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GENEVA – WWF has welcomed a new UN initiative which encourages apparel and textile supply chains to address climate change. The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), unveiled at Textile Exchange’s event, calls on brands, suppliers and other actors to commit to at least a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions across the value chain by 2030. It also calls on them to support development of a sector decarbonisation pathway that helps the industry set science-based targets (SBTs), and to collaborate on joint solutions to key climate challenges.

Laila Petrie, WWF’s textiles & cotton lead said: “This is welcome and significant. Until now, not only has the textiles sector lacked overarching goals or a mechanism for collaboration, but current analysis also puts its impacts at anywhere between 2 and 10 per cent of global GHG emissions — and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation claims under a 2°C pathway this could reach 26 per cent by 2050.

”If the sector is truly to accelerate sustainability, an ambitious pathway that supports SBTs across all parts of the value chain in line with a 1.5°C scenario is essential.

“For textiles and apparel brands, GHG emissions are overwhelmingly generated within raw material production, supply chain processing and assembly, and in customer product care and end of life disposal.

“Inherently outside the direct control of any single company, these ‘Scope 3’ impacts mean brands need to collaborate with each other as well as suppliers, governments, financial organisations and consumers to really tackle their climate impacts.

“The good news is that the sector already has a proven track record in working together.

Over a decade ago, collaboration between NGOs and brands like IKEA, H&M and M&S helped establish the Better Cotton Initiative and develop sustainable cotton practices in key markets such as India and Pakistan.

”And today, WWF and IKEA’s ongoing work with in-country partners is pushing the boundaries of what sustainability means for cotton, and supporting decision-makers in the two countries to adopt and integrate improved practices into agricultural programmes and policies.

“Similarly, exciting and ambitious commitments like the one from H&M to become climate positive across its whole value chain by 2040 can only be realised through collaboration.”

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