Thirty-two companies representing some 150 brands have signed up to the “Fashion Pact”, a Kering-led effort to reduce the industry’s negative impact on climate, biodiversity and the oceans. Details of the commitment will be outlined to world leaders at the Group of Seven summit in Biarritz on August 26, but Kering chief executive François-Henri Pinault – who President Emmanuel Macron tapped to lead the charge in April – will discuss the coalition’s promise at the Elysée Palace today with Burberry CEO, Marco Gobbetti, and president of fashion at Chanel, Bruno Pavlovsky.
“Pinault got his shirt wet,” a Kering spokesperson told Business of Fashion of his achievement enlisting roughly 30 per cent of the industry. “Considering the deadline, it was challenging.” Signatories so far include high-street giants H&M and Inditex; luxury houses Chanel, Hermès International, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Capri Holdings and PVH; and sportswear labels Adidas and Nike. Although Stella McCartney has pledged her commitment, the designer’s investor and rival Kering conglomerate, LVMH, has chosen not to take part in the united effort.
The “Fashion Pact” details that the 32 companies will eliminate single-use plastics by 2030 and back textile innovations to mitigate microfibre pollution. The industry is currently responsible for 20 to 35 per cent of the microplastic in the ocean, according to the French Ministry of Ecology. Emissions targets will also be set to limit global warming and to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Six per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions come from textile production currently. The pact is not legally binding, but each member will present an annual progress report, and Pinault will host a dinner for CEOs of the signatory businesses in October to expand plans. More companies are expected to sign up in the interim.
The “Fashion Pact” is one of several sustainability initiatives implemented by brands rallying together to create change, but perhaps has more riding on it owing to the gravitas of the G7’s involvement. Not only are the labels answerable to Macron – the pact is part of his 2017-launched One Planet Summit – they will be under scrutiny from the world’s leaders, as well as the ever discerning consumer who is demanding more from fashion.
Before Pinault’s October gathering, attention will be on the international fashion week circuit and the detriment it has on the environment. In London alone, campaigners from Extinction Rebellion are attempting to halt show production in the face of the climate emergency. Time will tell whether the industry is actually listening to the loudening warnings.