The efforts made by global fashion firms to become carbon neutral are commendable and go some way to addressing the environmental challenges the industry is trying to tackle, but the focus needs to extend to the supply chain too, says Global Data.
“The global fashion industry has stood up and taken notice of the need to reduce carbon emissions in their businesses and supply chains,” says Michelle Russell, apparel correspondent at GlobalData.
“Many have made firm commitments, with some making very firm progress.”
German fashion e-tailer Zalando says its own operations, deliveries and returns are now carbon neutral – an achievement it says will help it meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement for its own operations ahead of schedule.
Birla Cellulose, the pulp and fibre business of Indian textile conglomerate Aditya Birla Group, claims to be the first viscose manufacturer to be carbon neutral in Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Gucci has also made a firm commitment, announcing recently it is offsetting all remaining GHG emissions annually from its own operations and the entire supply chain in a move it claims will make it carbon neutral.
Yet Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri has issued a cross-industry call to other CEO to recognize that while commitments to reduce GHG emissions to meet future targets around carbon neutrality and net-zero are commendable, they do not go far enough – companies need to act faster, and have an objective measurement of their emissions that encompasses the supply chain.
“Most companies still have a long way to go before they are completely carbon neutral,” Russell adds.
“And as Bizzarri says, they have to take full responsibility and accountability for the emissions they are generating. The real challenge will be extending their commitment to the supply chain, where the majority of emissions happen, and where retailers and brands have little or no influence.
“Collaboration will be essential in tackling the problem, and it will be those companies making early progress that can guide others and show them it is possible to make progress towards their end goals.”
The multi-billion dollar fashion sector is responsible for 8.1 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions – and this number is expected to grow by nearly 60 percent by 2030, according to the Filthy Fashion Climate Scorecard report published by international environmental organization Stand.earth.