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全球时尚行业正在设计可持续未来

Kate Dwyer 2019年07月29日

更多的时尚及其他消费产品正在以“可持续”方式销售,尽管就环境而言这种方式并无统一定义。

应对气候变化越发成为时尚公司的重要任务——最近一个推出供应链减排策略的是英国奢侈品牌博柏利。

时尚界希望为地球做贡献,因为服装行业排放了约10%的全球温室气体,但与此同时,它们还要负责为消费需求提供来源更可持续的产品。

可持续服装联盟的《2019年时尚行业脉搏报告》显示,75%的消费者都认为可持续性极为重要。50%的购物者表示,如果竞争对手的导向更侧重于环境和社会,他们就会更换品牌。但该报告指出:“公司实施可持续解决方案,从而抵消负面环境和社会影响的速度还不够快。”

为证明自己的可持续善意,博柏利的目标是到2022年将自家店铺、办公室、内部制造基地和经销点的温室气体排放量减少95%,到2030年将整个供应链的温室气体排放量降低30%。

考虑到服装、饰品以及鞋类品牌的供应链遍及全球,以及规范所有制造商和整个运输、经销和零售渠道的碳排放具有怎样的难度,第二个目标尤其有意义。

同样值得注意的是博柏利怎样和其他公司以及整个行业中越来越多的时尚中坚力量一同成为2015年设立的科学减碳倡议组织的成员。

科学减碳倡议

此项倡议是碳信息披露项目、联合国全球契约、世界资源研究所和世界自然基金会的合作项目。它包括575家承诺设立减排项目的公司,其中231家已经可以基于科学原则制定可衡量目标。

其他已经承诺或者已经按照该倡议确立了目标的时尚企业包括香奈儿、古驰母公司开云集团、PVH Corp.、耐克、彪马、VF Corp.、Hennes & Mauritz、Eileen Fisher Inc.、Guess?Inc.、Zara母公司Inditex S.A.、优衣库母公司Fast Retailing Co.以及拥有Nine West、Gloria Vanderbilt和Bandolino等服饰品牌的One Jeanswear Group。零售方面,销售时尚产品并且参加了此项倡议的公司有沃尔玛、塔吉特、乐购、玛莎百货和家乐福。

全球环境研究机构世界资源研究所的私营行业减缓气候变化部门负责人辛西娅·科明斯说,对这些公司而言,减排规划“已经覆盖它们的所有产品和整个产业链”。因此,参与者“正在按照巴黎协定的目标积极解决气候变化问题”,并确立减少温室气体排放的全球性目标。

科学减碳倡议将“科学目标”定义为企业采用的减少温室气体排放量的目标。联合国政府间气候变化专门委员会于2018年发布的《全球变暖1.5摄氏度专题报告》指出,制定这些目标的共同目的是让全球气温升幅远低于比工业化以前气温高2摄氏度(35.6华氏度)的水平,同时使其不超过1.5摄氏度(34.7华氏度)。

科明斯指出,今后此项倡议希望更全面地了解时尚行业,“以便弄清楚其价值链中碳排放最多的环节在哪里,最大的减排机会在哪里,从而向服装公司说明此类措施如何汇聚成一个科学目标。”

为了地球的大大小小的努力

参与该倡议的公司还承诺对其具体目标保持透明,途径是向公众通报自己的进展。

使用可回收材料是一种减排措施,此外还有一些基本方法,比如重新使用纸板箱或者提高经营效率。减少或替换源于石油的材料是另一种途径。举例来说,意大利纺织公司Orange Group以柑橘类植物为原料制造纺织品,而时尚品牌菲拉格慕就是它的客户之一。

博柏利去年决定不再烧掉未使用的库存,因为这样做既有污染又浪费。此外,该公司大大小小的可持续措施总的来说都得到了顺利实施。

该时尚品牌发现,自身76%的直接碳排放都来自于零售业务,因此它在一些门店任命了责任主管,旨在帮助员工提高能效。

同时,博柏利店铺开始使用LED照明。该公司发表声明称:“我们将通过降低能耗节省下来的资金用于采购新的可再生能源。我们正在顺利实现自己的RE100(即100%使用可再生能源电力)承诺,因为目前可再生能源占我们总能耗的58%(占我们所用电力的68%),远高于去年的13%。”

什么是可持续性?

就像消费者着力追寻更有利于环境的生活一样,更多的时尚及其他消费产品正在以“可持续”方式销售,尽管就环境而言这种方式并无统一定义。

科学减碳倡议等项目有助于这些品牌执行其可持续承诺,因为它们可以用这些项目制定的一系列标准来证明自己履行了承诺。与此同时,法国总统埃马纽埃尔·马克龙最近任命开云集团首席执行官弗朗克斯-亨利·皮诺特领导一个全球性时尚行业可持续项目,但还没有出现有关推广原则的消息。

纽约时装学院教授、纺织品开发和营销系主任杰弗里·希尔伯曼说,“到目前为止还没有人能真正确切地定义可持续性,所以很难想象怎样通过监管”来防范营销中的虚假表述(接受《财富》杂志采访时,他正在考察北卡罗来纳州的一个棉花农场)。

在一些国家,确实有政府机构对企业的营销用语追责。比如,目前挪威政府正在调查H&M“Conscious”系列夏季服装的时尚营销活动。

在美国,联邦贸易委员会针对营销用语提供了指南,企业可以自愿遵守,但这也被视为一项监管授权。不过,该委员会目前尚未明确产品广告中哪些内容会被视为“可持续性”表述。

在颁布2012版修订后环保营销语言“绿色指南”后,联邦贸易委员会表示它在定义可持续方面“缺乏足够依据来提供有意义的指南”,对于天然和有机也是如此,因为每个词都有很多种含义。

不过,有理有据地说一家公司具有可持续性需要大量工作以及长期投入。科明斯认为:“我觉得企业需要采取许多措施,并将这些措施综合起来才能宣称自己具有可持续性。”

她说:“但在我看来,它们需要对自身供应链的能效进行综合性投资。对服装公司来说,碳排放多数来自于其供应链的上游,包括开采原材料和在纺织厂[制造]的布料。”

科明斯指出,要减排,一家公司可以转向使用可再生能源,或者采用循环作业模式从而减少浪费的纺织厂。

据全球性可持续倡议项目Fashion for Good的董事总经理凯特琳·莱伊介绍,还有一些独立组织在进行可持续性方面的监督。该倡议得到了阿迪达斯、Galeries Lafayette Group、开云集团、PVH Corp.、Stella McCartney和塔吉特等公司的支持。

凯特琳说:“和这些组织合作或者使用符合特定标准的材料都有助于整个行业以及消费者了解某个品牌在这方面处于怎样的位置。”这些组织包括Road Map to Zero Programme、Sustainable Apparel Coalition、Better Cotton Initiative、Fair Wear Foundation、Cradle to Cradle Institute以及埃伦·麦克阿瑟基金会。

前沿品牌

一些品牌从一开始就公开了自己的可持续举措。在这方面行之有效的公司之一是Reformation,它松垮的裙装和低领上衣很受名人喜爱(该公司的网站上写着:不穿衣服是最可持续的方案。我们则紧随其后。)。

由于缺乏布料可持续性评估标准框架,该公司公布了自己的布料标准。它的A级布料定义是“可快速再生,以植物为原料而且具有循环利用潜力”,比如可回收棉花、天丝莱赛尔纤维和有机亚麻;B级布料则是“几乎100%的天然或可回收布料”,如有机棉花、ENKA Viscose和天丝莫代尔纤维。

Reformation的运营和可持续性副总裁凯瑟琳·塔尔伯特在致《财富》杂志的声明中表示:“我们要让这些标准尽可能的全面,考虑的因素包括用水量、能耗、所用土地、环境毒性、温室气体排放、人体毒性、可用性以及价格。2018年年底,A级和B级布料约占我们布料采购量的67%,而且我们仍然在针对天丝、亚麻和可回收棉花或羊毛开发新的制造方法和设计。”

新一代购物者

过去几年,希尔伯曼注意到纽约时装学院的学生要求差不多所有课程都讲解可持续性问题。

2015年,尼尔森公司在一份报告指出,如果某种产品以可持续为宣传点,73%的千禧一代都愿意为它支付更高的价格,这也体现了同样的兴趣。

尼尔森的这份报告称:“虽然千禧一代成长的环境是过去100年里经济最困难的时期,但他们依然最愿意为可持续产品多花钱——几乎四分之三的受访者都是如此。”(财富中文网)

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Fighting climate change is a growing priority for fashion companies, with British luxury house Burberry the latest to announce a strategy to slash emissions across its supply chain.

But while the fashion industry wants to help the planet—the apparel business creates around 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions—companies are also responding to consumer demand for products with more sustainable origins.

According to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s 2019 Pulse of the Fashion Industry Report, 75% of consumers view sustainability as very or extremely important. Half of shoppers said they would switch brands if a competitor is more environmentally and socially directed. Yet, “companies are not implementing sustainable solutions fast enough to counterbalance the negative environmental and social impacts,” the report said.

Establishing its sustainable bona fides, Burberry is aiming to reduce climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions at its stores, offices, internal manufacturing, and distribution sites 95% by 2022, and by 2030 cut these pollutants 30% throughout its extended supply chain.

The latter goal is especially significant, taking into account the global reach of an apparel, accessory, and footwear label’s supply chain, and how difficult it can be to regulate carbon emissions of every manufacturer, as well as throughout transportation, distribution, and retail channels.

Equally noteworthy is how Burberry has joined a broader effort among businesses, and a growing cadre of fashion names across the industry, as members of the Science-Based Targets initiative, started in 2015.

Science-based targets

The initiative is a collaboration among the CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project), United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, and World Wide Fund for Nature. The coalition has 575 companies who’ve committed to create climate-change-reduction programs, of which 231 have reached the point where they can set measurable targets based on scientific principles.

Other fashion companies who have either committed to create or have already set goals under the initiative include: Chanel, Gucci-parent Kering S.A., PVH Corp., Nike Inc., Puma SE, VF Corp., Hennes & Mauritz, Eileen Fisher Inc., Guess? Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Gap Inc., Zara’s parent company Inditex S.A., Uniqlo’s parent Fast Retailing Co., and One Jeanswear Group, makers of denim brands such as Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt, and Bandolino. Among retailers, whose sales include fashion, and are part of the initiative, are Walmart Inc., Target Corp., Tesco PLC, Marks & Spencer Group, and Carrefour S.A.

For these companies, emission reductions are planned “across all their products, their whole value chain,” said Cynthia Cummis, director of Private Sector Climate Mitigation at the WRI, a global environmental research organization. As a result, participants are “aggressively addressing climate change in line with the ambition of the Paris Agreement” setting global goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Science Based Target initiative defines a “science-based target” as a goal adopted by a company to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These goals are set to meet broader objectives to keep global warming well below a level of 2°C (35.6°F) above pre-industrial temperatures, and not to exceed 1.5°C (34.7°F), according to benchmarks reported in the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.

Going forward, Cummis said the initiative wants to gain broader knowledge of the fashion industry, “to understand where the most emissions are along the value chain, where the biggest reduction opportunities are, and map out for apparel companies how those activities can add up to meet a science-based target,” Cummis explained.

Small and big steps for the planet

Participating companies in the initiative also pledge to be transparent about their nitty-gritty goals by keeping the public apprised about progress.

Measures to reduce emissions can include using recyclable materials, but also something as basic as reusing cardboard boxes or creating operating efficiencies. Reducing or replacing petroleum-based materials is another step. For example, citrus-based textiles are made by Italian fiber company Orange Group, whose customers include fashion house Salvatore Ferragamo.

Burberry’s sustainability efforts, large and small, in total go well beyond its decision last year to stop the practice of burning unused stock, seen as polluting and wasteful.

Since the fashion house estimates 76% of its direct carbon emissions come from its retail operations, the company has appointed Responsibility Leaders in several stores to get staff to increase energy efficiency.

The brand’s stores also have switched to LED lighting. “We then used the cost savings from energy reductions to finance additional renewable energy procurement,” the company said in a statement. “We are on track to achieve our RE100 commitments as we now obtain 58% of our total energy (including 68% of our electricity) from renewable sources, an increase of 13% from last year.” Throughout its supply chain, the brand is also moving toward renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power.

What is sustainability?

As consumers focus on pursuing eco-friendlier lives, more fashion and other consumer products are being sold as “sustainable,” although there isn’t a standard definition for what that means in terms of the environment.

Projects like the Science-Based Targets initiative help brands back their sustainable claims with a set of standards to which they can point to as proof of their commitment. Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron recently tapped Kering SA Chief Executive Officer Francois-Henri Pinault to lead a global fashion industry sustainability effort, but there’s been no discussion yet about marketing guideposts.

“Since no one so far can really define sustainability exactly, it is hard to imagine how it can be policed” to prevent false claims in marketing, said Jeffrey Silberman, professor and chairperson of the Textile Development and Marketing department at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. (When reached by Fortune, he was in North Carolina visiting a cotton farm.)

Some countries do have agencies in place to hold companies accountable for their marketing language. Norway, for example, is currently investigating H&M’s fashion marketing around its summer “Conscious” collection.

In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission provides guidance on marketing language, compliance with which is voluntary but is nonetheless weighed as regulatory authority. But the FTC so far hasn’t passed judgment on what constitutes “sustainable” in product advertising.

With the 2012 release of revised “Green Guides” for environmental marketing language, the FTC said it “lacks a sufficient basis to provide meaningful guidance” on defining sustainable, as well as natural and organic, since each has various meanings.

Regardless, being able to credibly say a company is sustainable requires a lot of work and longterm commitment. “I think it’s going to be a combination of lots of activities that companies are going to need to put in place to claim that they’re sustainable,” Cummis said.

“But I assume it will be a collection of investing in energy efficiency in their supply chain,” Cummis said. “For apparel companies, the majority of emissions are primarily upstream in their supply chain, with the extraction of raw materials or the [manufacture of] fabric at the textile mills.”

To cut down on emissions, a company could switch to textile mills using renewable energy, or have circular-business models that reduce waste, she said.

There are also independent organizations doing sustainability oversight, according to Katrin Ley, managing director of Fashion for Good, a global sustainability initiative supported by companies like Adidas, Galeries Lafayette Group, Kering, PVH Corp., Stella McCartney, and Target.

“Working with these organizations or using materials that meet particular standards all help the wider industry and consumers understand where a brand is on the spectrum,” she said. These organizations include the Road Map to Zero Programme, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, Better Cotton Initiative, Fair Wear Foundation, Cradle to Cradle Institute, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Brands at the Forefront

Some brands have been transparent about their sustainability initiatives since the beginning. One company doing this effectively is Reformation, a celebrity-favorite line known for blousy dresses and tops with low necklines. (Its website reads: “Being naked is the #1 most sustainable option. We’re #2.”)

Because there is no standardized framework for evaluating the sustainability of fibers, the company has released its own set of fiber standards. Grade A fibers are “Natural fibers that are rapidly renewable, plant-based and have a potential for circularity,” such as recycled cotton, Tencel Lyocell, and organic linen; grade B fibers are “almost all natural or recycled fibers” like organic cotton, ENKA Viscose, and Tencel Modal.

“We tried to make these standards as holistic as possible, taking into consideration water input, energy input, land use, eco-toxicity, greenhouse gas emissions, human toxicity, availability, and price,” said Kathleen Talbot, Reformation’s VP of Operations and Sustainability, in a statement to Fortune. “At the end of 2018, about 67% of our fabric purchases were our A & B rated fibers, and we are continuing to develop new fabrications and design into these highest impact fibers like Tencel, linen, and recycled cotton or wool.”

A New Generation of Shoppers

Over the past few years, Silberman has noticed students at FIT demanding the sustainability angle be covered in nearly every class.

Reflecting this interest, a 2015 Nielsen report found 73% of millennials are willing to pay more for a product if it is marketed as sustainable.

“Despite the fact that millennials are coming of age in one of the most difficult economic climates in the past 100 years, they continue to be most willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings--almost three-out-of-four respondents,” the Nielsen report says.

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