WAKEFIELD – Today we launch the second in a series of our new podcasts in partnership with Michael Schragger, Founder of the Sustainable Fashion Academy (SFA), which this week talks about the impact the textile and apparel industry has on climate change – and what companies can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Speaking from their offices in Washington and Portland, respectively, Cynthia Cummis and Michael Sandowski from the World Resources Institute say apparel brands and retailers now need to start setting science-based targets to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) more urgently than ever before.
This includes emissions reduction right through supply chains, so the industry can contribute to the planetary goal of reducing the rate of global warming to within the 1.5ºC rise above pre-industrial levels, as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The carbon footprint across the global apparel sector is large for many parts of the textile and clothing industry, says Sandowski, former director of Sustainable Innovation and Business at Nike. He rightly points out there is no industry-wide agreement about the scale of these emissions, with estimates ranging from 2 – 8 per cent of the global total, “but we do know they are significant and growing, as developing nations become wealthier and are buying more clothing,” he says.
Cummis outlines the current state of the work being done by the World Resources Institute (WRI) to help apparel businesses set science-based targets for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and gives guidance on “how apparel companies can meet these targets once they have been set.”
Work on industry GHGs was prompted several years ago at a Sustainable Apparel Coalition meeting when delegates were challenged to address an issue, that for many leading scientists, is still the “key pressing environmental issue” of our age, noted Sandwoski. “This was really the start of what a science-based target may look like for the apparel industry,” he notes.
Listeners will also be able to hear about the business reasons why companies should set and then adopt science-based targets for reducing their GHG emissions, in addition what sort of investments will be required.
This lengthy interview is full of nuanced opinions and advice for sustainability nerds and practitioners, so pour yourself a cup of coffee, turn off your alerts, sit back and enjoy.