Business leaders have long used their positions of authority for the greater good, joining with other C-suite professionals on letters to government officials urging them to make changes that benefit society. Denim brand Guess recently added its name to the list of 600 businesses around the world calling for G20 leaders to fulfill their obligations outlined in The Paris Agreement, a global treaty focused on reversing the effects of climate change.
Organized by the We Mean Business Coalition, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to taking action against the climate crisis, the letter calls for policies that will slow the rise of global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius, cut global emissions by 50 percent by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. It was addressed to leaders attending the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, last week. The annual conference serves as a meeting point for world leaders to discuss climate-related topics.
In addition to the letter, Guess also announced its support of COY16, the 16th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth, which also took place in Glasgow last week. The event has given more than 150 young people from around the world a platform to come together and raise their demands during the UN’s climate change negotiations. Guess showed its support by providing supplemental funds for five youth delegates from diverse backgrounds across the U.S.
“The time to act is now, and we still have time to transform business for good,” said Carlos Alberini, Guess, Inc. CEO. “At Guess, we are committed to being part of the solution to climate change. We are making courageous choices and finding creative solutions. We also must support this inspiring younger generation in leading us to a brighter future. Everyone must do their part to ensure we keep this beautiful world as we know it, or better yet, as we dream of it.”
Guess has increased its sustainability efforts in recent years, and in April announced new targets, including reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by half in the next decade and expanding its Eco Smart line to make up 75 percent of its denim business in the next few years. The brand is also eliminating virgin synthetic materials and significantly increasing the amount of recycled materials in its lines by 2030, and joined the Ellen MacArthur Jeans Redesign initiative to focus on just that.
The company has come a long way since its first sustainability plan in 2017 pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent and make 25 percent of its denim meet Guess Eco guidelines, which require jeans to contain at least 20 percent certified sustainable materials and use production methods with reduced environmental impact. The company now plans to increase that figure to 75 percent by 2025.
According to Monica Dwight, USA country coordinator and COY16 delegate, Guess’ support is crucial to making a positive environmental impact at scale.
“We know that in order to achieve our ambitious goals, we need collaboration from NGOs, the public sector and the private sector to make these goals a reality,” she said. “We’re grateful for Guess’ support to elevate youth voices in the fight against climate change.”