Stella McCartney, Levi’s Among Signatories of the New UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action

Fashion is one of the most significant polluting industries in the world. It’s a statistic repeated so often that we’ve become inured to the scope of the impact, especially since countries like China and Bangladesh bear the brunt of the environmental damage, keeping the problem conveniently out of sight, out of mind for the majority of North Americans.

As of today, 43 major brands have signed on to the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, which aims to have the fashion industry operating at net zero emissions by the year 2050. It’s the first worldwide collective agreement to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry, which is as significant as it sounds. Heavyweights such as  H&M, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Levi’s, Gap, and Inditex (which owns Zara) have all signed on, meaning there is real potential to curtail the industry’s out-of-control emissions.

“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 Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa said in a statement. “I congratulate the signatories of this important charter, which represents a unique commitment and collaboration from an array of fashion leaders. The Charter, like the renowned fashion runways of the world, sets an example that I hope others will follow.”

The Charter outlines a number of issues to be addressed, including decarbonizing the production phase, utilizing sustainable materials, low-carbon transportation and exploring circular business models. Out of the signatories, six working groups have been formed to determine how exactly these concepts will play out in real life.

Burberry is proud to be a signatory of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action,” the CEO of Burberry, Marco Gobbetti, said. “While we have committed to becoming carbon neutral in our own operations, achieving a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions across the entire global fashion industry by 2030 will require innovation and collaboration. By working together with other signatories of the Charter, we believe that we can achieve systemic change and build a more sustainable future.”

Stella McCartney, who has long been a leader in minimizing the environmental impact of her own business operations, adds, “Climate change is undoubtedly one of, if not, the biggest challenge of our lifetime. It is and will affect everyone on this planet and our future… I want to call on my peers in the business, from other brands to retailers and suppliers, to sign up to this charter now and take the necessary actions to address the reality of the issue of climate change in their business and value chains. Collectively we have a voice and the capacity to make a difference.”

We have reached out to the UN for the full list of signatories.

The founding signatories are as follows: adidas, Aquitex, Arcteryx, Burberry Limited, Esprit, Guess, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Hakro Gmbh., Hugo Boss, Inditex, Kering Group, Lenzing AG, Levi Strauss & Co., Mammut Sports Group AG, Mantis World, Maersk, Otto Group, Pidigi S.P.A, PUMA SE, re:newcell, Schoeller Textiles AG, Peak Performance, PVH Corp., Salomon, Skunkfunk, SLN Textil, Stella McCartney, Sympatex Technologies, Target and Tropic Knits Group.