Bringing fashion to zero carbon emissions – WWD

Research shows that the need to tackle climate change is only on the rise and the need to act faster and more aggressively to mitigate any negative impacts on people and the planet is here.

Industry leader Avery Dennison has acted quickly to make an impact and aims to achieve zero emissions by 2050. Last fall, the company’s emissions reduction targets were approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative, or SBTI, as consistent with the levels required to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Earlier in Earth Month, Michael Colarossi, Avery Dennison VP of Innovation, Product Line Management and Sustainability, and Debbie Shakespeare, Avery Dennison Senior Director, Sustainability, Compliance and Core Product Line Management , joined WWD executive editor Arthur Zaczkiewicz for a Fairchild Webinar produced by Media Group to discuss the push to zero net emissions and the steps Avery Dennison has taken to eliminate carbon from its products and how the data and digital technology are helping in the process. They also shared information on what it takes to develop a strategy and action plan.

Reflecting on Avery Dennison’s journey with carbon, Shakespeare said it was indeed the Paris Convention that made the world realize that a commitment had to be made.

“The Paris engagement has meant that countries, NGOs, industries, businesses really take a step back and think about what it takes to decarbonise a supply chain or a value chain, and then really collaborate and cooperate together,” he said. Shakespeare. “Speaking of the apparel industry and what we need to think on the apparel side, the world really woke up when we think about where we are with what we are doing with the apparel supply chain and the data shows that on its current path by 2030 we will produce double the emissions, we must be able to comply with the Paris Convention “.

The increase in carbon has an impact on temperatures and water levels and by looking at where most manufacturing facilities in the apparel supply chain are located, they are in areas that will be affected by water. Therefore, the importance of a clothing supply chain in the fashion industry is recognizing what role carbon has to play in a supply chain and in the general environment.

Part of being responsible for innovation, product management and sustainability for Avery Dennison’s apparel division, Colarossi said, is ensuring that the company looks to future trends and has the products and solutions to meet those trends in the market, ultimately creating value for consumers. Sustainability is one of these key trends and a key driver of company innovation.

Over the past three years, Shakespeare has explained that the number of customers who have committed to science-based goals has doubled and with that they wonder how they can be part of the supply chain decarbonisation. “What’s really interesting is that you see the industry evolving and people are really starting to take the steps to think about what can happen and also that inherent link between circularity, digital and decarbonisation – it’s a connected solution.”

Also, the reason science-based targets are so important, Shakespeare said, is that companies can see a clearly defined path to achieving emission targets. Put simply, it’s a way to put all organizations on an equal footing to be able to measure progress and hold companies accountable for that progress.

“When it comes to science-based goals, if you’re not already on the go, take a look at your clients,” said Shakespeare. “Take a look at the supply chain, take a look at the sector. It is so important that people take that step, commit and look to what needs to happen.

Once on that journey, he said, “you have a responsibility to really think about how you are purchasing the materials and what the impact on end of life is. This is why digital technologies can have such a crucial impact and really help tell your story to consumers, which adds value, but can also help achieve goals. It’s a double story around commitment, [and] to be able to communicate this progress ”.

“This isn’t marketing,” Colarossi said. “And those organizations that try to go down the path of sustainability as a marketing tool are currently running a significant risk, because consumers, industry groups, investors are watching that they have that data available. The days of greenwashing are fast drawing to a close. If you are making commitments, you need to make sure you have the processes, tools and plan to execute, as organizations will become increasingly responsible for carrying out all their stakeholders. “

In discussing how to start other companies, Shakespeare and Colarossi said it’s important to note that while Avery Dennison has undoubtedly made great strides in achieving his goals, the journey to get started was a long one and started with a lot of discussion.

At the same time, Colarossi said that creating a strategy in this sense requires alignment with every department of the company, not just a member or a sustainability team. For Avery Dennison, the company sees driving a sustainable future as an imperative and part of its core values, but it also recognizes the business opportunity as progress creates value.

As for the digitization of the sector, added Colarossi, many parts of the supply chain are not necessarily identified, but “it is a space to actively look at and participate in where possible while we try to unlock the value of digital technologies to simplify the supply chain. supply, improve its efficiency, reduce its carbon intensity and better interact with consumers and their role in the circular economy “.

And with the pressure for brands and retailers to start the zero-carbon journey only on the rise, Colarossi has encouraged all companies to start those conversations within an organization now and recognize that it will take time to drive towards a plan. action.

Ultimately, Colarossi and Shakespeare said the journey begins with just one step: take it.

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