70% of a garment’s climate impact occurs before the garment even reach the store. Therefore, as individual consumers it is difficult to make a difference, the major change must take place within the global production chains. On December 10, 2018, the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action was presented at the COP24 Katowice climate summit. The charter aims to gather all players in the fashion industry, from textile manufacturers and shipping to global fashion brands, in signing 16 concrete points for a better and more sustainable future industry.
The companies and organizations signing the Fashion Industry Charter support the goals of the Paris agreement to limit global temperature increase. This by committing to a 30 percent greenhouse gas emissions reduction in scope 1, 2 and 3 of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard by 2030, against a baseline set by 2015. The members also commit themselves to work collaborative and share insights in developing solutions.
Researchers and Industry insight
Another of the 16 points addressed in the Charter is to prioritize materials with low climate impact without adversely affecting other sustainability aspects. Climate researcher and theme leader in Mistra Future Fashion Dr Sandra Roos comments,
‘Simply put, this is an important point, but it is also important to understand that concepts such as ‘sustainable materials’ in principle do not make sense – one must relate to function. A material is not only more or less sustainable, but the sustainability aspect is dependent on production methods, use and considering the alternative.”
The Swedish fashion industry have already shown great interest in the UN Fashion Charter. In early December, initiated by Elin Larsson, Sustainability Consultant, and Micheal Shragger, founder of Sustainable Fashion Academy, launched STICA – Swedish Textile Initiative for Climate Action. The organization will gather Swedish actors who want to work together guided by the 16 points of the document and showcase Sweden as a pioneer country. Elin Larsson comments,
”The climate issue is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, but unfortunately the time we have to solve this crisis is running out. It’s a difficult challenge that no actor can solve by itself, but we can influence and drive change together, companies and organizations throughout the ecosystem of fashion – both big and small. That is why I am so happy to see the launch of the Climate Charter”
Multiple leading fashion brands and NGO’s have already signed the Charter. Signets include Adidas, Burberry, Guess, Gap, H&M, Hugo Boss, Kering Group, Lenzing, Levi Strauss & Co, PVH Corp, Stella McCartney, Target, Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA), WWF International and ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals Foundation). Swedish signets include Filippa K, H&M Group, Re:newcell and Peak Permofmance,
The first official meeting leading up to the UN Fashion Industry Charter was held in Bonn in January 2018. However, the idea tracks back to a UN organized side event on fashion and sustainability during the climate meeting COP22 on site in Marrakesh. Mistra Future Fashion Is honored to have been a part of the work leading up to such an important document and we encourage all stakeholders to sign.