Fashion giants commit to climate battle

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Top fashion firms told the UN COP24 conference in Poland that are ready to do their bit to fight global climate change

Katowice (Poland) – Dozens of top fashion industry firms have pledged at the UN climate talks to reduce their combined greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

“The fashion industry is always two steps ahead when it comes to defining world culture, so I am pleased to see it now also leading the way in terms of climate action,” UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa said in announcing the endeavour.

Industry giants joining the UN-led initiative include Adidas, Burberry, Esprit, Guess, Gap, H&M, Hugo Boss, Levi Strauss, Puma, Salomon and the Kering group, which owns Balenciaga, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent among others.

Maersk, one of the world’s largest container shipping companies, also signed the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action Monday on the margins of UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland.

The 43 firms have agreed to prioritise “climate-friendly” materials and low-carbon transport, and to stop installing coal-fired boilers at manufacturing sites from no later than 2025.

The companies have also pledged to explore so-called circular business models and encourage consumers to increase the lifespan of clothing, despite the “fast fashion” trend of frequently renewing entire wardrobes.

“If you look at the fashion industry, our history is maybe not the greatest when you talk about environmental performance,” Stefan Sidel, head of corporate sustainability at Puma, told reporters.

“So this time we want to get it right, upfront, we want to get active here and play an active role.”

The fashion industry is said to produce an estimated 10 percent of the world’s CO2 emissions.

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the industry “will require innovation and collaboration,” Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said.

“I want to call on my peers in the business, from other brands to retailers and suppliers, to sign up to this charter now,” added designer Stella McCartney.

“Collectively we have a voice and the capacity to make a difference.”

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