Complexities remain in reaching sustainable goals
KPMG, together with Fashion Summit and HSBC, today publishes the key findings of the “Sustainable fashion: Committing to a sustainable future through the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action” report. The announcement coincides with the start of Fashion Summit 2019 in Hong Kong, the largest sustainable fashion event in Asia and by who the report was commissioned.
The study included reviews of publicly available information on the sustainability performance of the 43 signatories of the UN’s Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action (“the Charter”), including their sustainability reports and corporate websites.
Three key findings emerge from the report:
1. A significant amount of work still needs to be done
Although 53 percent of signatories have reported their Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), less than 15 percent have included their supply chain-related emissions in their Scope 3 emissions. As the supply chain represents a substantial amount of GHG emissions along the value chain of these corporations, it is vital for organisations to understand, monitor and evaluate the GHG emissions from the supply chain. This would also help companies better formulate their climate strategies.
Yet, measuring GHG emissions – particularly Scope 3 emissions – can be very complex, and may prove a challenge for many of the signatories, as supply chain data may be harder to access.
2. Consumer awareness needs to be enhanced
It was found that 60 percent of retail brands have a sustainability section on their consumer websites, and 35 percent have a sustainable product line.
Some signatories also strive to raise consumer awareness of sustainability through their public disclosure and other channels. Of the signatories, 67 percent have their sustainability reporting available in either their sustainability reports or annual reports, while 93 percent have a sustainability section on their corporate website.
For consumers to make responsible choices, they should be empowered by having easily accessible information about how products are made, the sources of the materials and their impact on the environment at the end of their life. Signatories could look at creating a sustainability score or sustainability labelling system to encourage them to purchase sustainable fashion.
3. Existing tools and standards should be leveraged
The findings suggest that much of the infrastructure is in place for the fashion industry to move towards a far greater embrace of sustainable practices. These include the establishment of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition in 2011 and its subsequent launch of the Higg Index, as well as Kering’s Environmental Profit & Loss (EP&L) account, amongst others.
Usage of these mechanisms, however, varies widely, from the 51 percent reporting themselves as members of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) and as users of the Higg Index, to the less than one in ten which work with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
The industry has worked on developing these tools for many years, and the foundation has been set. Instead of looking for new measures to assess their impact, signatories should leverage these existing foundations to create a tangible impact.
Pat Woo, Partner, Business Reporting and Sustainability, KPMG China, says, “We applaud the organisations that have signed the Fashion Charter and their commitment to tackling climate change. We are seeing increasing preference from major global investors directing the flow of capital towards companies that are taking proactive steps in this area. Their efforts will reap major tangible benefits going forward as these organisations continue to future-proof themselves.”
Felix Chung, Chairman Steering Committee of Fashion Summit (HK), remarks, “Climate change is having an increasing impact across the world, as we have seen more frequent weather events in the past couple of years. This is a major societal issue, and proactive measures taken by the signatories of the Fashion Charter are most needed. At the Fashion Summit, we continue to make our industry’s sustainability efforts the key focus, aiming to support and facilitate more collaborative efforts, and doing our part in protecting the environment for future generations.”
Zhang Huifeng, Head of Corporate Sustainability Asia Pacific, HSBC, comments, “As a leading global trade bank, HSBC has a unique role to play in supporting a shift to sustainability in global supply chains. HSBC is one of the supporting organisations of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, and we are committed to working collectively with other signatories to contribute to the realisation of the Charter. HSBC firmly believes that the implementation of a successful sustainable development agenda requires collaboration between sectors and other stakeholders, enabling companies to move the world towards a sustainable and inclusive development path.”
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KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 153 countries and territories and have 207,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. In 1992, KPMG became the first international accounting network to be granted a joint venture licence in mainland China. KPMG was also the first among the Big Four in mainland China to convert from a joint venture to a special general partnership, as of 1 August 2012. Additionally, the Hong Kong firm can trace its origins to 1945. This early commitment to this market, together with an unwavering focus on quality, has been the foundation for accumulated industry experience, and is reflected in KPMG’s appointment for multi-disciplinary services (including audit, tax and advisory) by some of China’s most prestigious companies.
Fashion Summit (Hong Kong) is an Asian event focusing on "Sustainable Development In Fashion". It brings together leading academics, key players from the fashion industry, NGOs, media, decision makers and leaders to achieve sustainable fashion in Asia. The Summit consists of 2-Day Conference and Fashion Future Challenge Award. It plays a vital role to provide a sharing platform for participants from around the world to exchange insights on the latest sustainable fashion trends, technology, best practice, solutions, and opportunities. For more information on Fashion Summit (HK) 2019, please visit: http://www.fashionsummit.hk