“It's now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C”, stated the IPCC authors earlier this year. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible”, they continued.
With worsening climate effects all over the world, all eyes turned to COP27 where global leaders, international organizations, civil society and private sector representatives convened to urgently implement the Paris agreement and the Glasgow Climate Pact. Often overlooked as part of the discussions, is the environmental harm caused by the textile and clothing industry. As such, frequently disregarded is the industry’s heavy use of petrochemical products, e.g., polyester, stemming from fossil fuels.
“According to the European Commission, the textile and clothing industry in Europe is the third biggest industry in terms of land use. It's got a huge impact on water use that connects, of course, to farming. ”, stressed Lily Cole, Climate Activist and Advisor to UNECE, in Sharm el-Sheikh.
What’s more: with estimated global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions up to 10%, the industry will need to cut them in half by 2030 and realize abatement opportunities through decarbonization initiatives and process improvements.
Against this background, UNECE co-organized and participated in a number of events and panel discussions at COP27 to shed light on the importance of transparency and traceability in priority sectors, which is crucial to drive sustainable change. Cole represented the UNECE initiative “The Sustainability Pledge”, at events with, among others, The Sustainable Markets Initiative, Global Fashion Agenda and UNEP, the New York Times, the UNFCCC Fashion Charter, Planet Tracker and the UN Secretary-General's Working Group on Transforming Extractive Industries. Experts from governments, international organizations, industry associations, companies and academia gathered there to debate on actions for accelerating the fashion industry’s transition to a decarbonized future.
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