By Simon Jessop
LONDON – Lululemon Athletica Inc and H&M Group are among backers of a $250 million fund aiming to speed up efforts to cut carbon emissions in the fashion industry’s supply chain, non-profit group Apparel Impact Institute said on Wednesday.
Bringing together clothing brands, philanthropic donors and other industry stakeholders, the institute’s Fashion Climate Fund also hopes to unlock a further $2 billion in funding once effective solutions have been found and scaled up.
Other early backers include the H&M Foundation and the Schmidt Family Foundation. More are expected to be announced in the coming months, with the fund hoping to raise $10 million from each.
“The urgency to address the climate issues has never been more acute. Early-stage innovations and new solutions play a critical role, but the impact does not happen before they can be scaled, and the industry starts adopting and implementing them,” said the H&M Foundation’s Christiane Dolva.
“The Fashion Climate Fund will support new programmes and solutions with a structured pipeline for getting from pilot to scale. We believe it provides a powerful mechanism to overcome the challenges of getting new solutions implemented by the industry, and thereby accelerate the progress on climate action.”
While many of the world’s leading companies have committed to reaching net-zero emissions across their businesses by mid-century and to halving emissions by 2030, the Apparel Impact Institute said many large barriers remain.
A recent study it conducted with the World Resources Institute found 96% of the fashion industry’s emissions come from third-party farms and factories used by multiple firms.
The fund will help finance a range of initiatives including expanding the use of renewable energy, developing next-generation materials, ditching the use of coal in manufacturing and improving energy efficiency.
It hopes that the use of philanthropic capital to help fund early stage projects and the forging of partnerships with retailers to scale up successful initiatives will encourage other industry participants to help meet future funding needs.
(Reporting by Simon Jessop in London; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)