THE CLIMATIC COLLABORATION!
Pankaja Balaji gives insights into climate change and its impact and how the fashion industry can work to overcome this challenge.
The evident consequences of climate change are upon us. Multiple cyclones, seemingly endless monsoons, killer heat waves and frigid winters are no longer hints; they are signs that we must act and act now. Three years ago, the historic Paris Accord was signed; countries pledged to keep rising global temperatures below 2°C. The International Panel of Climate Change gave the world a fixed carbon budget and reminded us that to prevent
THIS DIALOGUE HAS RESULTED IN THE CREATION OF A FASHION INDUSTRY CHARTER FOR CLIMATE ACTION.
catastrophic consequences, we needed to do whatever necessary to not cross the budget and to stay below it.
Understanding these dire warnings and the need for urgency, the pledging countries took on ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation targets, spoke about strict measures for sustainability and promised to unlock significant financing towards climate change mitigation.
Global alliances, sectoral policies at the national and international level, and academic research have been mobilised to guide industries such as oil and gas, construction, auto, etc., to tackle climate change. However, fashion and textiles have not seen similar industry-wide mobilisation and have remained without the same level of policy guidance.
Thankfully, 2018 has seen that changing.
GETTING A GLOBAL CONVERSATION STARTED
The textile industry is amongst the most polluting industry globally–second only to oil and gas, which doesn’t say much. The sector’s absolute GHG emissions are currently at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, which accounts for up to 10 per cent of total emissions. According to research, it is feared that if things were to remain as is, the textile industry could increase its emissions by 60 per cent over the coming decade, leaving little chance of being able to keep temperatures below 2°C, let alone the 1.5°C needed to keep our planet safe for future generations.
To say that the United Nations is deeply interested in fashion might seem like an incongruous fact. However, the two are no longer working in mutually exclusive spheres, and are now working closely together to tackle the impact of fashion on the climate and vice versa.
Earlier this year, there was a gathering at Bonn, Germany of well-known names in the global fashion and textiles industry ranging from Hugo Boss, Adidas and Puma to various members of the supply chain such as yarn manufacturers, recyclers as well as representatives of associations working towards environmental sustainability in the fashion world.
Over two days, they explored how to make fashion a significant stakeholder in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The dialogue touched upon potential environmental targets for the industry, new business models that met the triple bottom line, and creating a dialogue within the supply chain about the need for such measures.
Over the course of the year, this dialogue has resulted in the creation of a Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, to be launched at the end of 2018 at the COP24 in Katowice, Poland.
The charter itself is aligned to the Paris Accord’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and aims to leverage collaborative mechanism to make it a reality. The charter includes targets for reducing emissions, policy changes within the supply chain and the creation of a platform, and looks to create a dialogue among stakeholders to meet GHG targets and get moving on climate action.