Your fashion company’s carbon targets might not be enough, new IPCC alert

A level of 0 emissions in fashion might not be enough. We need to prevent extractive activities, material depletion and emissions related to the manufacturing of products.

Your fashion company’s carbon targets might not be enough, new IPCC alert

According to the recent report by researchers from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we are facing a critical point for climate change mitigation. The need to limit global warming to 1.5ºC implies immediate reductions in carbon emissions from the fashion industry. While some companies are rushing to publish their commitments around carbon neutrality, the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 means that the measures defined to achieve the carbon targets might not be enough. Global warming is real and fashion is part of the problem. The time has come to take responsibility for the textile sector and become part of the solution.

According to the Paris Agreement, adopted in 2015, to achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5º compared to pre-industrial levels, the signatory countries had to commit to reaching the maximum of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate-neutral planet before 2050. A very ambitious goal if we take into account that the Earth already has a 20% chance of exceeding 1.5ºC before 2024.

A temperature rise of 2°C above pre-industrial levels would render most of the land uninhabitable, due to major heat waves, droughts and other natural disasters.

However, at BCOME we don’t want to focus on the most catastrophic data. Recognizing the responsibility of the fashion industry as part of this great problem allows us to develop the capacity for action to contribute to its solution. Curbing greenhouse gas emissions implies knowing what the carbon footprint consists of and how it is calculated. We explain it to you.

What is the carbon footprint?

The carbon footprint is the estimated amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced as a result of a company’s activities or the production of a product. It is measured in Kg or tons of CO2e, this unit includes carbon dioxide and other GHGs such as methane, nitrous oxide or ozone. 

How is the carbon footprint calculated?

At BCOME we calculate the carbon footprint according to the IPCC 2013 GWP 100a methodology. An evaluation that extends throughout the supply chain to obtain a comprehensive view of the impact caused throughout the product life cycle:

  • Raw material. Emissions associated with crops, animals, farms, and extraction processes from synthesis, biosynthetic, and inorganic fibers.
  • Material processing. Emissions associated with the machinery required to convert raw materials into yarn and other intermediate materials, as well as electricity, heating and maintenance.
  • Wet processes. Emissions associated with the machinery required to convert the materials into the finished material, as well as electricity, heating and maintenance.
  • Manufacturing. Emissions associated with the machinery necessary for the cutting, sewing and pressing processes, as well as electricity, heating and maintenance.
  • Transport. Emissions associated with the transport of the product broken down by stages.
  • Packaging. Emissions associated with the production of packaging and distribution logistics, including retail and online.

Many fashion brands often fail to know their overall carbon footprint because they don’t know how their raw materials are grown or what kind of electricity the factories where they are processed use. Developing the complete traceability of the supply chain will be essential to have direct control over it and have the ability to reduce the impacts derived from it. Evaluating the emissions caused by your activity through Life Cycle Assessment eases the detection of points of high environmental risk and the implementation of appropriate actions to mitigate them. On the other hand, it improves the efficiency of the supply chain by preventing the carbon footprint from being transferred to later stages.

What to do once you know the carbon footprint of your brand?

Discovering your carbon footprint is the starting point for implementing measures. There are different strategies that allow us to take responsibility for the emissions generated through our activity:

  • Carbon offsetting. It consists of financing projects that capture or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If a fashion brand manages to offset the exact amount of emissions it produces, it will have achieved carbon neutrality. This should be the minimum goal of any industrial activity.
  • Reduction of the carbon footprint. It can be achieved by reducing emissions intensity, which means reducing emissions relative to production, or by reducing absolute emissions. This means that the company reduces its total emissions, at company level, even as the business grows.
  • Elimination of the carbon footprint. It would consist of becoming climate positive, meaning that the brand activity goes beyond achieving net carbon emissions to create an environmental benefit by removing additional greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This is achieved thanks to the implementation of regenerative strategies whose objective is not only to reduce the damage caused but also to have a positive impact on the planet.

Due to the climatic emergency that we are experiencing, it’s essential to develop measures that guarantee the regeneration of the system. Studies indicate that we are running late in meeting the goals set for 2050. Limiting the increase in global temperature requires going beyond simply reducing carbon emissions, it’s necessary to implement systems that enhance climate positivity.

At BCOME we are committed to creating a positive impact, a real, measurable and scalable impact, quantified through data that provides knowledge and value. We want to guarantee that the textile industry is not using more resources than our planet can generate. Do you want to join the change? We have the necessary tools to make it possible!

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