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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Rapid shift to renewable energy to boost sustainability

Sustainability sells—at least that is what we have always been led to believe. But does it, really? Experts say most consumers still value qualities such as style, fit, value for money and choice above all else.

They also have their favourite brands that they stay loyal to through thick and thin; which is evident from the remarkable success of sports giants Adidas and Nike in dominating the global market for sporting apparel for so long. Building a strong brand is critical to business success.

However, in recent years, there has been a huge backlash against sustainability marketing in the West. The word “greenwashing” has become commonplace, and there is a growing lack of trust around brands and the claims they are making about their apparel products. Some brands have been reported for making misleading or false claims about their clothing collections.

In about five years or so, the fashion industry will have to make radical changes in supply chains in order to reduce carbon intensity in line with protocols such as the Paris Agreement. If they cannot do this, the backlash from consumers, regulators and investors alike will be huge.

Most major fashion brands have now set targets to reduce carbon emissions in their supply chains (tier 3). Many have set science-based targets on these issues, and this is an area which investors and regulators alike are watching closely. Brands are under a huge—and growing—level of scrutiny on this topic.

If one observes sustainability reporting of fashion brands and retailers it would be found that most are now reporting in great detail their progress around is in their own operations, such as retail stores. These emissions are a tiny part of a brand’s total emissions—often less than 10 percent. When it comes to reducing emissions in supply chains, brands have not been quite so successful.

In the absence of a rapid shift to renewable energy in supply chains, as their output grows, their supply chain emissions increase. While consumers may not care too greatly for products packaged in a “green” way, they do take notice of broader climate issues. As we move forward, green marketing could be less about products and more about the energy and emissions used in the production of clothing.

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