Top Stories

May 29, 2020

Sustainable Fashion / Circular Economy

Zalando and Sustainable Apparel Coalition issue sustainable metrics for brands and retailers

German online fashion retailer Zalando has confirmed it will be the first retailer signed up to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) to use a new module that will make sustainability assessments mandatory for its private labels and partner brands sold on its platform. Zalando will collaborate with the SAC to use the Higg Brand & Retail Module (Higg BRM), a tool that provides retailers and brands with measures to assess performance around indicators such as carbon emissions, human rights and environmental parameters. Through the collaboration, Zalando will gather ethical and environmental data from its partner brands to understand the challenging areas and identify sustainability solutions. “Zalando’s decision to require its partner brands to use the Higg BRM will serve as a catalyst for bringing the industry together towards a standard system for sustainability measurement. This is how we can implement and achieve lasting change,” SAC’s executive director Amina Razvi said. The SAC consists of more than 250 global members, all of which are working to jointly develop the Higg Index and give the fashion sector a standardised approach to measuring environmental and ethical impact. (edie)

Textile Exchange launches Material Change Insights Report

Textile Exchange, a global non-profit that works to drive industry transformation in preferred fibres, has launched its 2019 Material Change Insights Report, surfacing insights about the state of fibre and materials sourcing in the textile sector. Companies are increasingly sourcing their raw materials from preferred sources, according to the report. “Reporting companies sourced nearly 40 percent of their materials from preferred sources in 2018. This includes cotton, polyester, nylon, manmade cellulosics, wool and down,” the report mentions. Textile Exchange defines a preferred material as one which results in improved environmental and/or social sustainability outcomes and impacts in comparison to conventional production. While more and more companies are incorporating circularity into their strategies, a deeper rethinking of value chains is still lacking. And, “to achieve the transformative shift we need, from a linear to circular textile system, efforts must be connected, accelerated, and scaled exponentially,” the report said. The 2019 report was authored by Textile Exchange’s Fiber and Materials team, with circularity content developed with global consultancy Corporate Citizenship and support from media partner GreenBiz. (Fiber2Fashion)

Sustainable Investment

Chevron’s investors defy board in demanding climate disclosures

In a rare move against Chevron Corporation’s board, shareholders of the US oil giant are calling on the company to disclose lobbying efforts and ensure that they support international goals to combat global warming. The proposal was the only one where a majority of Chevron’s investors diverged from the board’s recommendations in an annual meeting held virtually Wednesday. The matter was brought by BNP Paribas Asset Management, which has stepped up efforts in recent years to help further the Paris Agreement on climate change. BlackRock, Chevron’s second-biggest shareholder, also backed the measure. Though Chevron says it supports the goals of the Paris accord, some investors want reassurance that they’re not funding trade organisations that promote policies to the contrary. Chevron’s board had recommended investors vote against the proposal, saying that it already made transparent disclosures of its lobbying activities. The defeat, with a preliminary count showing 53% of investors voting in favour of the proposal, means Chevron will be required for the first time to issue a report detailing how those activities align or not with climate goals. Back in March a ruling by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enabled Chevron to avoid responding to shareholder questions on how it will set out targets aligned to the global climate accord. (Bloomberg)

Climate Change

New date agreed for COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow

A new date has been agreed for the international climate change summit in Glasgow, the United Nations has confirmed. The COP26 UN summit will now take place between 1 and 12 November 2021. It was originally supposed to take place in November 2020 but had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This year’s event was due to take place at the Scottish Events Campus in Glasgow, which has been turned into a temporary hospital in response to coronavirus. COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “While we rightly focus on fighting the immediate crisis of the coronavirus, we must not lose sight of the huge challenges of climate change.” Mr Sharma, who is also the UK government’s business secretary, added: “With the new dates for COP26 now agreed we are working with our international partners on an ambitious roadmap for global climate action between now and November 2021. The steps we take to rebuild our economies will have a profound impact on our societies’ future sustainability, resilience and wellbeing and COP26 can be a moment where the world unites behind a clean resilient recovery.” (BBC News)


Studies add to alarm over deforestation in Brazil

Two studies have raised alarm about deforestation in Brazil during the first year of the far-right president Jair Bolsonaro’s government. One study showed the country lost 12,000 km2 (4,633 sq miles) of forest last year. The other piece of research flagged a 27% increase in the destruction of tropical forests in eastern Brazil. Both studies were released days after it was revealed that the environment minister, Ricardo Salles, had advocated that the government use the cover of the coronavirus pandemic to further weaken the country’s increasingly shaky environmental protection laws. Amazon deforestation and fires have soared since Bolsonaro took office in January 2019, vowing to end the “fines industry” of environment agencies. “We need to make an effort while we are in a quiet moment for press coverage because they only talk about Covid,” Salles said in a ministerial meeting in April. A video of the meeting was released on last Friday. (The Guardian)

Image source: Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash