The biggest fashion companies are making slow progress on keeping their promises to improve their environmental and social impact, according to a damning sustainability report released on Monday.
Business of Fashion magazine’s first sustainability index, the first to offer direct comparisons between leading companies in the industry, found that they were often far from their ambitious rhetoric of going green.
“The global economy has 10 years to avert catastrophic climate change and an urgent duty to improve the well-being of the workers who run it,” said the report, which was developed by a panel of sustainability experts. of the whole world.
“Time is running out and it is no longer enough to declare an ambition for change.”
It ranked the top 15 fashion companies in six areas: transparency, emissions, water and chemicals, materials, workers’ rights and waste.
No company scored more than 50 out of 100, with Swiss company Richemont and US company Under Armor having the worst scores with just 14 and 9 in total. They did not respond to requests for comment.
The best performances were the French luxury house Kering and Nike, which obtained 49 and 47 respectively.
“A lot of the bigger fashion companies still don’t know or disclose where their products come from, and the further down the supply chain, the more opaque things become,” the report said.
“This allows exploitation and human rights violations and creates difficulties in measuring the environmental impact of the industry.”
‘It just doesn’t work’
A 2019 study by the United Nations Sustainable Fashion Alliance found that fashion was the second largest consumer of water and was responsible for 8-10% of global carbon emissions “more than all international flights and maritime transport combined “.
The new sustainability index said many companies had emission reduction targets, but little information on how they were doing.
Three companies, Richemont, Under Armor and LVMH, had not set emissions targets at all, he said.
Less than half were found to have clear targets for reducing the use of water and hazardous chemicals, and only four had a time-limited target to replace oil-based polyesters, the most fabric. commonly used around the world, by recycled alternatives.
The worst results were on the waste issue, with the report citing a recent Ellen MacArthur Foundation study that found 40 million tonnes of textiles were sent to landfills or incinerated each year.
“Businesses talk more about circularity than they embrace it,” he says.
The scores on workers’ rights were also dismal.
“We have been stuck with the current state of affairs for over 10 years and the rhetoric is always ahead of the action,” Anannya Bhattacharjee of the Asia Floor Wage Alliance said in the report.
“No matter how many committees are set up in factories, they just don’t work,” she added. “Commitments to a living wage make no sense if the purchase prices do not cover the cost of the living wage.”
Nonetheless, the report sought a constructive tone, saying it was not designed to chastise or praise individual companies, but to encourage innovation.
“Environmental sustainability is more important than any brand, supplier or retailer. We all have to work together, ”wrote another of the authors, Edwin Keh, of the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel.
Turning crop waste into high-value fashion products
Quote: Fashion industry fails to meet green targets: report (2021, March 22) retrieved March 23, 2021 from https://phys.org/news/2021-03-fashion-industry-green.html
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