Stand.Earth's Rachel Kitchin reveals which who’s stacking up when it comes to the fashion industry's 'sustainable' claims (aka greenwashing!)

Transcript: Climate Quickie: Which fashion brands have a fossil fuel problem?

TEDxLondon Climate Curious

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Maryam Pasha

In this week’s climate quickie, we hear from Rachel Kitchin, a climate campaigner at Stand.earth – a grassroots environmental organisation.

If climate action is a catwalk, most brands are still looking for the dressing room. That’s what Stand.Earth’s annual research – the Fossil-Free Fashion Scorecard initiative – reveals. And with 2023’s results just published – let’s see who’s stacking up when it comes to sustainable claims.

Let’s head over to Rachel to hear the scores.

Stay Curious! 


Rachel Kitchin


Hi, my name is Rachel Kitchen and I’m the fossil free fashion campaigner@stand.earth.

Fashion actually accounts for up to around 8% of global emissions. It’s the second biggest, emitting  supply chain in the world.we just released the 2023 Scorecard.

And we found some really interesting results.

In 2021, the average grade was a D minus In 2023, the average grade is a D. So although we’re seeing small pockets of progress, it’s. not matching up to the urgency of the moment.

We saw more companies setting targets to reduce emissions in their supply chain, which is good. It’s a first step, but that gap between target setting and real action just seems to be getting wider.

There was  new research came out from the World Resources Institute and the Apparel Impact Institute last year, which said that if the fashion industry can transition its supply chains entirely to renewable energy, it can cut its emissions by up to 27%.

Which is huge, which makes renewable energy really the number one priority for the industry in terms of decarbonizing. 

What’s interesting is that although more brands are setting emissions targets, there’s only very few small pockets of brands who are setting.

Targets for their renewable energy in their supply chain. One brand that we did see progress in in the last year and a half is h and m. Interestingly H&M actually did go out in 2022 and set a target to transition their supply chain to a hundred percent renewable energy. And they do seem to be making progress or at least setting themselves up to make.

And help their suppliers make that transition off of fossil fuels and onto renewables. Which is why. They actually came top came top in our scorecard. I mean, admittedly, they are  the leader of a bunch of laggards, but it’s still progress. And it’s, it is interesting to see that.

What is interesting is to look at who’s at the bottom of the chart because you know, we’ve got h and m fast fashion brand. A lot of problems still in the way they use materials and that kind of take, make, waste business model, but making progress on decarbonizing, right at the other end of the spectrum, at the very bottom of our scorecard, you’ve got Boohoo.

You’ve got Shein who have sort of that ultra-fast fashion business model if you like and appear to be doing. absolutely nothing or very, very little to actually cut those carbon emissions in their supply chain to transition their supply chains to renewable energy, to cut out coal from their supply chains.

Because one of the other major sources of emissions. In fashion supply chains is burning coal directly in factories. And we’re really seeing that shein and Boohoo provided very little transparency and appeared to be doing very little. So that’s the kind of the top and the bottom of the, um, of the scorecard there is quite interesting

Another one, which I think is, is quite interesting that we’re seeing is in luxury brands. We found that a lot of the luxury brands, maybe surprisingly, were performing really quite poorly in the scorecard. Like right down at the bottom of the list, we’ve got like Prada. You’ve got Salvatore Ferragamo, and part of the reason for that is that they are very poor  at disclosing any information about what they’re doing.

They don’t like to talk about their supply chains. They don’t really give out very much information and it’s very difficult to judge what, if anything, they’re doing. And one of the most important things that we can have and when we are trying to  when we’re trying to reach kind of standardised data and actually see what is happening in the industry is transparency.

At the end of the day there’s only so much that we as individuals can do and these brands. A lot of power to make the change. And I think the most important thing that any of us can do is demand that change from them.

That could mean signing a petition or taking  we do have power, but it’s also not about what you do and don’t buy.I often say like the most sustainable clothes that you can buy, the ones that you already have or the ones that you just keep wearing over and over again and you repair and take care of, and hang dry and make sure that they just stay in circulation for as long as possible. Because  the more often you wear it, the low rich carbon footprint is essentially.

This was just a snapshot of all of the data that’s in the 2023 Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard. But you can find the full overview@fashion.stand.earth.

The Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard is a benchmark of 43 of the world’s biggest, fashion companies and it’s a scorecard of how they’re doing what progress and what commitments they’ve made towards decarbonizing their supply chains towards getting fossil fuels out of their manufacturing, and supporting a clean energy transition in their supply chains.

Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard: https://stand.earth/fashion/ 

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