“There’s one issue that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other, and that is the urgent threat of a changing climate” Barack Obama
We’re facing huge changes to our climate. We’re seeing the impacts first hand every day, whether through larger than normal forest fires in the Amazon, the States and Australia, increasing frequency of flood events in the UK, the thinning and shrinking ice-caps or “record setting” global temperatures almost every year. The last decade has been the hottest on record - it’s a safe bet the next decade will be hotter still.
Some people still argue that climate change is a natural phenomenon and that it’s not driven by human actions. We think that approach is self-interested and out-of-touch. The vast majority of climate scientists (97% of them as reported by the Independent) are in agreement that humans are responsible for the unprecedented rates of warming that we’re experiencing. If 97% of mechanics told you not to drive your car because it was highly likely to burst into flames we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t step into that car.
There is also strong consensus that we need to drastically reduce global emissions if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The IPCC states that we need to limit temperature rises to less than 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels (they’re currently at 1 degree above) if we are to avoid the worst. Above that all bets are off.
Unfortunately climate change has never been seen as an immediate threat (like your car bursting into flames obviously would be) so the global community has been slow to react. Since the original Kyoto protocol set out emissions reductions ambitions in 1992 repeated climate change CoPs (Conference of the Parties) have come and gone with little meaningful change to business as usual. The Paris Accord in 2015 was the biggest step forward in recent years and governments and big business are starting to recognise that business as usual can’t continue. But there has been very little concrete action as yet. Emissions continue to rise.
Change is in the air though. The Extinction Rebellion movement and the School Strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg have struck a chord with the public, aided by groundbreaking documentaries such as Blue Planet II. For the first time we see the world’s largest financial institutions divesting from fossil fuels; some of the worlds biggest corporations have begun competing to demonstrate the most ambitious plans to reach net zero; and, we are finally seeing political momentum gaining in recognition that the climate crisis is real, and it’s upon us.
There has never been a more important time for us all to stand up and do what we can to reduce our emissions, whether in our day to day lives, or through the work we do. The time to act is right now, with great urgency.
"The time to act is right now, with great urgency"
It’s imperative that we all make changes to reduce our personal emissions (see our blog “Low Impact Athlete” for more info), and a part of that is holding to account the companies that we buy from.
The Impact of the Clothing Industry
The clothing industry currently accounts for 8% of global emissions, and the continued rise of fast fashion means that by 2050 clothing could account for as much as 25% of total emissions. There’s no way that can be sustainable in an environmental, social, or economic sense.
At Presca, we have built our business around reducing the impact of our operations and our clothing, and to show other clothing companies the art of the possible. There is more information here. We have also developed stretching carbon targets to reduce our own carbon emissions and importantly, those of our supply chain.
Most companies looking at their emissions will count the impact of their own operations (“scope 1 & 2 emissions”) and assume that companies through the supply chain will doing the same (“scope 3 emissions”). Whilst that “boundary” approach may be technically correct, we see that a more progressive step is to take responsibility for our supply chain emissions as well. After all if we weren’t ordering clothes and accessories from these factories they wouldn’t be making them. The result is that our Carbon Emissions will be a lot higher per £ of our own revenue than other companies, but that’s because we’re taking a holistic view of our garments. It also means we have a lot more work to do to reduce emissions throughout our supply chain and to offset those that we can’t reduce.
OUR TARGET: Carbon neutral across all operations (in-house and supply chain) by 2022
Every year we’ll be releasing an annual report on our carbon emissions, how we’re measuring them, what emissions we are measuring, and our plans to reduce them. Our first report is due in December 2020.