WORLD / CROSS-BORDERS
Fashion industry players failing to meet green targets: report
Published: Mar 23, 2021 07:58 PM
Fashion's biggest firms are making slow progress in meeting promises to improve their environmental and social impact, according to a damning sustainability report released on Monday.

Lucrezia Bonaccorsi and Lucilla Bonacorsi pose during the shooting of the video presentation of the F/W 2021/2022 collection by Luisa Beccaria during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021/2022 on February 22, 2021 in Voghera, Italy. Photo: VCG

Lucrezia Bonaccorsi and Lucilla Bonacorsi pose during the shooting of the video presentation of the F/W 2021/2022 collection by Luisa Beccaria during the Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2021/2022 on February 22, 2021 in Voghera, Italy. Photo: VCG

The inaugural Sustainability Index by the Business of Fashion magazine, the first to offer direct comparisons between the industry's top firms, found they were often falling far short of their ambitious rhetoric on going green.

"The global economy has 10 years to avoid catastrophic climate change and an urgent duty to improve the welfare of the workers who make it tick," said the report, which was put together by a panel of sustainability experts from around the world.

"Time is running out and simply stating an ambition to change is no longer good enough."

It graded the biggest 15 fashion companies across six areas: transparency, emissions, water and chemicals, materials, workers' rights and waste. Not one company scored more than 50 out of 100, with Swiss firm Richemont and US firm Under Armour faring worst with scores of just 14 and nine overall. The best performers were French luxury house Kering and Nike, who scored 49 and 47 respectively.

"Many of fashion's biggest companies still don't know or don't disclose where their products come from, and the further down the supply chain you go, the more opaque things become," the report said. 

"That enables exploitation and human rights abuses and creates difficulties measuring the industry's environmental impact."

A 2019 study by the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion found that fashion was the second-biggest consumer of water, and responsible for 8-10 percent of global carbon emissions - "more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined."

The new Sustainability Index said many firms had targets to reduce emissions but provided little information on how they were faring.

Three firms - Richemont, Under Armour and LVMH - had not set emissions targets at all, it said. 

Fewer than half were found to have clear goals on reducing the use of water and hazardous chemicals.
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