The next frontier for fashion: becoming climate positive
Fashion and sustainability have not always gone hand-in-hand. Now it’s time to shift the dial. YOOX-NET-A-PORTER GROUP firmly believes that the fashion industry can, and should, play a significant role in restoring the environment. As an international business with global influence, we’re ambitious in everything we do. Helping to restore the environment is our next big challenge.
Giorgia Roversi, Sustainability and Inclusion Director, shares the story behind why and how YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP has committed to become climate positive by 2030.
The start of the 2020s has already seen supercharged evolution and adaptation within the fashion industry. We’ve all stepped back to consider efficiencies, ways of working and, in particular, industry norms that may no longer be justifiable. In fashion, this realisation has been acute, reaffirming everything we’ve been confronting in recent years about the damaging impact of the industry on the climate. Fashion has been responsible for about 10% of global carbon emissions, with greenhouse gas emissions expected to surge more than 50% by 2030.
We have a responsibility to turn this around if we want to protect our planet and the future of design and creativity. Making the commitment to become climate positive is a giant leap, but it is critical.
Having worked in digital fashion and business transformation for my entire career, I can see clearly that sustainability is the next big shift for all businesses. Each will adapt in different ways, based on where potential lies within any given company. For us, protecting the planet has become our baseline. Not only is it the right move for our business model, but we know our customers expect us to take serious steps. The mandate to act responsibly is no longer for the one-in-a-million businesses. We must make a positive impact on the world – no compromise.
Our decision to become climate positive is the way to realise this ambition. It means both reducing our own business’ carbon emissions to zero and committing to offsetting, through which our carbon emissions are compensated by making a reduction of emissions elsewhere in the world. We can do this through funding certified offsetting projects within other communities. For example, we contribute to our parent group Richemont’s carbon offsets that are purchased in support of a REDD+ scheme along the Zambezi River in Africa. This impactful scheme preserves the wild forests by bringing a steady flow of cash to the communities who live there, on the condition that the forests which surround them are conserved.
Overall, the goal is to take more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we put in. As part of this, we, along with Richemont, are setting a Science Based Target for emissions reduction. It’s the most solid and comprehensive way for our business to address the climate crisis.
While our climate positive commitment is new, our work to reduce our carbon impact isn’t. Back in 2015 we joined RE100, a group of the world’s most influential companies committed to using 100% renewable power. I’m proud to say that we are on track to meet that target by the end of 2020. This really gives me confidence that when we set our minds and hearts to something as a business, we can get there. Becoming climate positive is a much more ambitious target than we’ve ever had before. But our spirit of determination to do what’s right, rather than what is easy, will help us get there.
Of course, determination alone isn’t enough. Collaboration and innovation are also crucial. Reducing our emissions, even by 30-40% requires a complete re-design of the way we do things. We certainly don’t have all the answers. And that’s something we’re willing to embrace. So, we need to collaborate with our partners and our customers to identify and work on solutions together. Announcing our ambition is just the first step. The next is drawing on the incredible talent and innovation within the virtual walls of our business, as we take the journey together to become climate positive.
I’ve always believed in the transformative power of fashion; it has shaped culture throughout history. With true commitment, drive and ambition, the industry can transform its relationship with our environment and play a significant part in solving the climate crisis.
YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP commits to deliver CO2e reductions in line with a Science Based Target and become climate positive across our operations and private label value chain by 2030. This commitment falls under the Planet Positive pillar of our Infinity strategy.