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Gap Inc., NIKE, Inc., Levi’s Among Retailers Joining Initiative to Tackle Climate Change

NEW YORK (September 18) – Six top apparel companies today announced that they are joining the Science Based Targets initiative. Gap Inc., NIKE, Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., GUESS, EILEEN FISHER and VF Corporation committed to set emission reduction targets consistent with global efforts to limit warming to well below 2°C. The new companies join other fashion brands that that have already committed to set science based targets, including H&M, ASICS, Kering, PUMA, Walmart, Inditex, Woolworths Holdings Ltd, Marks and Spencer, and One Jeanswear Company.

More than 300 companies, including 15 from the apparel sector, have committed to set ambitious emissions reduction targets through the Science Based Targets initiative, a partnership between WWF, CDP, WRI and the UN Global Compact. Businesses who commit have two years to develop science-based targets, which are then reviewed by the initiative’s team of experts. So far, 72 science based targets meeting the initiative’s strict criteria have been approved. The initiative is also one of the We Mean Business coalition commitments.

“By joining the Science Based Targets initiative, these companies are positioning themselves as leaders in the apparel sector,” said Cynthia Cummis, WRI’s Director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation and member of the Science Based Targets initiative steering committee. “The fashion industry is known for innovation and these companies are using that spirit to tackle climate change. For apparel brands, up to 90 percent of emissions come from the value chain, and companies share many of the same suppliers, so setting ambitious value chain targets will open up a great deal of opportunity for collaboration, innovation and efficiency across the industry.”

“Aligning our greenhouse gas reduction goals with Science Based Targets is an important action we can take right now to protect the future of our planet,” said Victor Herrero, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Guess?, Inc. “We at GUESS understand the importance and urgency of climate change and therefore strive to set an example that will positively impact the future of fashion.”

“We believe that the private sector has a critical role to play in the transition to a low-carbon economy. By joining the Science Based Target initiative (SBTi), we’re strengthening our commitment to tackling climate change and working collaboratively, building on the progress we’ve made in our owned and operated facilities,” said Melissa Fifield, Senior Director of Sustainable Innovation at Gap Inc. “We look forward to working with the SBTi to align our future emissions reduction targets with sound climate science.”

“Levi Strauss & Co. knows that transitioning to a low-carbon future is vital to the health and well-being of the people who make and wear our iconic products,” said Anna Walker, Senior Director, Global Policy and Advocacy, Levi Strauss & Co. “That’s why we are committing to set science based targets in reducing our own emissions as well as emissions throughout our value chain. By doing so, LS&Co. and our communities will continue to thrive for the next 160 years and beyond.”

In addition to reducing emissions from their operations, companies that join the Science Based Targets initiative are required to set ambitious “scope 3” value chain targets when these emissions are significant. This is important because to date, most apparel companies have not been measuring and managing emissions upstream and downstream of their operations, where most of their emissions lie.

Quantis, a company that specializes in environmental sustainability services and solutions, is working with ClimateWorks to develop a more comprehensive view of the apparel industry’s footprint. A preliminary estimate, based on apparel production volumes and calculated with emission factors from Quantis’ World Apparel and Footwear Lifecycle Database, shows that the greenhouse gas emissions of the global apparel sector may amount to a significant 5 percent of total emissions. This is comparable in impact to the total emissions of the aviation sector or to the total greenhouse gas emissions of Russia.

So far, two fashion companies have approved targets:
  • Kering, French luxury goods company and owner of Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Balenciaga and other lines, commits to reduce emissions from upstream transportation and distribution, business air travel, and fuel and energy use by 50 percent per unit of value added by 2025, from a 2015 base-year. In addition, the company commits to curb emissions from purchased goods and services by 40 percent per unit of value added within the same timeframe.
  • Marks & Spencer, the British multinational retailer, commits to reduce absolute emissions from operations 80 percent by 2030, and has a longer term vision to achieve 90 percent absolute emissions reductions by 2035, from a 2007 base-year. In addition, the company commits to reduce value chain emissions by 13.3 megatonnes of CO2. between 2017 and 2030.
Setting science based targets is an opportunity for apparel sector companies to ensure they are doing their part to protect consumers and supply chains from the consequences of climate change. For example, scientists fear climate change could cut the global cotton supply by 30-45 percent by the end of the century.
The Science Based Targets initiative is currently working with the apparel sector to develop sector-specific guidance for setting science-based targets. The guidance aims to create clarity and consistency for the sector and reduce barriers for apparel companies seeking to set science-based targets.
The Science Based Targets initiative champions science-based target setting as a powerful way of boosting companies’ competitive advantage in the transition to the low-carbon economy. The initiative defines and promotes best practice in science-based target setting, offers resources and guidance to reduce barriers to adoption, and independently assesses and approves companies’ targets. It is a partnership between WWF, CDP, WRI and the UN Global Compact, and one of the We Mean Business coalition commitments.

For more information and interviews contact: Mandy Jean Woods mwoods@wwfint.org