Fashion brands gear up for the Climate Decade

Reading time: 3 minutes
31 January 2020

We are now in the Climate Decade – the decade in which the world has to act together to halve global emissions. That means businesses across all sectors have to play their part.  

One of the sectors that often faces a great deal of scrutiny is the fashion industry – and rightly so. As one of the world’s most polluting industries, it’s crucial that companies in this space are going further and faster to decarbonize their operations. Not only does it make business sense, but collectively they have the responsibility and power to accelerate the clean energy transition.  

At The Climate Group, we work with 15 leading international fashion, apparel, textile and footwear retailers committed to climate action, specifically being powered by 100% renewable electricity through RE100, in partnership with CDP, and making smarter use of energy through EP100. We now need more businesses to join them, more ambitious targets set and most importantly, more action to fulfill these pledges.  

With renowned fashion labels currently taking to catwalks around the world for Autumn/Winter shows as part of Fashion Week, we’ve heard from some of our members about their plans for this critical decade of climate action. Here’s what they have to say: 

H&M Group  

Swedish fashion brand, H&M Group, has been committed to 100% renewable power since RE100 was founded over five years ago, and are already sourcing over 90% of their electricity from renewables. They were also the first international fashion retailer to pledge to double their energy productivity through EP100 in 2017. 

Alongside installing LED lighting in new stores and retrofitting and upgrading heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) systems and lighting controls in more mature markets, they also have plans to invest heavily in innovative, energy-saving technologies to build stores using 40% less energy than those constructed today.  

Transitioning to renewable power and making smarter use of energy has long been a key component of H&M Group’s climate strategy. They say that the main motive to join our corporate leadership initiatives is summed up by the adage: if you want to go fast, go alone; but if you want to go far, go together. They believe it is only through collaboration with others that industry-wide challenges, such as climate change, can be tackled.  

Kim Hellström, Climate Strategy Lead for H&M Group:  

“Business cannot act as if they own the planet and even if we may compete on street level, we should stand joined in action for a sustainable fashion future. Belonging to an industry very dependent on materials such as cotton and with an intensive use of water and chemicals, climate is a top priority in H&M Group’s sustainability agenda. We see exciting years ahead as we should be climate neutral by 2030 and climate positive by 2040. Ambitious emission reduction programs and investments in renewable energy in our whole supply chain will play a key role in that journey. And even though there is still a lot to explore on how we can help the planet to recover from and resist climate change, we are definitely committed to take a lead role and inspire others.”   

Fashion brands committed to 100% renewables through RE100 will help to save emissions equivalent to 5 billion miles driven in a gas guzzling car - that's the same as driving around the world 200,000 times.

Burberry 

Luxury fashion brand, Burberry, is a global retailer and manufacturer that employs over 10,000 people and has over 400 retail locations worldwide. Joining RE100 in 2017, Burberry is on track to procure 100% of its electricity from renewable sources to power its whole business by 2022. Currently, 58% of their total energy (including 68% of their electricity) is obtained from renewables.  

But not only is Burberry focusing on reducing emissions from their direct operations – which is also consistent with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the global temperate increase to 1.5˚C – they are similarly targeting indirect emissions from across their value chain, including the impact from sourcing raw materials and manufacturing finished goods.

Pam Batty, VP of Corporate Responsibility, Burberry: 

“We have had leading environmental and social programmes in place for more than 15 years to protect the environment and our communities around the world. In 2017 we set goals for 2022 covering our operations, supply chain and extended communities, which are designed to drive positive change through innovation, research and partnerships. We have since expanded our climate goals by setting more ambitious science-based targets along our entire value chain in line with the aims of the Paris Climate Agreement. Looking ahead to the next 10 years, we think real progress will come through collaboration, to share best practices and meaningfully scale existing solutions. We will only have true impact as an industry if all players move as one.”

Ralph Lauren Corporation 

Ralph Lauren, the premium fashion house, has committed to powering 100% of its globally owned and operated offices, distribution centers and stores with renewable electricity by 2025. 

To achieve their goal, they will pursue a combination of virtual power purchase agreements in North America as well as assess a select number of U.S. sites for onsite solar power installations. For the remaining electricity use, the company will purchase Green Power Products, including Renewable Energy Certificates, Guarantees of Origin and International Renewable Energy Credits.   

Patrice Louvet, President & CEO, Ralph Lauren Corp:  

“A world that is beautiful and cared for is the ultimate luxury, and we have a role to play in protecting it by addressing our impacts and creating a more sustainable future. At Ralph Lauren, we are strengthening our commitment to address climate change, one of the biggest challenges facing our world, by joining the movement of companies driving the adoption of renewable energy with RE100 and affirming our support for the Paris Agreement.” 

PVH Corporation 

PVH is one of the largest global apparel companies, owning and marketing brands such as Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Van Heusen and Speedo. Alongside its RE100 commitment of powering 100% of its operations with renewables by 2030, they have also set an intermediate goal of reaching 50% by 2025. 

PVH recognizes that progress against climate change starts with external measurements and accountability. The steps they are taking include engaging with suppliers operating the most energy-intensive facilities to set targets and reduce greenhouse gas footprints, working to develop products with lower environmental impact and collaborating with suppliers to drive renewable energy transitions.  

Marissa Pagnani McGowan, SVP, Corporate Responsibility, PVH Corp 

“The magnitude of the climate crisis is more apparent than ever and it is clear that the private sector will continue to play an integral role in global environmental concerns – from climate change to conservation – and we consider it our responsibility to help build a more sustainable future. As companies and organizations answer the urgent call for change, equally pressing is the need for concrete actions to make progress possible on an individual and systemic level. Committed to driving fashion forward for good, at PVH we are turning words into actions and working to address key issues on the world stage and in our own value chain.” 

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