The greenhouse gas emissions of the global apparel and footwear sector are significant and likely to grow. Given the environmental and business implications of increasing global emissions, companies in the sector should actively pursue a comprehensive strategy to limit their climate impacts and ensure their GHG reduction targets are in line with what the latest climate science says is necessary to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

While many apparel and footwear companies are motivated to do their part to prevent catastrophic climate change, emissions along the value chain (scope 3 emissions) are significant for brands and retailers, and companies face numerous hurdles to address them.

This guidance provides recommendations for companies in the sector—including retailers, brands, finished goods manufacturers, and mills—to set science-based targets, and provides case studies on best practices in target setting and strategies for achieving reductions.

Key Findings

Count it: Complete a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, including a scope 3 inventory for all relevant categories. Use a combination of supplier-specific activity data where available and secondary data to fill in data gaps. Companies should prioritize supplier specific data collection on activities in the value chain where they have both significant emissions and the ability to influence GHG reductions.

Change it: Use the criteria and methods approved by the Science Based Targets initiative to set ambitious science-based targets for your company’s operations and along the value chain. Aggressively deploy energy efficiency and renewable energy across the value chain and substitute materials with lower environmental impacts. Continue exploring and measuring the impact of new business models for decoupling revenue growth from GHG emissions.

Scale it: Collaborate and share knowledge through partnerships and open-source tools to leverage shared influence and achieve impact at the scale and pace required by science.

Executive Summary

Full executive summary available under Downloads.