On Monday, LS&Co. CEO Chip Bergh was one of 75 leading CEOs and labor leaders to sign a statement of support for the Paris Agreement and its critical role in addressing the climate crisis. Its publication comes at the start of the 25th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties, also known as COP25. It marks the fourth anniversary of the Paris Agreement at COP21.
This statement is not a new message from Chip, who advocated for a strong Paris Agreement in 2015 and reaffirmed LS&Co.’s support in 2017. The statement reads in part:
“In 2017, many of us came together to rally behind the United States’ participation in the Paris Agreement. We came together to say we are still in. Two years ago, the impacts of climbing global temperatures were clear. Today, with record temperatures across the country, fiercer hurricanes pummeling coasts, more destructive wildfires, droughts and flooding disrupting the economy, we have no time to waste.
“There has been progress, but not enough. This moment calls for greater, more accelerated action than we’ve seen. It calls for the strong policy framework the Paris Agreement provides, one that allows the US the freedom to choose our own path to emissions reductions.”
This statement and its signatories make it clear that business and labor leaders agree on the fundamental need for governments and businesses around the globe to act quickly and meaningfully. We must heed the guidance of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and raise our collective ambition to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees C or less. We were the first apparel company and among the first two U.S.-based companies to make this commitment and we encourage our peers and the governments of the world to join us.
A history of climate action
LS&Co. has been at the forefront, advocating for meaningful policy to mitigate climate change for over a decade. In 2008, LS&Co. was one of four founding company members of Ceres’ policy network, Business for Innovation Climate and Energy Policy (BICEP). Through this coalition, we have advocated for policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and promote the transition to a clean energy economy. Earlier this year, we were among 75 leading companies to advocate for a federal price on carbon emissions. At the state level in the U.S. we have successfully advocated for numerous measures, including legislation that sets Nevada, home to our LEED Platinum-certified distribution center, on track to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
Upon achieving our 2020 emissions reductions targets early, we launched our Climate Action Strategy in 2018. This strategy includes science-based targets that commit us to moving to 100 percent renewable energy in our owned-and operated facilities, reducing emissions in those facilities by 90 percent, and reducing our emissions across our entire global supply chain by 40 percent, all by 2025. These targets are aggressive but achievable and this level of ambition will be necessary to avoid the worst of the climate crisis.
Among the resources we are utilizing to achieve these targets is our partnership with the International Finance Corporation’s Partnership for Cleaner Textiles (PaCT). PaCT provides expert guidance and low-cost financing that enable suppliers to improve their energy and water efficiency. After a pilot in six countries showed great promise, we announced this past June that we were expanding the partnership to cover more than 40 of our top suppliers in 10 countries.
One of the key developments of last year’s COP24 was the establishment of the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action. Charter signatories, including LS&Co. and other leading apparel companies, committed to working together, and with the United Nations, key stakeholders and national governments, to draw down the industry’s emissions to zero by mid-century.
Partnerships like the Fashion Charter and statements like yesterday’s acknowledge the gravity of the climate crisis before us and the need to act now, and act together. We are committed to not only play our part, but to work with others across the private, non-profit and public sectors towards necessary climate action for the sake of our collective future.