Environmental NGO Stand.earth has warned that major fashion brands lack the tools necessary to actually achieve their net-zero goals throughout their whole supply chain.
Stand.earth analysed companies such as American Eagle, UNIQLO, Gap, H&M, Zara, Levi’s, Lululemon and Nike. They compared current commitments against the UN’s High Level Expert Group (HLEG) guidance in three key areas: climate ambition, phasing out fossil fuels-transitioning to renewable energy, and transparency and accountability.
The report found that net-zero ambition is not stretching into brands’ value chains, where the vast majority of their emissions are buried. While brands are embracing renewable energy in their own operations, there’s a large implementation gap when it comes to supply chain fossil fuel phase-out.
Additionally, brands are failing to provide supply chain transparency essential for accountability to their targets.
“If companies want to prove they’re not just greenwashing they need to follow the net zero guidelines set out by the HLEG and be the carbon reduction leaders they pretend to be,” said Gary Cook, corporate campaigns director at Stand.earth.
“We’re seeing a lot of greenwashing from the fashion industry because they know consumers want sustainable and ethical products, but they need to show how they are moving off fossil fuels, and prove they’re not just all talk.”
From the brands studied, only two out of ten – H&M, Kering – have set emissions reduction targets of at least 50% that cover their supply chains. They were also the only two that have committed to 100% renewable energy across their supply chain by 2030, despite energy decarbonisation being key to cutting their emissions.
Furthermore, only four brands (H&M, Nike, Levi and Kering) have set emissions targets before 2030, identified by HLEG as key to a consistent and urgent approach to cutting emissions.
Despite having agreed to a net zero target by signing onto the Fashion Charter, only half of the brands analysed (H&M, Zara, Kering, American Eagle, VF Corp) have released their own public net-zero pledge that has been validated by a third party, the Science Based Target Initiative