Condé Nast signs UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, as it pledges to promote sustainable fashion and clothing re-use to readers
Fashion has undoubtedly ramped up its sustainability efforts in 2019. At the G7 summit in August, 37 brands including Chanel and Gucci-owner Kering signed up to the Fashion Pact, a commitment to meet three key sustainability goals: eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050; reduce single-use plastics by 2030 and support innovation to destroy micro-fibre pollution. Then in September, Kering announced that it would be going entirely carbon-neutral by offsetting its emissions. And now, one of the industry’s biggest publishers has announced a global sustainability strategy to tackle the climate crisis head-on.
Condé Nast — the owner of brands including Vogue, GQ, and The New Yorker — has become the first media company to sign the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, launched by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in December 2018. The charter has been signed by more than 40 brands so far, including Burberry, Stella McCartney and H&M. The commitment includes a target of reducing greenhouse emissions by 30 per cent before 2030 and reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. These goals are aligned with the Paris Agreement, which aims to keep global surface temperatures to well below 2°C above pre-Industrial Revolution levels and limit any increase to 1.5°C.
“We have a responsibility to use the power of [our] brands to help raise awareness, define terms of change and point to solutions to ensure our audiences and our industry are informed and engaged in taking climate action,” says Roger Lynch, CEO of Condé Nast. “We also have a responsibility to operate our business in the most sustainable way possible. We are committed to measuring and reporting on our progress as we strive to be better global citizens.”
Single-use plastic is a key focus, particularly when it comes to magazine packaging. The company is pledging to eliminate non-recyclable plastic from all products across its owned markets by 2025 and has also signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in October 2018. Condé Nast is also looking to address its environmental footprint even further by publishing an assessment report on its own operations in early 2020 and outlining a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The media company is also making a commitment to promote sustainability and the reuse of clothes, as well as innovative materials and technologies that will help address the environmental impact of fashion. “Fashion has always reflected the big changes in society and been part of the cultural discourse,” comments Wolfgang Blau, global chief operating officer and president, international, at Condé Nast. “As the world’s number one fashion publisher, we commit to doing our very best in championing these positive efforts.”
The United Nations has welcomed Condé Nast’s new sustainability strategy. “As a global media company, their engagement will be very valuable to disseminate information about the sustainability efforts and achievements of the fashion industry,” says Patricia Espinosa, UN climate change executive secretary, “as well as informing the world about the need for wider and accelerated climate action.”