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Coach Owner Eyes Net-Zero Status No Later Than 2050

Coach’s parent company is ready to become part of the climate solution.

Tapestry announced Thursday that it has joined the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) Business Ambition for 1.5°C platform, which encourages companies to set net-zero emissions targets that will help limit global warming to a further 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The fashion conglomerate, which also owns Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, has pledged to set emissions-reduction targets across all scopes in line with Paris Agreement goals. Tapestry has also promised to set a “long-term” target to achieve net-zero value-chain greenhouse-gas emissions by no later than 2050.

“At Tapestry, we are committed to leading with purpose and embracing our responsibility as a global house of fashion brands to effect real and lasting change for our industry and our stakeholders,” Joanne Crevoiserat, CEO of Tapestry, said in a statement. “Signing the Business Ambition for 1.5 degrees Celsius represents an important step forward in our journey to reduce our climate impact and make our planet more sustainable.”

The move, Tapestry said, dovetails with its “people-centered, purpose-led” strategy. In July, the company poured $50 million into establishing the so-called Tapestry Foundation to promote equality and tackle climate change. It has also vowed to procure 100 percent renewable electricity for all its stores, offices and fulfillment centers, reduce water use across Tapestry and its supply chain by 10 percent and achieve 95 percent traceability and mapping of its raw materials supply chains, all by 2025. Since 2017, Tapestry has reduced Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 57 percent and Scope 3 emissions from freight shipping by half, though it admits that a slowdown during the pandemic resulted in a smaller carbon footprint.

Companies that have thrown their support behind Business Ambition for 1.5°C commitment have 24 months to have their targets approved and published by the Science Based Targets initiative, which will accept only submissions of scope 1 and 2 targets that are in line with either a “well-below” 2-degree or 1.5-degree Celsius trajectory. Other companies that have signed up to the scheme include Auchan, Boohoo H&M, Inditex, Target and Tchibo.

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The Covid-19 crisis was a turning point for Tapestry, Crevoiserat wrote in the company’s latest corporate social responsibility report. “Tapestry’s transformation to become a more resilient company and integrate corporate responsibility into all that we do is well underway,” she said. “The pandemic has given us an imperative to accelerate our transformation and further strengthen our business and commitments. It forced us to be bold and made clear that we had much more work to do.”

The climate emergency has also taken on new urgency after United Nations scientists warned of almost certain catastrophe if temperatures continue to soar.

“Today’s IPCC Working Group 1 report is a code red for humanity,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said last month. “The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk. Global heating is affecting every region on Earth, with many of the changes becoming irreversible.”

Climate change would also imperil the fashion industry. Rising sea levels over the next decade could leave thousands of suppliers in Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Vietnam underwater, according to a recent study commissioned by the International Labour Organisation has found. “It appears some of apparel’s production centers representing a significant percentage of current output will not escape the projected acceleration of the climate crisis,” the report’s authors noted.

Another study concluded that all six of the top cotton-producing countries—Brazil, China, India, Pakistan, Turkey and the United States—will face increased dangers from wildfire, drought and extreme rainfall. Some 40 percent of cotton-growing regions could also experience a decrease in growing season as temperatures surge past optimum temperatures for agriculture.

“This analysis is a wake-up call for the cotton industry, on which much of the apparel sector is currently hugely reliant,” said Sally Uren, CEO of Forum for the Future, the sustainability think tank that commissioned the study. “In order to build resilience for a highly disrupted and uncertain future, the widespread shifts to sustainable forms of cotton production must be bolstered by ambitious and aligned action to reduce carbon emissions while also preparing the industry to operate in a very different world.”