Fashion industry needs to accelerate pace to meet climate goals, Reuters reports

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People stand by the window of a fashion boutique in a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan, on May 30, 2016. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

by Mimosa Spencer

PARIS (Reuters) – While some companies are improving their social and environmental credentials, the 30 largest publicly traded fashion companies must do more to meet Paris climate agreement goals and climate change, The Business of Fashion said in a report on Tuesday. United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Fashion brands are facing increasing pressure from consumers (especially younger consumers) and governments to do better when it comes to the environment.

Sarah Kent, chief sustainability reporter for trade industry publication The Business of Fashion, told Reuters: “You have some leaders making small steps, but fundamentally the industry is seriously underperforming.”

The Business of Fashion Sustainability Index 2022, in its second report, analyzes public disclosures about environmental goals and policies, including workers’ rights, into three categories – luxury, sportswear and high street fashion.

Puma ranked highest with 49 points out of 100, followed closely by dry (EPA:), last year’s leader, Levi Strauss (NYSE:), H&M Group and Burberry.

Puma welcomed the recognition, but CEO Bjorn Gulden said “there is still a lot of work to be done”. Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, said her company was “fully aware of the challenges ahead”.

Levi Strauss, H&M and Burberry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“There are signs of progress, but largely incremental,” Kent said, adding that “we’re not seeing the huge transformational leaps we really need to see over the next eight years” to meet the Paris goals.

Companies risk losing their cultural relevance and undermining long-term value by failing to act, the report said.

Outside of the areas assessed by the report, these companies scored the highest overall for reducing emissions but the worst for reducing waste.

“It’s a very tough challenge for an executive at any fashion company,” Kent said. “How do you find a way to keep your shareholders happy and demonstrate that you can continue to drive financial growth without driving production growth, rather than continuing to make more, and therefore mine more, and thus generate more waste?” Kent said.

The report doubled the number of companies it covered to 15. “More companies means worse outcomes, almost across the board,” Kent said.

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