Undertaking apparel supply chain emissions can be groundbreaking in the universal fight against climate change. According to a new report, the fashion industry is the eighth supply chains generating more than half of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
A new research published by the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) demonstrates that decarbonizing apparel value chains is an occasion for corporate climate action.
The report speaking Scope 3 emissions is vital for companies to realize reliable climate change commitments. It allows companies in customer-facing sectors to use their effect in supply chains to speed and support fast decarbonization through the economy, and it can put heaviness on suppliers in lax regions where governments do not yet do so.
While the report highlights that the carbon discharges created along the supply chains of greatest consumer-facing industries can far offset emissions created in their actions.
The textile and garment industry has the 3rd largest footprint, behind food and construction, respectively, with 85% of emissions challenging, or Scope 3.
The report proposes less than 2% of all emissions in textile and garment can be abridged by recycling. Some 15% can be decreased by putting pressure on suppliers to increase process efficiency – with upgrades to less energy-consuming machinery for sewing, spinning, weaving and knitting.
The report also says that switching production to renewable power sources can remove an additional 45%.
The rest heat consumption would need to be shifted to renewable heating, saving another 20%. While presenting new processes, such as transforming from wet towards dry processing technologies, can save another 10%.
An extra 10% of all fashion emissions – part of those from agriculture – need to be addressed via nature-based solutions, such as growing cotton more sustainably. The last 2% or so can be tackled via fuel switches for low-carbon transport.
“This report shows how companies have the opportunity to make a huge impact in the fight against climate change by also decarbonizing their supply chains,” says Dominic Waughray, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.
“The interaction between governments and companies to seize this opportunity is an important one. We welcome more leaders to join and help build momentum on this important agenda.”
“The argument that costs are a major barrier to reducing emissions is increasingly flawed—around 40% of the emissions across the eight major supply chains we analyzed can be eliminated with measures that bring cost savings or are at costs of less than EUR10 (US$2.16) per ton of CO2 equivalent,” adds Patrick Herhold, a report co-author and Managing Director and partner at BCG’s Centre for Climate Action.
“Increasing process efficiency and the use of recycled materials, as well as buying more renewable power, provides companies with major climate gains at very low costs.”
The report points to nine major actions that CEOs should take today to address supply chain emissions, including:
- Build a value-chain emissions baseline and exchange data with suppliers
- Set ambitious reduction target on Scopes 1–3 and publicly report progress
- Redesign products for sustainability
- Design value chain/sourcing strategy for sustainability
- Integrate emissions metrics in procurement standards and track performance
- Work with suppliers to address their emissions
- Engage in sector initiatives for best practices, certification, traceability, policy advocacy
- Scale-up “buying groups” to amplify demand-side commitments
- Introduce low-carbon governance to align internal incentives and empower your organization