Project Description

Mitigating diffuse impacts of fashion and textiles supply chains

The global fashion industry is one of the largest and most influential industries on the planet. It generates over USD 1.7 trillion in revenues annually, and employs 60-75 million people in value chains that are spread across the globe. The industry has served as ‘a stepping stone to development’ in many countries, and continues to do so in many developing nations.

Like many other industries, the fashion sector can also result in heavy environmental damage, with impacts on nature occurring throughout the fashion supply chain. The fashion industry draws heavily on land and natural resources for raw materials, sourcing from animal agriculture, mining, forestry and hunting production systems. Processing and manufacturing also have considerable water and carbon footprints, and generate chemical and micro-plastic pollutants. Finally, vast amounts of waste are generated during the production process, and through overproduction and disposal of items. Together, these damaging outputs can have myriad direct a indirect negative impacts on species and habitats.

In an effort to address this, 56 global fashion and textile companies partners have committed to a Fashion Pact, which was launched at the G7 Summit in in August 2019, and includes the following specific commitments:

  • Stop global warming: by creating and deploying an action plan for achieving the objective of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, in order to keep global warming below a 1.5°C pathway between now and 2100.
  • Restore biodiversity: by achieving objectives that use Science-Based Targets to restore natural ecosystems and protect species.
  • Protect the oceans: by reducing the fashion industry’s negative impact on the world’s oceans through practical initiatives, such as gradually removing the usage of single-use plastics.

These 56 companies represent around 250 brands and an estimated 25% of all global fashion by volume.

As an example of how companies are engaging on the second pillar of this pact around biodiversity, Kering commissioned a piece of work to inform their corporate biodiversity strategy beyond 2020. The work explored potential risks to ecosystems and species throughout the supply chain, drawing on Kering’s comprehensive Environmental Profit and Loss accounting. Then, the Conservation Hierarchy framework was used to identify a suite of practical steps that could be taken to mitigate these risks, and proactively contribute to ecosystem restoration and species protection. The Conservation Hierarchy helped to prioritise actions which could be taken throughout and independently of their business operations, and bring them together under a single cohesive framework.

Based on this, Kering are now implementing a range of specific actions under the Conservation Hierarchy steps, across their production systems and supply chains. In particular, Kering are committed to:

Avoiding negative impacts on biodiversity through only sourcing zero deforestation leather

The issue: The production of leather at the farm level can potentially have significant negative environmental impacts, including the direct impacts of farm production systems, such as conversion of natural habitat to pasture.

The approach: Kering is committed to ensuring that its leather is sourced in the most responsible and sustainable manner, with a  mandatory sourcing principle that ensures no leather comes from farms involved in any form of deforestation in the Amazon biome.

Minimising negative impacts on biodiversity though 100% organic cotton sourcing

The issue: The majority of global cotton production uses vast quantities of pesticides and fertilisers, which can have direct environmental and human health impacts, as well as degrading land quality.

The approach: Kering’s is committed to using only traceable and sustainably cultivated cotton in its supply chains, with an objective of 100% organic cotton sourcing by 2025. This shift in cotton supply will thus minimise pollution due to the use of chemical inputs and green house gas emissions linked with cotton cultivation.

Restoring degraded ecosystems through the South Gobi sustainable cashmere program

The issue: Most of the world’s goat herding for cashmere production takes place in Central Asia and particularly Inner Mongolia. One of the most critical issues with cashmere production is the environmental degradation due to rapidly expanding goat herds and overgrazing.

The approach: Kering is committed to sourcing cashmere from the South Gobi cashmere program, which is designed to promote and encourage practices that enable grassland restoration, improved livelihoods and wildlife friendly herding practices.

Offsetting residual green house gas emissions through the REDD+ Carbon offset program

The issue: Carbon emissions occur throughout fashions supply chains, due to land conversion and degradation, as well as manufacturing and transportation.

The approach: While Kering’s efforts to avoid and minimise its footprint across the supply chain will continue to be prioritised, Kering is also offsetting all its remaining annual emissions through verified best-in-class REDD+ projects that conserve critical forests and biodiversity, and support the livelihoods of local communities. Kering has prioritized the conservation of biodiversity for years and the 2018 offsets will equal nearly 2 million hectares of important forests around the world. Forests act as a carbon sink and the protection of these forests will support the removal of carbon from the atmosphere and help mitigate climate change. 

Click for examples of specific actions under each Conservation Hierarchy step:

Avoid negative impacts on forest biodiversity in leather supply chains through sourcing zero deforestation leather. Kering brands will not work with suppliers that source leather from farms involved in any form of deforestation in the Amazon biome since July 2006, or farms included in IBAMA’s embargo list. All of Kering’s leather suppliers must: (1) investigate with their sub-suppliers as to where hides come from, (2) actively check in detail for the sources of leather coming from South America and (3) terminate relations with any sub-supplier that is not compliant on these points.

Minimise negative impacts of pollution and land degradation in cotton supply chains. Kering’s Environmental Profit and Loss (EP&L) account shows clearly that organic cotton has up to 80% less environmental impact than conventional cotton. These environmental considerations are driving Kering’s strong commitment to using only traceable and sustainably cultivated cotton in its supply chains, with an objective of 100% organic cotton sourcing by 2025. This shift of our cotton supply will thus reduce the pollution due to the use of chemical inputs, help restore soil health and reduce GHG emissions linked with cotton cultivation.

Remediate negative impacts of cashmere production on land and biodiversity. Kering is engaged in the South Gobi sustainable cashmere program, which is . designed to promote and encourage practices that enable grassland restoration, improved livelihoods and wildlife friendly herding practices. The program supports of the sustainable management of 250,000 hectares of grasslands and livelihoods for 146-170 herder families – with potential to increase to a positive impact across an additional 1 million hectares and 300+ herder families in the long run. Besides, wildlife friendly practices focus on the protection of key species sharing their environment with the herding animals, such as snow leopards, antelope, wild ass and other endangered species.

Offset remaining greenhouse gas emissions that could not be avoided or minimised. For 2018, and as published in the EP&L results, the total remaining GHG emissions offset for Kering Group will be approximately 2.4 million tons  CO2E. Offsetting will continue to be accomplished through verified best-in-class REDD+ projects that conserve critical forests and biodiversity, and support the livelihoods of local communities. Kering has prioritised the conservation of biodiversity for years and the 2018 offsets will equal nearly 2 million hectares of important forests around the world.

Kering believe that supporting science and conservation research activities beyond the scope of their operations is their responsibility. This is why they support a range of scientific organisations and initiatives. One example is the partnership that was announced in October 2019 with the the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) through a non-earmarked contribution to the IPBES Trust Fund by Kering. The contribution will be used by IPBES to support all areas of its work to strengthen the evidence base for better-informed decisions about nature – from policy support activities and capacity-building, to the generation of new knowledge, outreach and ongoing expert assessments. This partnership is part of a broader approach to support science and research in order to have a science-based framework to inform Kering’s decisions.