Can Fashion Be ‘Nature-Positive’? | BoF

Over the past two weeks, several leading fashion companies have joined COP15, the United Nations conference on biodiversity in Montreal, to highlight the potential impact of human activity on the natural world in the face of a million species of flora and fauna. emphasized efforts to address the threats it poses. extinction.

Inditex, owner of the H&M Group, Burberry, Kering and Zara, is leading a campaign to require large companies to disclose their impact on biodiversity. Kering is also an investment vehicle aimed at mobilizing his €300 million (approximately $320 million) to finance nature restoration and community projects in luxury fashion and beauty companies, including L’Occitane Group. I called for participation in the newly launched Climate for Nature Fund. Strengthened its relationship with UNESCO and announced a new program to restore forest cover in the Amazon with her non-profit Reforest’Action.

Conservation experts say COP15 will establish a framework similar to what the historic 2015 Paris Agreement did for climate goals, defining ambition to restore and protect nature over the next decade. It is an opportunity to succeed or fail to do so.

Conservation is more difficult to define and measure than greenhouse gas emissions, but wildlife populations declined by an average of 69% between 1970 and 2018, and one million plants and animals are now threatened with extinction. facing. World Wildlife Fund. It’s a problem for the planet. But it also has a direct impact on the fashion business, which needs to strengthen its access to natural resources and strengthen its supply chain.

Lacking a clearly defined framework and science-based goals, fashion companies and NGOs are uniting around buzzwords such as ‘naturally positive’, but to seriously address this issue, the way fashion businesses operate We need a revolution at the heart of the method. And as it stands, there is a huge gap between commitment and action.

The majority of fashion companies are still in the roadmap and benchmarking stages and have not yet defined and taken action to address this issue. The G7 Fashion Pact, an alliance of more than 200 leading fashion brands, made biodiversity one of its three key pillars when it announced its goals in October 2020. We are committed to using deforestation-free materials by 2025.

The fashion industry’s biodiversity ambitions must be greater and built into the way it manages supply chains that rely on natural resource extraction and manufacturing.

There is evidence that brands are taking a more thoughtful approach to nature-based initiatives than just planting acres of trees to offset their negative impact on the other side of the world. The fund primarily targets projects in countries where participating companies source raw materials.

Meanwhile, this year’s BoF Sustainability Index shows that concepts such as regenerative agriculture, which restores soil health, promotes carbon sequestration and promotes biodiversity, are gaining interest from a growing number of leading fashion companies. I understand. However, only three of the 30 companies surveyed show a strategy to transform their supply chain.

That will require some level of traceability to raw material suppliers, which fashion companies have yet to master, but some experts say this shouldn’t deter action.

“Even if you don’t know where your supply base is, you can still act,” said Liesl Truscott, director of industry accountability and insight at the nonprofit textile exchange. “Let’s wait for full traceability. We know where the hot spots are.”

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