Just ahead of the G7 meeting in Biarritz, which is concluding today, François-Henri Pinault, chairman and CEO of luxury fashion group Kering, unveiled the Fashion Pact, a coalition of 32 fashion houses to protect the world’s climate, biodiversity and oceans, on Friday, to be presented to world leaders of the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. It intends to build on the work of existing organisations such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Fashion For Good.
“The global challenges we are facing are complex. They know no borders. Only coalitions can overcome them, bringing together governments, businesses and civil societies. This Fashion Pact is about saying: We have acknowledged the 21st century’s environmental issues, and we are taking our responsibility through collective action and common objectives,” explained Pinault in an email to The New York Times on Thursday.
Luxury, fashion, sports and lifestyle brands and retailers support Fashion Pact
The coalition consists of 32 luxury, fashion, sports and lifestyle brands along with suppliers and retailers, among them Adidas, Burberry, Chanel, Galeries Lafayette, H&M, Inditex, Nike, Puma and Stella McCartney. It was sparked by French president Emmanuel Macron who asked Pinault to “bring together the leading players in fashion and textile, with the aim of setting practical objectives for reducing the environmental impact of their industry”, according to Kering in a statement on Friday.
The non-binding agreement outlines various goals in three areas (climate, biodiversity and oceans) and three levels of actions, namely global commitments, concrete joint initiatives and accelerators. The latter are defined in the Fashion Pact as “actions that cut across the commitments and that create the enabling environment to achieve the targets. These may also be areas for collaboration within fashion as well as across sectors and that demonstrate leadership and innovation by the fashion industry”.
Among the goals are a switch to 100 percent renewable energy throughout operations, aiming to implement renewables "in all high-impact manufacturing processes along the entire supply chain by 2030" and making the industry carbon neutral by 2050. The pact also aims to set science-based targets for restoring natural ecosystems and to protect wildlife by switching to regenerative and wildlife-friendly approaches to agriculture, mining and forestry.
In addition, the Fashion Pact targets the issue of marine pollution by committing to phase out single-use plastics for B2B and B2C packaging by 2030 and thus reducing the fashion industry’s negative impact on the world’s oceans. It also aims to promote sustainability and circularity by using recycled textiles and wants to tackle social inclusion and fair wages and working conditions throughout the supply chain by focusing on “empowering small-hold producers and women in low-income countries”.
“As we work in shared supply chains across the world, Puma believes that it is essential to bring the industry together to achieve meaningful change and improve our environmental impact. We strongly believe in this initiative and look forward to working together with our partners on the priorities we have set out in the Fashion Pact,” commented Puma CEO Bjørn Gulden in a press release on Friday.
"We know that one company cannot solve the environmental challenges facing our planet alone and we believe in the power of collaboration to drive real change. The objectives of the Fashion Pact strongly align with our own work in this area over the past decade, and we are looking forward to working with the other signatories to help transform our industry, support our communities and protect the environment," said Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti in a statement.
After Friday’s meeting and launch of the Fashion Pact at the G7 meeting, Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s chief sustainability officer, promised a follow-up meeting in October to confirm more in-depth pledges. She also defended the fact that there will be no punitive measures for signatories that fail to meet their targets. “This is not about regulation. We cannot punish groups directly. But by committing to improved and collective transparency, there is an incentive for those in this pact to stick to targets and not fall behind,” she said.
Currently, the Fashion Pact consists of the following 32 companies: Adidas, Bestseller, Burberry, Capri Holdings Limited, Carrefour, Chanel, Ermenegildo Zegna, Everybody & Everyone, Fashion3, the Fung Group, Galeries Lafayette, Gap Inc., Giorgio Armani, the H&M Group, Hermes, Inditex, Karl Lagerfeld, Kering, La Redoute, Matchesfashion.com, Moncler, Nike, Nordstrom, the Prada Group, Puma, PVH Corp., Ralph Lauren, Ruyi, Salvatore Ferragamo, the Selfridges Group, Stella McCartney and Tapestry.