As part of the G7 summit in France, some of the biggest names in the fashion industry have pledged to fight climate change and conduct their businesses in more environmentally-conscious ways by signing a new sustainability pact.
In unexpected news out of the G7 summit, luxury fashion companies including Prada, Chanel, Burberry and Hermes have signed a pledge to make their garment production more sustainable. Sportswear brands Nike and Adidas and fast-fashion companies Gap and H&M have also signed on.
Led by CEO François-Henri Pinault of luxury brand Kering – which manages Gucci, Balenciaga and Saint Laurent among other brands – the “Fashion Pact G7” recognises that fashion is one of the industries having the greatest impact on the environment and “should also have the power to play a pivotal role in leading the shift towards a more sustainable future.”
This initiative is the first of its kind. It unites fashion brands, many of whom are life-long competitors, under a common goal.
Without action, the fashion industry could account for a quarter of the world’s total carbon footprint by 2050. A surge in environmental concerns, particularly among young people, is forcing fashion giants to act to address our planet’s looming climate catastrophe.
At the request of French President Emmanuel Macron, 32 global companies have signed the pact. This amounts to roughly 150 brands in total under their parent companies. The deal was made using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Science-Based Targets, which is promising in terms of the real impact the agreement could have on the fashion industry’s effect on climate change.
Director of sustainability operations at Kering, Michael Beutler, told Vogue Business:
“The idea of engaging at the G7 level is also around getting the commitment at the governmental level to address these types of concerns with a sense of urgency.”
The pact has three focus sections: climate change, protecting oceans, and restoring biodiversity. The aims include the reduction in single-use plastics by 2030; eliminating greenhouse gases by 2050; using materials which have no impacts on key species or ecosystems; and supporting innovation to destroy micro-fibre pollution.
François-Henri Pinault told the Copenhagen Fashion Summit in May:
“We have to work collectively. It’s about a few leaders who are willing to put themselves in an uncomfortable situation to force themselves to move.”
Each company is expected to meet targets to achieve ‘net-zero’ over the next 30 years.
The full list of signatories includes:
- Capri Holdings Limited
- Ermenegildo Zegna
- Everybody & Everyone
- Fung Group
- Galeries Lafayette
- Gap Inc.
- Giorgio Armani
- H&m Group
- Inditex (Zara)
- Karl Lagerfeld
- La Redoute
- Prada Group
- Pvh Corp.
- Ralph Lauren
- Salvatore Ferragamo
- Selfridges Group
- Stella McCartney
In May of this year, Kering pledged to follow new standards for animal welfare. This includes requirements for the treatment of cattle, sheep and goats as well as abattoir guidelines.
Kering aims for all linen, cotton and polyester fabrics used by the company to be organic, recycled or sustainable by 2050. They also stated that 80 per cent of the energy used by company should be sustainable by 2022.
Additionally, the global fashion company has expanded further on their ethical promises, beyond sustainability. Kering has pledged to stop hiring minors for its campaigns, pledging that there will be no models under the age of 18 in their advertising or on catwalks. This policy will begin early next year.
Pinault told the audience at the Copenhagen summit,
“We are conscious of the influence exerted on younger generations in particular by the images produced by our houses. We believe that we have a responsibility to put forward the best possible practices in the luxury sector and hope to create a movement that will encourage others to follow.”
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