Top clothing firms commit to science-based climate targets

18th September 2017

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Some of the world’s biggest apparel companies including NIKE and GUESS have committed to set emission reduction goals through the Science Based Targets initiative this week.

This means there are now more than 300 companies that have joined the programme, representing an estimated $6.5trn (£4.8trn) in market value, and responsible for 750 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

Businesses that sign up have two years to develop science-based targets, with only those that meet strict criteria approved, before being closely reviewed by a team of experts.

“As more companies see the advantages of science-based targets, the transition towards a low-carbon economy is becoming a reality,” said Lila Karbassi, chief of programmes at UN Global Compact, one the initiative’s partners.

“This is not only vital for consumers and the planet, but also for future-proofing growth, with businesses working towards ambitious targets seeing increased innovation, cost savings, and improved investor confidence.”

Companies setting science-based targets must seek not only reduce emissions in their own operations, but also within their value chains.

As more than 90% of apparel brands’ emissions are from the value chain, and since many share the same suppliers, it is thought that the latest firms to commit to the initiative can help create efficiencies across the whole industry.

The total amount of companies signed up span 35 countries and represent a wide range of sectors, including manufacturing, power, retail, consumer goods, technology, chemicals, apparel, hospitality and banking.

Around 50 of these are US firms, more than in any other country, suggesting that businesses will continue to try and reduce emissions, despite Donald Trump pulling them out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Virgina-based firm Mars had its science-based targets approved last week, with its global sustainability director, Kevin Rabinovitch saying: “We believe the targets set a new standard for responsible business growth.

“We are using science to set long-term absolute greenhouse gas targets covering our entire value chain and look forward to others joining us.”


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