The fashion industry has an outsized carbon footprint. But many fashion brands have been making promising statements about their carbon emissions reduction or carbon neutrality goals. How does the actual progress and supply chain action match up to these goals, though? It can, frankly, be difficult to discern. But in today's episode, we're going to unravel the tangled web of confusing greenwashing and claims and dig into the nitty gritty of where fashion actually stands on climate action today. I (Elizabeth here!) spoke with Rachel and Erdene of the climate and environmental advocacy organization Stand.Earth. The team at Stand just released their 2023 Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard, ranking 43 influential fashion brands on their progress towards decarbonization in their supply chain. In this episode, we talk about this scorecard, discuss where fashion stands now on climate action, and what brands need to do in order to reach their climate goals.
The fashion industry has an outsized carbon footprint. But many fashion brands have been making promising statements about their carbon emissions reduction or carbon neutrality goals.
How does the actual progress and supply chain action match up to these goals, though? It can, frankly, be difficult to discern.
But in today's episode, we're going to unravel the tangled web of confusing greenwashing and claims and dig into the nitty gritty of where fashion actually stands on climate action today.
I (Elizabeth here!) spoke with Rachel and Erdene of the climate and environmental advocacy organization Stand.Earth. The team at Stand just released their 2023 Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard, ranking 43 influential fashion brands on their progress towards decarbonization in their supply chain.
In this episode, we talk about this scorecard, discuss where fashion stands now on climate action, and what brands need to do in order to reach their climate goals.
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It’s no secret that the fashion industry has an outsized carbon footprint. But many fashion brands have been making promising statements about their carbon emissions reduction or carbon neutrality goals.
How does the actual progress and supply chain action match up to these goals, though? It can, frankly, be difficult to discern.
Thankfully today, we're going to unravel the tangled web of confusing greenwashing and claims and dig into the nitty gritty of where fashion actually stands on climate action today.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Rachel and Erdene of the climate and environmental NGO Stand.Earth. The team at Stand.Earth did incredible in-depth research on various fashion brands' reliance on fossil fuels and those brand's progress (or lack thereof) on reducing their supply chain emissions.
This information was compiled for their 2023 Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard and the scorecard was just released last week so in this episode, we're going to talk more about this scorecard, and where fashion stands now on climate action and what brands need to do in order to reach their climate goals.
As always you can find the relevant links in the episode description below.
And while you're there, you can sign up to receive our free newsletter the Conscious Edit. This is your weekly sustainable fashion breakdown where I share reads and resources on all things slow fashion and sustainability. You can subscribe at consciouslifeandstyle.com/edit or via the link in the description.
Alright let's get into this week's episode…
Hey everyone, and welcome or welcome back to the Conscious Style podcast. I'm your host, Elizabeth. And today I'm chatting with Rachel and Erdene from Stand.Earth. We're going to be talking about their work at Stand, specifically how they are campaigning to create a fossil free future for fashion.
Rachel and Erdene, thank you so much for joining me today. We're going to be diving into a lot in today's conversation, but just get us on a solid foundation. Can you tell us about what Stand is and the work that Stand does in the fashion industry?
Yeah, I can start us off with just like a general about the organization. So Stand.earth is an international advocacy organization and we started out 20 something years ago, doing forest protection. And since then, we've done a lot of work in advocating corporations to do better for the people and the environment, and also working with governments to do the same. And I'll pass it off to Rachel.
Yeah, and then so Stand's fashion campaign came about a few years ago. I think there has been rightly, a lot of focus on the many impacts of the fashion industry. You know, human rights abuses, biodiversity, water use.
But as an organization that does a lot of work on climate change, we kind of identified that there was something of a gap when it comes to another key impact for the fashion industry, which has its massive carbon footprint.
I mean, we're talking about up to maybe 8% of global emissions,
According to the UN. And that those impacts are really kind of maybe being overlooked in certain areas, and certain by certainly by the brands themselves. So we identified this as a key opportunity for Stand to leverage its corporate power, to get industry players to, to move in to really start to address their massive carbon footprint.
Yeah, definitely. And one of the projects that you all are working on at Stand is your Fossil Free fashion scorecard. And that's actually how I first learned about your work. So can you tell us about what that scorecard is? And why Stand.Earth created it?
Yeah, the scorecard, before the current rendition of the Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard, we had the Filthy Fashion Scorecard, which was launched before both of our times at Stand. But the idea of the filthy fashion scorecard was that, when the fashion campaign Stand looked at the fashion industry, there was a huge gap in addressing the energy Impact in scope three, like specially around their supply chain.
And at that time, a few years back, I think like four or five years back, there were companies didn't have scope three targets. And aside from that, they weren't even tracking it. Just like maybe just a few brands. So the Filthy Fashion Scorecard back then really was intended to track company's use of energy across their supply chain, and fill this gap and make the information accessible.
And what we really wanted to do was that we wanted to use the scorecard to make sure that this was available to people within the industry, but also for consumers. Also for environmentalists, because as Rachel mentioned, the fashion industry is responsible for a huge chunk of emissions. And we really also want to use it as a way to urge companies to do better to take charge of their scope three emissions, because that's a huge chunk of their emissions.
Real quick can you explain what scope three is for any listeners who might not be familiar?
Yeah, scope three. I'll explain it by explaining what went one and two are first. So emissions when we talk about a company are divided into scope, one, two, and three. And the first two are pretty much everything within the company's control.
In the fashion industry, it's like lighting and heating their stores and their offices. It's all of the kind of direct, you know, paper that they're buying for printing in their offices, all those kind of immediate things.
And so, scope three is everything else is everything from upstream in their supply chain, everything that goes into making their products transporting their product between suppliers and to their warehouses and everything that kind of goes on outside of their own operations.
So when Erdene says that they don't have scope three emission targets, that means they have climate targets, which are ignoring 90 plus percent of their emissions, it means that they're saying we'll worry about this little piece over here, whilst ignoring the massive iceberg, under the water over there.
That's, that's a good clarification. I always say just the scope theory is the supply chain. And I also understand, like people are like, the scope of the supply chain can also be big. So that was a great answer. Thanks, Rachel.
Yeah, and like, just as we mentioned, how big the scope three is, it was, companies were in tracking, that they weren't taking responsibility and accountability for how much it was producing. A lot of the targets are just focused on their own and operated places.
And so we really wanted the filthy fashion scorecard to come out so that we can use it as an accountability measure. But also, we intended for the scorecard to continue to evolve. And because our first rendition was really focused on scoring on their commitments, and not so much on, like, following up on the actions and stuff, and so we want to evolve. And so that's where we come to the Fossil Free Fashion scorecard.
Yeah. So that's a really great introduction, because basically, what the Fossil Free fashion scorecard, — which is what you've seen, we produced one in 2021, we produced the second rendition now in 2023 — is to measure more holistically where like these big criteria, these big pockets of emissions are coming from in, in the supply chain, and what these companies are actually doing to address them.
So overall, it is a benchmark, we have 43 companies in our benchmark, it covers a huge range of different areas, we've got fast fashion retailers, we've got athletic companies, you know athleisure, we've got outdoors, we've got luxury brands, we've got footwear brands.
And we're trying to benchmark them all against these five key criteria to see what they're doing within their supply chains to cut emissions, and kind of boil it down to that. Like, cut out all of the PR and the marketing and the nonsense and boil it down to what are they actually doing?
Yeah I love that.
And, yeah, I mean, it's it's kind of, you know, you do as much as you can, and ultimately, we are beholden to what the companies themselves are reporting, which is a limitation across the industry. But we're trying to kind of strip out all of that marketing and get it down to the bare essentials.
Yeah, definitely. Because some of the brand's grades in this scorecard might be quite surprising, because the marketing tells a bit of a different story, then perhaps what the brand is actually doing.
So I would love if we could dive a little bit deeper into those five areas that you're scoring on? What are those five areas? How are you like ranking the brands exactly?
Yeah so the first one, we've got five key areas. The first one is their climate and energy commitments, and then their transparency was one and that's kind of one, one pillar we've got of okay, what have they committed to do? Both to reduce emissions, and also, importantly, to increase renewable energy in their supply chains.
And this one's really crucial, because they won't be able to meet the kind of climate emission cuts that we need to see, without transitioning to renewable energy. It's absolutely essential that they set a goal of increasing that renewable energy.
And then, the transparency piece is like, well, are they actually reporting out on these targets? And you'd be amazed how many of them are not even on the most fundamental level.
And then the second piece is more about that progress. So what are they doing with their suppliers to promote energy efficiency, which is kind of the first step towards cutting emissions, and then to support that renewable energy transition, and then to help their suppliers also set emissions targets and be more transparent.
Because when you get down to it, it's actually the suppliers who are the ones who need to take action. But this is about saying, okay, the suppliers need to be the ones to implement the changes, but the emissions still belong to the brand. The brands are the ones who are causing, who are responsible for these emissions, and therefore they should be responsible for mitigating them as well.
So we're kind of looking at what are the brands doing to support their suppliers through training, through finance, importantly, and through kind of target setting and responsibility there. So that's really crucial.
And then the third pillar is advocacy. We know that a huge amount — most of this manufacturing is happening in countries which are not… have not made an energy transition to renewable energy and who are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.
And that, you know, that they are really kind of tied into these fossil fuels, the way that the system is kind of structurally developed. So these brands can't just necessarily walk in and say, transition to supplier transition to renewable energy, because that option may not be available to them.
So the advocacy pieces are telling brands that they need to go ahead and use that power that they have, as a major exporter, to advocate in countries for more options, more opportunities for renewable energy, and then support that transition.
So then after that, we kind of look more into materials. So another one of the key ways that fossil fuels enter our fashion supply chains, as I'm sure you're aware, is through materials. The physical clothes we are wearing are made of fossil fuels.
So we want to look at what brands are doing to cut fossil fuels out of their raw materials sourcing, are they transitioning off of polyester and spandex? Are they increasing recycling? And by recycling, I mean, textile recycling. Are they actually going to use waste textiles to produce new materials rather than just continually extracting more?
And what are they doing to promote real circularity: repair, take back programs, resale, things which keep product — the actual product — in circulation for longer.
And then finally, another key element, which is often overlooked, and which is like, not a lot of brands are talking about, despite the fact that it is actually a real kind of recognizable part of their emissions' footprint is transportation. And that means like the shipping of their goods from overseas from their suppliers, to their warehouses.
Which is, it's something again, yeah, you don't really think about necessarily when you think about the emission footprint, but it's actually we're talking about our scopes earlier, companies' transportation footprint, is usually two or three I think is on average, two or three times higher than its scope one and two, those emissions that bands tend to focus on.
And up to, I believe in Boohoo's case, Boohoo is one of the brands that we looked at and scorecard, their transportation emissions were 48 times higher than their scope one and two emissions.
So this is a real piece, which brands are just kind of quietly letting happen. And then so you know, we felt it was really important to kind of highlight this piece and say like, well, what are you doing to cut down those emissions? And are you just shipping things, putting things on planes and not you know, not worrying about him?
Yeah, I was gonna ask like, why are Boohoo's transportation emissions so particularly high? Is it because they rely a lot on air freight for their shipping? Because they want it so fast?
Yeah. So I mean, again, transparency is an issue here. It's difficult to say because not all brands are transparent about the different means they use to ship their goods.
But one thing one trend, which definitely appeared in the scorecard, is transportation emissions have gone up. And that is a result of during the pandemic, a lot of brands decided that they didn't want to ship things on slow cargo ships, because things got really snarred up in supply chains. They wanted to get their goods to customers now because they're buying now so they put them on planes. And that means, you know, the emissions intensity of putting your goods on a plane instead of a cargo ship are like 100, 150 times greater. So it's a significant impact.
Wow. So where can brands start to reduce their emissions? How does Stand.Earth recommend brands actually address their emissions?
Yeah, um, so this is a really important question. There's definitely different angles here. But the most important thing that brands can do right now is set near term targets. And when I say near term, I mean, the next five years, or three years, up to 2030.
Because we need to know that they are going to be focusing everything they have on making the rapid changes that need to happen right now to get their emissions under control. And in order to make those changes, as I've mentioned, they're going to rely on their suppliers. Because that's 97% of the emissions in the supply chain, as we talked about.
And so they need to urgently begin to engage much more actively, much more positively, with helping their suppliers to make that transition, and making it as an absolute priority. And things like longer term contracts with suppliers while they transition their energy. You know, there's all of these kind of inequitable agreements and arrangements between brands and their suppliers that really need to shift in order to make that change possible. And that's the number one priority.
Then, the other kind of key aspect of this is around coal. One of the reasons that manufacturing emissions are so high is because coal is burned directly on site in factories as part of manufacturing processes.
And this is something which the IPCC has recognized over and over again, is that we need to phase out coal, by 2030, it needs to be gone if we have a hope of keeping the 1.5 degree temperature change in within reach. And fashion brands have a role to play in this, they need to commit to phasing coal out of their manufacturing and helping their suppliers once again helping us buyers make that transition.
And if I could add something, I think a lot of the times when we talk about the scorecard and the energy aspect of the fashion industry, what I see twofold I see is that fashion companies are probably part of like really huge corporations.
They have a lot of influence and reputation and money that they're able to put towards advocating for positive change and phasing out fossil fuels throughout the world. And we often hear people say like, okay, but you're advocating for a company or corporation to do something, right?
And sometimes their business models don't enable that, for example — like fast fashion, their whole business model is quite problematic.
But I think what we want to do with the our fashion campaign, and also through the scorecard is one by making this information as accessible as possible, and pushing for that transparency, for both like for companies to do that, but also for the industry to set a standard for transparency and make sure that consumers and people who care about the environment and their lives have like easy access to this is that we are ultimately going to push for systemic change.
You know, we're asking these demands will translate into legislations and changes and there are lots of new movements that are happening within North America and Europe and across Southeast Asia. And that's what we want to do.
And the other thing that we often notice with brands is that because they have access to a lot of money and marketing, they can often do greenwashing and put the onus on consumers. Recycle, reuse, all that kind of stuff, but they're really just encouraging folks to go out and buy.
I think like having information like our scorecard out there, or just having conversations like this around energy, circularity, just like sustainability within the fashion industry, I think really help put the pressure and onus back on companies to use part of their profits to take responsibility to clean up their emissions and clean up their supply chains.
And I think that's really important because it doesn't only impact people who care about the environment, you know, people who are North America, like, obviously, we are quite privileged in many aspects living in North America, in the nucleus of capitalism, I guess.
But the real impact of the fashion industry's emissions are faced and felt by folks who are garment workers, factory workers, and folks who are living on the frontlines. And yeah, we can talk about phasing out fossil fuels. But like, we always have to center the impact that it has on the health and wellness of people on the frontlines as well.
So some of the largest and most powerful fashion brands on the planet have signed the United Nations Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, and committed that they would reduce their carbon emissions 50% by 2030. So in about 7 years. Which is an exciting goal. However, Stand has found that many of the signatories of the UN Charter aren't on track to meet these goals. Can you share a bit about these findings?
Yes, absolutely. Yeah so we, we just kind of did a piece of research, where one year on from the UN Fashion Charter's updated emissions targets, because you know, a year I think, is enough time for brands to really show that they are setting that goal in their sights, and they're working towards it.
And unfortunately, what we found was that that's not the case.
And we actually did a little bit more research into this for our scorecard, and found that when we brought in even more brands, of the 29 I believe brands that actually reported enough data for us to be able to tell, we found that overall emissions had gone up 20% In the last two years.
So I guess the question, yeah, you're absolutely right. It's like, what is happening here? How can it be that their targets are going up, but their emissions are also going up? I think, you know, what this shows is that there is still that gap between targets and commitments, and what they're saying, and the kind of brass tacks of what they're doing.
And it's these little, again, these little greenwashy pieces that we get handed of like we're making our shoes out of ocean plastic, or we're making a clothing line made out of carbon emissions, I think is one that I've saw.
And it's like, okay, that's a fraction of a fraction of your product production line. What about the rest? Like we need to cut out all of this. And we need these kind of near term targets to kick into gear.
And I think actually, one interesting example that I would point to here is that, you know, some of the brands that we looked at were cutting their emissions. And one example was Levi's. So Levi's is a brand that Stand actually campaigned on a couple of years ago during our Filthy Fashion campaign, because they at the time had no carbon, no scope three targets, no targets covering their supply chain at all.
And they did end up setting targets they set targets for I believe it was 2027, or even nearer to significantly cut their supply chain emissions. And that's actually the nearer term the most, than I think any other brand that we're seeing in this scorecard that we're all targeting 2030 or later.
And that's important. Because it shows that the fact that this, they had to really focus on achieving it now, and not just kind of feeding little hopes about what may happen in the future. They've really had to kind of focus in on that action.
You know, they still have a lot of work to do — a lot of work to do — to reduce the impact of their operations, to increase the use of renewable energy and actually be more transparent about that in the supply chain. But it does show what's possible and that's, that's important.
Yeah, definitely. And what would you suggest for how we can start to bridge that gap, for other brands, from their public commitments and getting that to actually drive real action towards reducing emissions?
Yeah, I think transparency is absolutely key to this. One real gap that we've identified in the scorecard is that very few brands are offering real transparency into their supply chains.
Things like how much energy their suppliers are using and where their energy comes from, how they're engaging with their suppliers in any kind of detail. Even who their suppliers are. Down to raw materials sourcing. You know, it's impossible to tell where the materials that make up your clothes actually come from based on a brand's reporting. And these are all big gaps.
Because you know, when you just have, when they're not sharing any data, you have to take what they say at face value. And that's a real limitation when it comes to accountability. So transparency, transparent reporting, and detail is absolutely key.
And I think part of that is actually gonna come through regulation. You know, we're seeing new regulatory action brought in the US and in the EU, which is kind of attempting to bridge this gap a little bit. And basically requiring more brands to report in a more even handed way, to kind of standardize that reporting across the industry, which is going to be really important — it would certainly make my life easier if I'm going to do another scorecard.
Yeah. And I think a lot of other things that brands can do is, again, continue to take responsibility for their own business, their own supply chains. Because we see a lot of brands saying, as part of their initiatives, like things that hit the headlines, or like, this brand has joined this initiative, this coalition, this UN fashion charter, it's great.
But if we're going to be relying on third party organizations and initiatives to move forward the work, the individual supply chains of companies are not going to be phasing out fossil fuels that quick. So we really need brands to just like, say, this is our business. This is our supply chain. This is what we can do to take action.
Yeah, really prioritize it. Because, yeah, sure, it might be one of their goals, but it feels like it keeps moving down the priority list, which is really unfortunate.
But one brand I know Stand has targeted quite a bit is Lululemon. So I was wondering, why has Stand chosen to target this brand specifically? And what are your demands from Lululemon?
Yeah, so Lululemon. We've been doing public campaigning around Lululemon for the past, like year or so. And our main ask for the company is to transition to renewable and 100% renewable energy by 2030.
Because right now, their supply chain, again, is very reliant on coal power, which means that the factories that they're producing their clothes, they're very famous leggings, and now their footwear is made in factories that are being powered by coal.
And Lululemon is a really interesting company. I mean, it's an athleisure wear brand, if you look at their marketing, they really market themselves as a leader, leader in athleisure, leader and comfort leader in yoga where, and interestingly, leader in health and wellness — not just for the people, but also for the planet. It's literally on their website: "we prioritize the health and wellness of the planet and the people."
And the other aspect is Lululemon is a really fast growing company. It's competing with the likes of Nike, etc, they're a huge company. And as their profits grow as their, you know, scope of products grow, their emissions are growing. And we've seen that in one of our previous analyses, I think Rachel was like, their emissions in 2021 increased by a whopping 60%. Sixty percent.
That's, that's like wild to us. When we look at the increasing emissions and their profits, and the fact that they don't have sustainability or climate goals to match, tackling their growing emissions.
That's when we look at the company like Lululemon and say, what can we do to push this company to make sure that they are being the leader that they want to be? And they're phasing out coal and fossil fuels from their supply chain?
And stop using coal. I think at this point in time, using coal is really unacceptable, and coal pollution is really bad. And again, bringing in the health impact of coal pollution. Like we may not be seeing this when we go to the stores and shop. But it is very real. Coal pollution is spewing out of factories, people are living there.
And so going back to Lululemon's emissions, in our scorecard that we released in 2021, the brown score the D-. But for a company that really like prides itself on being the sustainability leader, you know, leader in health and wellness, that was quite shocking to us.
And in our current scorecard, they are scoring the C minus, which I think is a great show of like how doing public campaigning to push companies and have public set of demands really does work.
Because for the past year, we've done a lot of work to push Lululemon. We've done on the ground actions, we've talked to the executives of the company, we've, you know, been outside the store flyering going caroling, and like all of these things. People are like, Oh, these activists don't you have, like better things to do with your time? It really does work.
And we've done a lot of work on social media, we've even done things like breaking down they're really famous products, and by percentages of like which percent is made with renewable energy? Which percent is made with coal and fossil fuels — and most of it is coal?
And so what we're asking Lululemon and what we're doing with all of our, like varying actions with online and on-the-ground, is we're asking the company to be a leader. We're asking the company to, match its growing profits and emissions with their climate goals.
And we're hoping that the company is close to committing to phasing out coal and transition into 100% renewable energy by 2030. Because that's really important.
Yeah, that's interesting that you saw an improvement in this year's scorecard, because I actually was going to ask you both a little bit more about Lululemon. Because I saw that they are one of the fashion brands that invested in the Fashion Climate Fund organized by Apparel Impact Institute.
And just for some quick background for listeners who might not be familiar with this fund, the goal of this fund is to raise $250 million to quote: "unlock $2 billion in blended capital towards verified impact solutions, thereby removing up to 150 million tons of CO2 from the apparel supply chain."
So, what is Stand's take on this fund? Is it, you know, positive progress? Is there more than meets the eye? You know, what should we know about this fund and perhaps Lululemon's role in it as well?
Yeah, no, I mean, I think it's, it's positive. Money is really important to this process. Like, it's gonna cost a lot of money to make the transitions, to make the changes in the needed on the ground with suppliers to curb emissions.
We're talking about things like buying new or boilers, so they can phase out the coal ones and replace them with ones that run on electricity, or making the kind of basic improvements to make factories more energy efficient. Which actually do, you know, have a real measurable impact on emissions. And it all costs money.
And what we can't see is brands simply passing those costs on to their suppliers, demanding changes, and having their suppliers then have to foot the bill. These are already very unequal relationships, where the brand has all the power and the supplier is now being expected to meet all of these growing mounting pile of demands out of their own pocket.
So this fund is definitely a step forward. And it's really important that I think now, applications have opened, so the money should start flowing, which I think is is really great.
I guess, overall, however, like I would say that this isn't carte blanche for a brand like Lululemon to input the $10 million, or whatever it was at the beginning of the fund, and then kind of tick that box of investment. $10 million is a relatively small amount for a company which is making money hand over fist right now.
And that money is not a direct investment in Lululemon's supply chain. So although it is a good thing, — nobody's arguing that it is not a good thing — it's not enough, and it's not the be all and end all.
And they still need to make sure that they are supporting their suppliers financially to make the kind of changes that need to happen and like the suppliers that are in their direct supply chain. Yeah so it's about responsibility, you know, at the end of the day.
So I really love this question because I remember when lululemon signed on or invested part in the Apparel Impact. I think it was towards the like late 2022? There was like some media headlines around it. People were like touting Lululemon and other brands were like, sustainability leaders and amazing. Yes, this is one positive move forward.
But I think again, as Rachel said, it's really important to make sure that we see this consistent investment in sustainability. And they take responsibility for their own supply chain. And we often hear on people around Lululemon.
Lululemon says that they're gonna go 100% renewable in their scope one or two, because it says, you know, it's owned and operated. But they don't talk about their scope three emissions or targets. And so of course, people are gonna see we're going 100% renewable on their website. And then they're like, oh, Lululemon's, doing great.
And then people are gonna see, Lululemon has invested $10 million into this amazing fund. Yes. And I think it's really important to give roses when it's needed. But it's also really important to clarify and have these conversations around like: what does it mean, when a company invests that amount of money into a third party initiative and organization?
It does not necessarily mean that they're cleaning up their supply chain. It doesn't mean that they're reducing their emissions. And so I really appreciate this question, because this is a conversation that we continue to clarify and have conversations around.
Yeah, definitely. And I appreciate both of your expertise on this topic. And I just looked up Lululemon's profits, because as you were saying 10 million sounds like a lot, I think to most of us, right?
But for a brand, I mean, Lululemon had an annual gross profit in 2022 of $3.6 billion. And so I did some quick math…. 10 million is 0.3%, roughly. so a third of a percent of their annual profits.
So this is a drop in the bucket for them. And so while it's yeah, a great start, at the end of the day, we do need that continual investment. I mean, Apparel Impact Institute themselves, did a report with Fashion For Good that found that there's a $1 trillion funding gap for fashion to meet its climate goals. So we definitely need further investment.
I don't know if you both of you can clarify this. I think $10 million is like the minimum buy in for companies. Right?
Yeah, that was the initial stake that was for every company that was in it.
Just food for thought. Minimum buy in.
So this has been a really educational interview. A lot to think about what we learned and this these past 40 minutes.
And I just had one final question for you that I ask every guest that comes into the show. And it's so that we end up on a bit of an inspirational note, because sometimes we start talking about some pretty heavy topics in these episodes. Which are necessary, but I do like to end it on a hopeful, inspiring note. So what would a better future for fashion look like to you?
I think in general in the environmental world, so we are like seeing and feeling the impacts of climate change. We, it can be very easy to slip into the doom and gloom of it all. And oftentimes.. I see messaging that are like, we have to do this urgency and scarcity.
But I think there is so much to be said, in messaging and conversations there are solutions oriented, and what a future can look like. What transitioning to 100% renewable energy looks like. What working with frontline communities, impacted communities looks like.
And for me, personally, I recognize that the work that Stand.Earth does and our FashionSscorecard does, it's a lot around energy, right? We're talking about supply chain, fossil fuels, which is incredible and amazing and important.
But also there's, there are so many other organizations — frontline groups that are working on workers rights, equal pay, equitable work places, and producing less waste and focusing on innovation and quality, and just like consuming less.
And my hope, a better for better fashion future is creating an intersectional ecosystem for sustainable fashion for a fashion industry that, you know, doesn't have siloed conversations around energy here, workers' rights and safety there, fair pay wage here, and business model over there.
But a system where we're all in the same conversation. Where we are giving innovative ideas and solutions to each other, and moving forward. Because I really think that like collective community power can go towards a lot of things.
And a lot of the times, the things that we're talking about, the solutions that are presented in front of us feels really scary and overwhelming, because if we think about them as individuals, there are a lot.
But if we think about how, like myself, Rachel and you Elizabeth can do this all together, and it can start from a conversation like this. I think it feels a lot more palatable and achievable.
Yeah, I mean, I don't know how to add to that. But I think you really hit the nail on the head with — it's going to be about system change, ultimately. And what is what a better better future for fashion looks like is this kind of idea, which I think we're sort of gradually working towards and what makes me hopeful actually is the way that these things intersect.
That Erdene kind of outlined is like, well, the you know, and the theory of change that we're working behind is, if we can change these unequal relationships between brand and supplier, and sort of blend, and human and extraction versus sort of cultivation and renewal, then I think that we can create a more circular and more sustainable model for fashion.
You know, there are things that we're talking about here, which are showing beginning to become kind of more in vogue. Like regenerative agriculture, like, which is a holistic model in that it requires long-term collaborative relationships with raw material suppliers. Which then, you know, rebuild soil health and capture carbon rather than releasing it, and all of these things are kind of parts.
They're not just there to solve a single problem. They're like a system change. They require a whole new way of thinking. And I think that that is exciting. And I think it's hopeful. And I think that we are kind of gradually reconceptualizing what it means to have an industry that doesn't just take, take take take, but can actually kind of give back as well.
And I think that there's also exciting work being done by smaller brands. Often, generally, I think smaller brands that kind of come more community focused, that offer repair, and resale and rental and all of these kinds of other ways to stop just making more stuff and then dumping it. But actually build that into part of a community.
Which again, you know, it's like, you go to your community reuse hub and sit down with friends and can repair and like, actually make it into a part of a network rather than just being you know, order something off Amazon then wear it once and throw it away.
I mean, we're all part of an ecosystem and I think that we are gradually trying to remember that.