The fashion world launched an ecological initiative during the United Nations’ COP24 climate change summit in Katowice, Poland: The UN Charter for Sustainable Fashion. Forty fashion brands have adhered to the proposed charter, whose objectives include reducing aggregated greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, and eliminating coal-based heating and energy production in fashion-industry factories as well as those of direct suppliers starting in 2025.

Brands taking part in the charter include: Adidas, Burberry (which recently also stopped using fur), Esprit, Guess, Gap, Stella McCartney, Hugo Boss, H&M Group, Inditex, Kering Group, Levi Strauss & Co., Puma Se, and Target; as well as textile associations such as Business for Social Responsibility, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, China National Textile and Apparel Council, Outdoor Industry Association, and Textile Exchange.

Transport giant Maersk and the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) are also committed to reaching the 16 objectives in the charter and to respect the foundations upon which it is based, “To recognize the crucial role played by fashion both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as well as opportunities to reduce such emissions and in so doing contribute to more sustainable development.”

In line with the goals of the Paris accord on climate change, the charter lists issues to address, including: the elimination of the use of coal in the production process, the choice of sustainable materials, low-emission transport methods, the importance of establishing a dialogue with customers and raising consumer awareness, and collaboration with the financial industry and politicians aimed at finding solutions and promoting the circular economy.

Six work groups have been formed to begin the process of enacting the charter. “The climate question regards all of us and our future,” said Stella McCartney, who appealed to colleagues to join the charter.

“If we join forces, together we can make a difference.” The development and achievement of the various principles and action steps in the charter will be coordinated by the work groups, which will be convened by the UN at the start of 2019.