Fashion is the second-most polluting industry in the world. Companies like Nike, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Reebok, H&M, Zara and others together contribute to nearly 10 percent of annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to reports.
Most of the rise in emissions in the fashion industry has been due to the increasing popularity of fast fashion and the rapid rise in fashion purchases by middle-income groups.
But, as the world becomes climate-conscious, brands are also eager to present themselves as part of the group. With consumers increasingly becoming resistant to purchase products and services from those they think are destroying the planet, it is in the companies’ best interests to become climate-conscious. Or at least present themselves as climate-friendly through flawed reporting.
A Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) was established to help companies and other organisations publish their carbon emissions. The international non-profit tries to encourage companies to reduce their emissions by scoring their progress in the reduction of emissions.
Companies like H&M and Nike have made claims of an overall decrease in emissions while in reality, their emissions have been increasing, according to a Guardian report. This discrepancy is possibly due to the manner in which CDP calculates scores.
It calculates the gross emissions of a company but only against its total revenue in a year. In essence, a company can get scored for decreasing their overall emission levels just by having a larger increase in their revenue, the report explained.
Nike, for example, reported a net emission increase of 1 percent YoY in FY 2019 but it was “was offset by 7 percent year-on-year revenue growth, resulting in over a 5 percent drop in emissions per revenue,” per the company’s climate change report in the year 2020.