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The 27th edition of the United Nations Conference of the Parties or COP27 was held last week from November 6 to 18. The event, which took place in the city of Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, brought together around 90 heads of state and representatives from more than 190 countries with the aim of achieving the climate goals agreed under the Paris Agreement and the Convention itself.
This edition kicked off with the Global Leaders Summit, which was followed by discussions on topics such as climate finance, decarbonization, climate change adaptation and agriculture during the first week. The second week covered topics such as water and biodiversity.
As far as the fashion industry is concerned, it had a limited impact on this year’s negotiations, although the event was attended by organizations such as Global Fashion Agenda, Better Cotton Initiative or representatives of major international brands such as H&M or Stella McCartney.
Global Fashion Agenda and the UN announce the launch of a consultation on fashion industry goals
The non-profit organization Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), formerly the Copenhagen Fashion Summit, organized during the event a trio of talks aimed at addressing how the fashion industry can become net positive, how it can reduce its carbon footprint and the actions needed to encourage and promote circular systems. In addition, it announced its collaboration with UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) to conduct an online consultation on the fashion industry’s environmental targets.
The “Fashion Industry Targets Consultation” will identify and merge existing industry targets. The targets are set in relation to five priorities: respectful and safe working environments, better wage systems, resource stewardship, smart material selection and circular economy.
In addition, during the consultation, which is now available, respondents (brands, retailers, NGOs, manufacturers, etc.) will be asked for their views on sustainability targets for our industry. The findings will be released at the GFA Global Summit in Copenhagen in June 2023, and the assessment on the industry’s progress towards sustainability will subsequently be published in the GFA Monitor.
Better Cotton calls on COP27 leaders to support frontline farmers
The Better Cotton initiative issued a warning to world leaders attending the COP27 climate summit to do more to protect the world’s farmers and farm workers.
Better Cotton, whose members include global fashion and textile brands, is calling for greater collaboration across the industry and its value chains to drive transparency, advocacy and action in support of smallholder farming communities.
The organization argues that climate mitigation and adaptation, as well as a just transition, are only possible with sustained investment in regenerative agriculture and sustainable farming. Extreme and unpredictable weather events are becoming more frequent, impacting the supply of natural fashion fibers; it is therefore important to create more resilient farms and help producers recover after such events, as well as to increase the use of new generation fibers.
The recent tragic floods in Pakistan illustrate how the cotton sector can be affected overnight by extreme weather patterns and affect the livelihoods of millions of people. According to McKinsey, the fashion sector must align itself with the 1.5 degree pathway over the next eight years and intensify its efforts to make agricultural practices more sustainable.
It is worth mentioning that COP26 President Alok Sharma had already urged prior to the Summit to maintain the goal of limiting the maximum temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius, as 1.1 degrees Celsius of global warming has currently been reached.
An alliance of fashion giants pledge to buy more than half a million tons of low-carbon alternative fibers
An alliance of companies including H&M, Inditex, Stella McCartney and Kering, among many others, have pledged to buy more than half a million tons of low-carbon, low-footprint alternative fibers produced from textile and agricultural waste instead of forest fibers, for use in both fabrics and packaging.
According to the NGO Canopy, responsible for the alliance, each ton of clothing produced with these alternative fibers will save between 4 and 15 tons of carbon per ton of product.
In Recovo we join the commitment to climate change from the circularity of the fabrics. Most of the textile production ends up being discarded or incinerated, but every year more fabrics are manufactured with its consequent pollution and resource depletion. For this reason, we work through collaborations with fashion companies to launch collections with a minimum environmental impact, helping them to incorporate recovered materials into their collections, while at the same time providing a sustainable outlet for their surplus materials, reducing textile waste and extending the life of materials globally.