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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

From Catwalk to Carbon Neutral

To our peers and fellow climate activists across fashion value chains and beyond,

The catalyst for co-commissioning this paper is our shared conviction that if we fail

to devise new ways of funding decarbonisation, we will also fail to realise our climate

goals. We wanted to inspire more expansive, creative and imaginative thinking about

how the sector might go about collectively funding decarbonisation in such a way

that goes beyond business-as-usual, and primarily debt-based, solutions.

Although the intention and objectives of this paper have been fairly narrowly defined,

it’s worth emphasising the broader context within which this paper sits. Currently, the

sector’s approach to climate action places the burden for action on factories in pre-

dominantly global South nations. Although this is to a certain extent rational, given

that this is where the vast majority of fashion’s emissions are currently concentrated,

a just transition requires shared risk and responsibility.

Second, this paper’s focus reflects the fact that the sector’s approach to climate action

more generally is overwhelmingly focused on decarbonisation—with less emphasis on

adaptation and resilience. However, as the direct employers of some of the individuals

most vulnerable to climate change globally, it is our shared conviction that the sector

must expand the framing of the current climate action conversation to also include

adaptation and resilience. Both adaptation and resilience have their own funding re-

quirements and a just transition demands a collective approach to all three.

Third, the specific challenge of how to fund decarbonisation is an opportunity to

re-imagine cost-driven supply chain structures to ensure that they are fit for the

future and capable of driving sustainability more generally. Currently, funding for de-

carbonisation must compete with many other manufacturer investment needs such as

improved wastewater management systems, worker wellbeing programmes, and more

general growth and infrastructural improvement investments.

Finally, the need for this paper originated in private discussions between producers

hosted by the Asia Garment Hub1 , which led to the realisation that many of our de-

carbonisation funding challenges are shared. However, we also want to emphasise

that our perspectives are not monolithic and we do not align on everything. Indeed,

some of us are direct commercial competitors. Nonetheless, we came together to

commission this paper because of our shared belief that manufacturer perspectives

on this topic—in all their breadth and complexity—must be better understood if we

are serious about driving meaningful impact.

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This report has been endorsed by the International Apparel Federation and Fashion Producer Collective.

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