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Understanding the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action

Learn about the ambitious, but achievable charter that is a direct response to the Paris Agreement.

21 February 2019

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Written by Flora Davidson, Co-Founder of Supplycompass. Supplycompass is a sourcing platform that enables brands and manufacturers to find each other and work better together. Through the Supplycompass platform, brands get matched with a manufacturer, receive cost estimates, create tech packs, request samples and manage production all from one dashboard. Supplycompass is harnessing the power of tech to bring greater trust, transparency and collaboration to global supply chains.


Understanding the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action


In December 2018 at COP24 (the 24th United Nations Climate Change Conference) the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action was launched. The ambitious, but achievable charter is a direct response to the Paris Agreement, and born from recognition that the industry isn’t meeting the present climate change agenda based on its current trajectory. Spearheaded by Stella McCartney and supported by a range of brands, NGO’s and relevant organisations, its launch is an unprecedented show of unity and commitment on behalf of the industry to address the urgent measures needed to limit climate change. Here’s what you need to know.


It contains 16 key commitments towards climate action


Solutions-focussed, the charter will empower the industry to make ethical practices a top priority. The industry has essentially pledged to disrupt itself, with a vision to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 for all those that have signed. But it’s more than just a declaration, it details 16 galvanising commitments that will be monitored by the UN including:


  • Decarbonising the production phase
  • Switching to materials with a lower environmental impact and increase their recyclability
  • Implementing low-carbon transport
  • Influencing ethical consumption behaviours by engaging with consumers
  • Working with policymakers and the financing community to catalyse scalable solutions
  • Share information and best practices when it comes to ethical production
  • Exploring circular business models


Collaborative, cross-sector working groups will be set up


The charter represents a global platform for change. Following its launch the UN will bring together experts, brand-leaders, suppliers and relevant organisations to configure 6 working groups. Each group will be dedicated to a specific development area. Groups, monitored by the UN, will then work towards implementing industry action within their area. Seeing brands step into roles of responsibility and working with peers across fields to shape positive change is a great milestone.


Leaders from across the industry have come together to sign it – and so can you


The charter is a welcome step towards the fashion industry being a driving force for climate action. Key changemakers from across the textile, clothing and fashion industry have all signed, including major fashion brands such as Adidas, H&M Group, Inditex Levi Strauss & Co. and Gap Inc. Each has committed to a key target of reducing their greenhouse emissions by 30% by 2030 through concrete measures such as phasing out coal-fired boilers and other sources of coal-fired power generation in their own companies and direct suppliers by 2025.


“It’s really about bringing everyone together as an industry…

Actually taking responsibility, putting our money where our mouth is

and making amazing changes together,”

Stella McCartney, the Business of Fashion’s VOICES event


The charter recognises that we are all part of the solution to climate change, and is open to any company or organisation within the industry, of any size, to sign. Not only brands, but suppliers too, including those from the logistics and finance sectors are being encouraged to support the goals outlined in the charter. The charter’s ambition can only be realised if it’s supported throughout the industry.


It’s an exciting sign of things to come


The pressure on the fashion industry to reduce its impact on the planet is social, environmental, economic and, particularly now, political. The charter indicates the great need for businesses to future-proof via ethical and responsible supply chains. It’s not just about saving the planet though; it provides guidance for businesses on how to begin the process of making their supply chains responsible, which will certainly translate into cost savings for and the long-term resiliency of any organisation involved. As Stella McCartney, industry figurehead of the charter put it upon its announcement: “The next generation of consumers will not stand for anything less.”


At Supplycompass we harness the power of tech to bring greater trust, transparency and collaboration to global fashion supply chains, helping brands make their supply chains leaner, faster, more flexible and more responsible.




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