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Li & Fung Throws Support Behind Nike and Arctic Ocean Shipping Pledge

LF Logistics, the logistics unit of Li & Fung Limited, has signed a pledge to support an initiative launched by one of its customers, Nike, and Ocean Conservancy to prohibit shipping through the Arctic Ocean.

The company noted that while LF Logistics does not use any Arctic sea routes, its commitment to the initiative means that it will join with all the signatories to take shared responsibility for preserving the Arctic.

“We are proud to support Nike’s leading role in this pledge, which will help prevent harmful trans-Arctic shipments,” Joseph Phi, group president of Li & Fung, said. “Li & Fung is committed to operating supply chains in a responsible and sustainable manner. We strongly believe in the power of collaboration on urgent action which will bring about a change in the industry and protect the fragile Arctic ecosystem.”

The company noted that the rapid reduction of Arctic sea ice caused by climate change could possibly increase cargo transportation through Arctic sea routes that had long been unnavigable, offering shorter transit times compared to traditional routes. This raises major environmental risks to marine life, as well as the human population that relies on a healthy Arctic ecosystem for its livelihood.

“Our support to Nike and Ocean Conservancy is critical to the future of this already fragile region,” Harsh Saini, executive vice president of sustainability, and government and public affairs at Fung Group, said. “The severe impact of climate change on the Arctic ecosystem is apparent, as evidenced by the rapid reduction in sea ice. The possibility of increased shipping will have catastrophic effects on our ocean.”

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Apparel brands that have agreed to “not intentionally” dispatch ships through the Arctic include Bestseller, Columbia, Gap, H&M, Kering and PVH Corp., along with transportation companies CMA CGM, Evergreen, Hapag-Lloyd and Mediterranean Shipping Company.

Signers of the pledge will also continue to explore ways to reduce emissions from global shipping and reduce the shipping sector’s contribution to melting Arctic sea ice habitat. The signatories also support the development of precautionary Arctic shipping practices to enhance the environmental and human safety of current and potential future Arctic shipping.

In August, Fung Group announced its commitment to the Fashion Pact, a coalition of more than 30 global fashion and textile companies pledging to reduce the environmental impact of the fashion industry. The Fashion Pact focuses on stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.

Li & Fung said the objectives of Nike and Ocean Conservancy’s Arctic Shipping Pledge closely align with the Fashion Pact, as well as the company’s principles of pollution prevention and the implementation of environmental responsibility programs in its operations and supply chains.

Headquartered in Hong Kong, Li & Fung has a global network covering more than 50 production countries. It specializes in responsibly managing the supply chains of high-volume, time-sensitive goods for leading retailers and brands worldwide.