SAN FRANCISCO — July 12, 2023 — Inditex — the world’s largest fast-fashion company and parent company of Zara and Pull & Bear — announced yesterday that it would set a new climate target to reduce its supply chain emissions by 50 percent by 2030. International environmental advocacy organization Stand.earth applauds the move, but called for the industry giant to show more substantive leadership in the race to decarbonize apparel production by also committing to transition its supply chain to clean, non-burning sources of renewable energy.
Inditex’s announcement includes a commitment to phase out on-site coal in factories for things like boilers and other sources of coal-fired heat or power generation by 2030, with a gradual phase down from 2023. However, Stand.earth expressed serious concern that Inditex’s support for switching its supply chain from coal to biomass, another dirty energy source, undermines this commitment.
The announcement comes only four months after Stand.earth published its Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard, in which Inditex earned a disappointing overall score of D+, reflecting its inadequate former climate targets and for demonstrating little progress in switching to renewable energy in its manufacturing facilities. Other Stand.earth research released during COP27 last year also shows that Inditex’s net-zero targets fell far short of the UN’s guidelines for impactful and measurable climate action.
In response to Inditex’s new climate target to reduce its supply chains emissions by 50 percent by 2030, Stand.earth Climate Campaigner Rachel Kitchin said:
“As the biggest fast-fashion company in the world and a major global polluter, Inditex has a responsibility to move the fastest and the furthest in its climate action, and this is an essential first step. This climate target has the potential to transform the massively-polluting supply chain of the fashion industry, but only if the company uses its power, resources and investment to help decarbonize the coal-ridden electricity grids that power its manufacturing, and support its suppliers to transition to clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar. A commitment to 100-percent renewable energy in its supply chain would send a powerful signal to policymakers in countries where its manufacturing is located to stop the expansion of coal power plants and invest in rapidly scaling renewable energy.
However, while Inditex’s new on-site coal phase out target is an essential step, the company dilutes its own climate targets by promoting biomass burning as an alternative — a process environmentally worse than coal burning — instead of electrification. Biomass throws out harmful air pollution, impacting workers and communities around Inditex’s own factories, and is associated with serious human rights concerns.
The fashion industry, including Inditex, has been responsible for immense amounts of climate emissions and extreme levels of deadly air pollution in manufacturing countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia, because of its reliance on cheap, dirty coal to power factories, while making billions in profit every year. With only six years to halve its emissions, all eyes will be on how Inditex will act to support a rapid transition away from coal and toward clean renewable energy.”
Fashion is a multi-trillion dollar industry responsible for producing up to 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions — generating more GHGs than all international flights and maritime shipping combined — and those emissions are expected to drastically increase by 2030. The industry’s manufacturing processes disproportionately rely on coal and other fossil fuels, undermining climate stability while also causing a devastating impact on the health of supply chain workers and communities that are primarily located in Southeast Asia.
Posted: July 12, 2023