The Climate Emergency and Fashions Proactive Stance

This past week it was well documented that eleven thousand scientists in 153 countries have declared a climate emergency and warned that “untold human suffering” is unavoidable without huge shifts in the way we live. 

“Climate change has arrived and is accelerating faster than many scientists expected,” according to the letter published in BioScience

Researchers say they have a moral obligation to “clearly warn humanity of any catastrophic threat” and “tell it like it is”. “Clearly and unequivocally planet Earth is facing a climate emergency”.

Our World

“Despite 40 years of major global negotiations, we have continued to conduct business as usual and have failed to address this crisis,” said William Ripple, professor of ecology at Oregon State University, who is the co-lead author of the letter. 

California Wildfires October 2019

“Global surface temperature, ocean heat content, extreme weather and its costs, sea level, ocean acidity, and land area are all rising,” Professor Ripple said.

“What we wanted was a wide diversity of scientists in many different disciplines, because climate change has moved beyond a topic just for climate scientists,” Ripple said.

The collective put forth six “critical and interrelated steps” that governments and policy-makers should take into account in order to reduce the effects of climate change:

  • Energy: phasing out of fossil fuels; decarbonization of the production phase; selection of climate-friendly and sustainable materials. 
  • Short-lived pollutants: shifts from “excessive extraction of materials and overexploitation of ecosystems” to a “carbon-free economy that explicitly addresses human dependence on the biosphere”;  Exploring circular business models. 
  • Nature: replacing large scale land clearing with reforestation efforts. 
  • Food: reducing the amount of meat and animal products we consume. 
  • Economy: re-order the global society and systems with low-carbon. transport; Working with the financing community and policymakers to catalyze evolving non-linear solutions.
  • Population: stabilizing the global population with improved consumer dialogue and awareness.

Scientists say they want the public to “understand the magnitude of this crisis, track progress, and realign priorities for alleviating climate change”.

 “Ice is rapidly disappearing as shown by declining trends in minimum summer Arctic sea ice, Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and glacier thickness. All of these rapid changes highlight the urgent need for action.”

Arctic Summer Sea Ice has declined at 12% per decade for the past four decades

Corrective Action

This past December the UNFCC (United Nations Framework Convention Climate Change) plan announced a playbook for small-medium-size businesses that can be used as a guide on how to achieve Sustainability. 

There is an urgent need to take action.  Climate action is an essential social objective. 

For years the Textile Exchange has promoted practices, standards, and resources that benefit the climate.  

Adopting the Climate+ Strategy makes climate a deliberate priority and organizational focus for an impact area that requires immediate attention and for which we have many existing tools and resources. The “+” in Climate+ allows Textile Exchange to prioritize climate while continuing to address other impact areas that are interconnected with the climate in most situations (e.g., water, biodiversity, forests, soil, and animal welfare).

The “+” is also an acknowledgment that Textile Exchange cannot achieve this new 2030 goal of a 35-45% reduction in CO2 emissions from preferred fiber and material production on its own. 

Achieving the Climate+ goal will require strong partnerships to accelerate the adoption of existing tools. It will enable innovations around new sustainable business models utilizing zero-carbon materials.

There is also the Apparel Impact Institute, a data-driven, collaborative, science-based company aimed at transforming the textile industry by having a measurable and positive impact on the people and the planet.  

The G7 Fashion Pact

“The fashion industry is always two steps ahead when it comes to defining world culture, so I am pleased to see it now also leading the way in terms of climate action,” said UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa. “I congratulate the signatories of this important charter, which represents a unique commitment and collaboration from an array of fashion leaders. The Charter, like the renowned fashion runways of the world, sets an example that I hope others will follow.”

“This charter is about getting the fashion industry united in important climate work. Our industry has a global reach and only together can we create the change that is urgently needed,” said Karl-Johan Persson, CEO H&M group. “We are happy to be a signatory of this charter as part of our ambition to become climate positive in our value chain.”

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