COP28: Fashion Industry Needs to Pick Up the Pace on Climate Goals

The United Nations (UN) and the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) presented a new report on the fashion industry's progress in achieving a net positive impact on climate. The facts are not positive as 90% of the material used are still wasted. Still, ambitions remain high for the industry

By Creatives Unite Newsroom
December 06, 2023

Current global estimates suggest the fashion industry contributes between 1.8-4% of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. To align with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, it must halve emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. These are the main figures by The GFA Monitor 2023, presented at the GFA Assembly in COP28, yesterday (Dec.5)

The event aimed to spotlight the fashion industry's role in climate action featuring roundtable dialogues that brought together fashion executives, policymakers, and industry experts from 25 countries. Participants included representatives from GFA, Bestseller, H&M Group, Fair Labor Association, Apparel Impact Institute, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, Hirdaramani Group, and Threading Change. The assembly took place on December 5th at the Action Lab ‘Al Jeer’, Blue Zone, Expo City in Dubai.

The gathering featured two central themes - reviewing the fashion industry’s advancements towards achieving a net positive impact and exploring collective financing methods within the fashion sector. Gathering new data insights and the widespread industry consultation, the Monitor found that 81% of respondents have set targets aligned with the above-mentioned targets. 

However, according to the report, current trajectories show the industry still exceeding critical limits if change is not accelerated and the gap between ambition and action is widening. 

For example, circularity rates declined from 9.1% in 2018 to just 7.2% in 2023 according to the report, indicating 90% of materials are still wasted, lost or neglected. 

The wage gap between minimum and living wages averages 48.5% across 28 production countries in 2023, according to The Industry We Want metric. Wage disclosure and measures of progress remain limited.

Furthermore, action is required to shift from fossil-fuel sourcing, promote preferred fibres from recycling and regenerative solutions, eliminate coal use and ensure water stewardship. Simplified circular design principles have yet to achieve systemic change.