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Fashion, sports industries commit to battle climate change

Fashion, sports industries commit to battle climate change


The global fashion and sports industries have joined the battle against climate change by launching charters for climate action.

The fashion industry charter for climate action is aligned with the goals of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement, which includes limiting global warming to 1.5-degree Celsius or well below two degrees Celsius this century. It  was launched December 10 at the United Nations climate change summit, or COP24, in Katowice, Poland.

According to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), clothing manufacturing produces 10 percent of the world's climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions through its energy-intensive production and supply chains. The UNFCCC estimates that if nothing is done to address this output, emissions from this sector will soar to more than 60 percent by 2030.

Through the fashion charter, the global fashion industry hopes to collectively reduce these emissions by addressing its impact across its entire value chain, with a vision of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

“Now you would ask why the fashion industry is so much interested in this -- after all it is about selling shoes and selling clothing,” said Stefan Seidel, head of corporate sustainability at Puma SE, a German multinational company that designs and manufactures Puma athletic and casual footwear among other products. 

“We are in the business of selling shoes and selling clothing, and [yet] we have this huge impact [on the climate],” he noted, speaking at the launch of the charter.

According to Seidel, the fashion industry's climate emissions are estimated to be higher than those of the transport sector and those of Russia, "so that shows the size of the problem that we are facing,” he said.

Russia, with a population of 144 million people, emitted 1,693 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2017, according to the Global Carbon Project.

Up to 43 leading companies in the global fashion industry including Adidas, Hugo Boss, H&M Group, Puma SE, and global logistics company Maersk, among others, have committed to implementing or supporting this charter.

As signatories, these companies have committed to reducing their aggregate greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. They are also to keep quantifying, tracking and publicly reporting their emissions, consistent with standards and best practices of measurement and transparency.

Relatedly, the global sports sector on December 11 launched the Sports for Climate Action Framework.
The framework is meant to unite sports organisations, teams, athletes and fans to battle climate change through raising awareness and action to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

That agreement urges ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.

According to the UNFCCC, representatives from the sports industry have been working with the UN over the past year to create the new Sports for Climate Action Framework, which aims drive emission reductions in sporting operations and tap the popularity and passion of sport fans to engage millions of people in the effort.

Up to 17 sports organizations including FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, UEFA and Formula E are already signatories to this framework.

“I’m here to encourage you to use your significant global leadership position to help us address the greatest challenge of our time: Climate change,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

“Sports produces climate-changing emissions in many ways, through associated travel, energy use, construction of venues, catering, and other ways,” she noted.

Speaking at the launch, Prince Albert II of Monaco, chair of the of the Sustainability and Legacy Commission of the International Olympic Committee, said sports would inspire millions of people to get involved.

“With its global reach, universal appeal and the power to inspire and influence millions of people around the globe, sport is uniquely placed to drive global climate action and encourage crowds to join in,” he said.