The publicly available reports, commissioned by the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, are part of a roadmap toward industry decarbonization.
Two new, comprehensive reports aim to help the fashion and textile industry get
to the heart of some of its most material issues contributing to climate change.
The reports were commissioned by the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate
— launched in
by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) —
as it develops a roadmap to help the industry reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)
emissions from raw material extraction, production and processing; which
together can be the most carbon-intensive part of the fashion value chain. The
reports will help the Charter’s over 100
work toward their commitment to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
Completed by SCS Global Services — a
global leader in third-party environmental and sustainability certiﬁcation,
auditing, and life cycle assessment — the new reports expand on the Charter’s
2021 report, Identifying Low-Carbon Sources of Cotton and Polyester, to provide guidance to textile and apparel producers for lowering their carbon footprint when sourcing
two equally ubiquitous material categories: animal-based fibers (in this
case, sheep wool, hair, alpaca fiber and silk fiber) and
man-made cellulosic fibers (MMCF, such as rayon and viscose).
Development of these gap analysis reports was led by Textile
Exchange — leader of the Charter’s Raw Material
Working Group — with significant input from Charter signatories including
Reformation, Sateri, Schneider Group
and VF Corp.
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“These reports are a key resource for any company or organization wanting to
understand and improve upon the current state of play of impact data in the
fashion and apparel industry,” said Lindita
Sector Engagement Lead with UN Climate Change. “We thank the signatories of the
Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action for their inputs and supporting the
creation of these important reports.”
After cotton, MMCF are the second-biggest cellulosic fiber group in use — for
Responsibly produced, they can be a major contributor to realizing circular
— by helping to regenerate ecosystems, providing vital carbon sinks, and
increasing community resilience and prosperity.
which examined 14 separate LCA studies, concluded that the GHG profile of MMCF
is heavily influenced by the type and location of the feedstock and summarized
the current best conclusions for low-carbon sources of MMCF. The sources with
the lowest greenhouse gas emissions were, in order: 1) Lyocell from
low-carbon wood pulp or optimized, recycled pulp; 2) Viscose from low-carbon
wood pulp or optimized recycled pulp; and 3) Modal from low-carbon wood pulp
or optimized recycled pulp.
The report on animal
showed that, for virgin wool and hair,
from enteric fermentation is the most significant contributor to climate impact.
For silk production, the highest impact was the production of the leaves to feed
the silkworms. For recycled wool, the results showed high variability in impact
levels — based on factors such as raw material sourcing, transportation
requirements, and energy and material demand from shredding and fiber
While the animal fiber report did not examine leather, the apparel industry is
already working to reduce its impacts — particularly, when it comes to the
it causes around the world: In June, a coalition of 16 global brands and luxury
fashion houses — led by Textile Exchange and Leather Working Group — called
on the fashion industry and retailers to commit to sourcing all of their bovine
leather from deforestation-free supply
by 2030 or earlier.
“This important work being undertaken by Fashion Industry Charter for Climate
Action and Textile Exchange is
bringing needed transparency and clarity to the goal of decarbonizing the
fashion industry supply chain,” said Keith
Director in SCS’s Environmental Claims division and project lead. “The reports
highlight key considerations for current fiber sourcing and recommendations for
continuing textile LCAs, and helped illuminate data gaps to be addressed in