Over half of fashion and textile companies recognise biodiversity loss as a priority risk, according to new report by Textile Exchange. Textile Exchange’s Biodiversity Insights Report (download here) compiles data from 157 fashion and textile companies including Hermès, H&M, Kering, Norrøna and Ralph Lauren.
The Biodiversity Insights Report uses data submitted through the Textile Exchange Biodiversity Benchmark to provide a baseline that tracks the level of engagement and effort that companies are putting into understanding and addressing their impact on the natural world. It aims to mobilize the industry towards becoming nature positive by 2030 by providing a framework for companies to plan and measure their actions
The report urges brands to build on their existing materials strategies, coupling fibre standards (currently prioritized by 80% of brands) and regenerative, restorative approaches (used by 32%) with initiatives that take their biodiversity benefits beyond sourcing efforts to collaborative landscape-level action.
Key insights from the report
- Biodiversity is fast becoming a focus area for fashion and textile companies. 51% recognize biodiversity risk as a priority and 59% have made public commitments to address it. And while biodiversity has only recently entered the sustainability conversation for fashion and textile companies, 8% already have an explicit biodiversity strategy in place.
- Sustainability standards are the most widely used measure by companies seeking to address their biodiversity impact. An impressive 80% of companies are increasing their uptake of certified materials as a way of managing their impact on biodiversity. Certified organic cotton and other cotton standards are the most popular.
- Over a third of companies are starting to take action to remediate biodiversity loss. Beyond standards, 38% of companies are beginning to implement restorative/regenerative measures in support of biodiversity, opening opportunities for collaboration across the value chain and within broader landscapes.
- A growing number of companies are investing in biodiversity either financially or in kind. 38% of companies are making some kind of investment to improve outcomes for biodiversity, focused on projects within their own supply chain or beyond.
- Greater transparency is still needed to track biodiversity outcomes. Impact is still limited by the fact that only 14% of companies know the countries where their key raw materials are grown or extracted. Beyond country of origin, companies should also understand the broader landscape of where they are sourcing their materials, and 15% have already started mapping this against priority areas for biodiversity.
The themes of the Biodiversity Insights Report will be further examined in the upcoming Textile Sustainability Conference 2021, which will be hosted in Dublin, Ireland from November 15-19, 2021.