Q: Where did you get the data for this scorecard?
A: All data used in the 2023 Scorecard come from publicly available sources, such as corporate annual reports, websites, CDP reports, and press releases.
Q: Did you invite the companies to respond?
A: Stand.earth shared individual scorecard and assessment details with each named company prior to the publication of the 2023 Scorecard, with an invitation for them to provide feedback and disclose any additional public information not already captured during data collection.
Q: If a company scored highly on the Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard, does this make them a sustainable brand to buy?
A: If a brand scored highly in the 2023 Scorecard, it only shows that it has taken some steps to strengthen its climate ambition and decarbonise its supply chain. Even the brands with the highest scores fall short in some impact areas and have a long way to go. As stated in the report, to be considered a true leader brands must show leadership across all facets of sustainability, human rights and the environment, and progress in one single area does not infer leadership. Given that the Scorecard does not cover all of these aspects, Stand.earth does not recommend using it as a criterion for judging brand sustainability or influencing purchasing/investing decisions.
Q: How can a brand score highly on decarbonizing when its emissions are going up?
A: The Scorecard evaluates brands from various perspectives, such as climate commitment, engagement with suppliers, policy advocacy related to renewable energy, and environmental information transparency. Brands with high scores have shown good performance in most of the above-mentioned areas, which means that brands have the willingness and have started to take action to reduce GHG emissions. However, it will take years to significantly reduce emissions in the entire value chain. That is why Stand.earth urges the fashion sector to take effective measures as soon as possible.
Q: Why shouldn’t brands transition coal-fired boilers to biomass as an interim step?
A: From a carbon emissions perspective, burning textile waste, cotton waste, and biomass in boilers, or transitioning coal boilers to burn gas (another fossil fuel), is not equivalent to using renewable energy. The goal of reducing the carbon footprint of the fashion industry will not be achieved if coal is simply replaced by another carbon-intensive source of energy. Biomass replacements for coal-fired boilers also raise additional human rights and environmental justice concerns. “By-product” sources of biomass, such as rice husks, can impact local communities by reducing their access to this traditional energy source. Developing the biomass into a co-product or product through increased demand from brands may also affect a community’s access to food and land.
Q: Do brands get credit for using carbon offsets to reduce their emissions?
A: Brands are graded on the strength of their absolute emissions reduction plans. High quality carbon offsets should only be employed to reach net zero targets beyond an absolute emissions reduction.
Q: Do brands get credit for using more recycled polyester/ phasing out virgin polyester?
A: Brands are graded on their progress phasing out fossil fuel derived fabrics entirely, including both virgin and recycled polyester. Recycled polyester has a lower emissions footprint than virgin polyester, but is not a sustainable solution. Currently, textile-to-textile recycling is in its very early stages; it is estimated that less than 0.5% of textile feedstocks come from recycled fibres. As such, recycled polyester used by major brands comes almost exclusively from recycled plastic (rPET) from non-textile recycling streams. Taking rPET out of the plastic recycling loop and turning it into polyester fabric which is ultimately destined to be thrown away is not recycling – it’s just a pitstop on the way to the dump or incinerator. Recycled polyester also still perpetuates fossil fuels, sheds microfibres and leaches chemicals into the environment.