Galeries Lafayette, Gap, Giorgio Armani, H&M, Hermès, Inditex, Karl Lagerfeld, Kering, La Redoute, Matchesfashion, Moncler, Nike, Nordstrom, Prada, Puma, PVH, Ralph Lauren, Ruyi, Selfridges Group, Stella McCartney, Tapestry and Zegna.
Two months after the signing of the Fashion Pact, the agreement added twenty-four new members. In October, the number of signatories of the document rose to 56 after the entry of Auchan Retail, Bally, Calzedonia Group, Celio, Darmartex Group, Decathlon, El Corte Inglés, Eralda, Etam Group, Farfetch, Figaret, Gant, Geox, Groupe Beaumanoir, Groupe Eram, GTS Group, Kiabi, Lady Lawyer Fashion Archive, Mango, Nana Judy, Paul & Joe, Promod, Spartoo-Andre and Visuality Corporation.
The Fashion Pact seeks to be a guide to establish the guidelines to be followed for the sustainable development of the fashion industry
The majority of the giants of the sector have signed this new pact for three main reasons: to prevent other social agents from placing fashion in the hot seat of their recurring claims, lead the new rules of the sector and be ahead of the government in the face of the new and more restrictive laws on the traditional industrial and commercial practices.
In addition to the Fashion Pact, the giants of the sector have signed two other draft agreements during 2019 with the aim of continuing to take steps in terms of sustainability and the environment.
The first of these was the New Plastics Economy, promoted by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with a large group of companies, cities, philanthropists, politicians, academics, students and NGOs. Signed by companies such as Burberry, L'Oréal, Stella McCartney, H&M or Inditex, in addition to groups from other industrial fields, the agreement also undertakes to eliminate single-use plastics, work so that the plastic used is reusable, recyclable and convertible and promote its circularity.
The Fashion Pact was signed by 32 companies of the sector and joined by 24 new members two months later
The New Plastics Economy initiative focuses on five points of action: establish a new dialogue mechanism, launch a new global plastics protocol, and mobilize innovations that can scale the entire system, establish a solid evidence base to guide improvement and inform the global debate and generate the participation of interested groups.
The other sustainable initiative that the sector launched in 2019 was the second edition of the CEO Agenda, promoted by the Global Fashion Agenda platform. Presented in the Swiss town of Davos during the World Economic Forum summit, the document was endorsed by large operators such as Asos, Bestseller, H&M or Li & Fung, as well as organizations such as the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, among others.
Among the priorities of immediate implementation that the document encloses for the fashion industry as a whole are traceability in the supply chain, combating climate change, efficient use of water, energy and chemicals, and a more respectful and safe work environment.
The giants of the sector have signed two other draft agreements in 2019 with the aim of continuing to take steps in terms of sustainability
On the other hand, the document also indicates four priorities for transformation: advancing in sustainable materials, in the circular system, in promoting fair wage systems and in promoting the fourth industrial revolution.
In 2019, a new edition of the UN Climate Summit (COP25) took place in Madrid, the international summit ended with a sense of failure, after reaching a minimum agreement to reduce emissions when the main objective of the event was to “create an international carbon market.” In the event, fashion was present at different meetings to address the conclusions of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (Ficca).
Ficca's objectives include zero net carbon emissions by 2050, with an intermediate goal of reducing emissions by 30% until 2030. The agreement was sealed within the framework of the previous Climate Summit, which took place in Katowice (Poland), and is enrolled by Inditex, Kering, Adidas, Burberry, H&M, Gap, Levi Strauss or Target, among other companies and organizations.
The meeting presented the conclusions of the seven working groups of Ficca, which include elements such as the decarbonization of the industry, raw materials, production and energy, logistics, politics, leverage in existing tools and promotion of a greater number of actions in climate matters.