The first week of COP26, the international climate change conference, came with commitments ranging from Science Based Targets to solutions for industries beyond fashion.
Thus far, COP26 has been focused on emissions, with the most important achievement coming from more than 40 countries committing to quitting coal on Nov. 4. Other announcements centered on ending deforestation. On Nov. 2, leaders representing over 85% of the world’s forests committed to halt and reverse deforestation and land degradation by 2030.
Beyond country-specific announcements, fashion brands have also stepped up in their commitments. Everlane and Ugg’s parent company, Deckers Brands, announced partnerships with the scientifically and globally recognized organization Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) to set emissions reduction targets that are grounded in climate science.
According to a statement from Everlane, the commitment means 55% lower carbon emissions per product by 2030, 46% lower emissions from their stores and headquarters by 2030, and net-zero emissions by or before 2050. Katina Boutis, Everlane’s head of sustainability, said, “The brand is working on reducing emissions through the SBTI mainly in the supply chain, where 99% of our emissions lie.”
Ugg has also launched a refurbishment program for its products in partnership with NuShoe, a shoe repair company. It offers three different tiers, from “refresh” to “restore,” to give shoes new life for $80. Although the current capacity for NuShoe is limited to 100 pairs per day, it intends to scale the program to service nearly a quarter-million pairs per year by 2023. The online service is exclusively available to customers in the U.S. Dave Powers, president and CEO of Deckers Brands, said in a statement, “We will continue putting people, the planet and our products at the forefront of our decision-making. Ugg is committed to being a more regenerative brand, one that prioritizes long-term value over short-term gain, by restoring the health of people, communities and the planet.”
For its part, while attending COP26, Pangaia focused on specific climate issues that it’s involved in outside of the fashion industry. Last week, the materials-focused brand hosted a roundtable in Glasgow to bring awareness to the diminished bee populations. As key pollinators, bees play an important role in preserving biodiversity, a focus for the fashion industry. Pangaia previously worked on the Bee The Change campaign with Milkywire, a charity app company focused on helping grassroots organizations. Plus, it recently announced a line of nettle denim.
Gabriela Hearst was also on a Cop26 panel discussion, alongside chef Daniel Humm and artist Dustin Yellin. As the artistic director of Chloé, she recently announced the brand’s position as a B Corp brand, the most stringent sustainability certification in the industry. “Whatever grain of sand I can bring to the transition, I will wholeheartedly give, as participation is survival,” she said during the panel discussion. The discussion exploredhow the fields of fashion, food and art intersect, when it comes to sustainability. It also looked at the possibility of transforming the respective disciplines into more environmentally conscious and mindful models.
Hearst had previously worked tirelessly to make sure her namesake brand upheld its sustainable credentials. The stores are plastic-free, both in front- and back-of-house, by using compostable packaging and recycled cardboard hangers. In February 2020, Hearst also veered into technology by partnering with EON, a leading digital identity platform for the fashion and apparel industry. It connects products throughout their lifecycle by unlocking visibility, traceability and insight through a QR code.