Renewable energy advocacy
Brand scores in this area
Unlocking renewable energy through advocacy must centre workers and communities
This category assesses fashion sector engagement in targeted advocacy with key decision-makers to phase out fossil fuels and push for renewable energy. The aim is to identify corporate leaders promoting a just energy transition on an international stage.
Advocacy is an important way for companies to contribute toward shifting policy frameworks and increasing the availability of clean power outside of their direct operations. Advocacy on renewable energy policy from international brands has already shown a potential to support and accelerate a clean energy transition in major manufacturing centres. For example, advocacy from the international garment sector and other companies has supported the development of direct power purchase agreement (DPPA) mechanisms in Vietnam. These mechanisms are now in the pilot stage and will open up new opportunities for companies to invest in and access renewable energy.
The opportunity is clear – when companies across one or multiple sectors work together, they can help unlock and catalyse a broader shift in energy policy. Brands should push for a just energy transition which, in accordance with international principles, centres workers and communities by adopting inclusive processes to identify risks and opportunities at the local level. Advocacy is a necessary step to achieving the broader goal of cutting emissions. Companies have a responsibility to ensure that renewable energy is rapidly scaled up within their supply chains and that this is done in a just and equitable way.
High-impact renewable energy advocacy is growing in frequency, but with fewer key players. In this section, H&M and REI were both awarded A+ for their advocacy, with H&M playing the most active role in international renewable energy advocacy. The average grade for this category was D, however, 12 of the brands did not engage in any discernible renewable energy advocacy in the past 18 months. These included: American Eagle Outfitters, Primark, Target, Fast Retailing, Chanel, ALDO, SHEIN, MEC, Richemont, Armani, LVMH, and Boohoo.
Highlights in the last 18 months included a joint statement of mutual aspiration supporting renewable energy procurement in Indonesia.
This statement, signed by Amazon, VF Corporation, Nike, New Balance, H&M, Columbia, and REI, and organised by the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator, advocated for the Indonesian government to accelerate the energy transition and achieve 50% renewable power by 2045. Similar letters were issued supporting renewable development in countries including the Philippines, signed by Amazon, lululemon, Ralph Lauren, and REI; Vietnam, signed by Allbirds, Amer Sports brands Arc’teryx and Salomon, H&M, New Balance, On Running, REI; and Mexico, signed by New Balance and PUMA. H&M and adidas both supported a position paper on renewable energy in Cambodia organised by EuroCham.
This range of international renewable energy advocacy reflects good engagement from a number of brands and marks an overall increase in advocacy compared to the 2021 Scorecard period. H&M in particular stood out for its supply chain advocacy, additionally engaging in dialogue between the Swedish and Bangladesh governments to promote a sustainable garment industry through the development of renewable energy.
Several brands, particularly Eileen Fisher, Levi’s, and VF Corporation, were publicly active in advocating for clean energy investment in the United States at the federal and state levels, and supporting the Inflation Reduction Act. VF Corporation and Levi’s signed onto calls for federal investment in clean energy supply, while Eileen Fisher signed a letter in support of rapid climate action in Michigan.
High-impact advocacy has increased but brand engagement still lacking
Overall, while more examples of high-impact advocacy were found in the last 18 months than in the period preceding the 2021 Scorecard, the number of brands engaging with those opportunities appears to have reduced. The average grade achieved by companies dropped to D from D+ in 2021. The majority of high value advocacy was undertaken by the same few companies, most notably: H&M (A+), REI (A+), and New Balance (A), followed by Levi’s, VF Corporation, Ralph Lauren, Gap Inc., and Amazon (B), and Kering, Eileen Fisher, and Patagonia (C).
There is still a significant gap between the fashion sector’s stated public climate ambition and its willingness to advocate for shifts in policy frameworks that would increase the availability of clean power. The industry needs to act quickly and collaboratively – between brands, with suppliers internationally, and with local communities – to advance the rapid and just energy transition required. Without meaningful collaboration and effective advocacy, fashion brands will continue to face significant barriers to scaling the deployment of renewable energy in their supply chains.
- “Nike and H&M to Vietnam: More Renewables, Please,” December 29, 2020, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/Nike-and-H-M-to-Vietnam-More-renewables-please.
- “Vietnam’s Renewable Energy Policies and Opportunities for the Private Sector,” May 19, 2022, https://www.nbr.org/publication/vietnams-renewable-energy-policies-and-opportunities-for-the-private-sector/.
- “Just Transitions,”, https://www.ihrb.org/focus-areas/just-transitions/.
- “Sweden Keen to Partner with Bangladesh Apparel Sector in Renewable Energy to Promote Sustainable Fashion Platform: Reports,” December 15, 2022, https://apparelresources.com/business-news/sustainability/sweden-keen-to-partner-with-bangladesh-apparel-sector-in-renewable-energy-to-promote-sustainable-fashion-platform-reports/.
- “Business Support Statement for the Inflation Reduction Act,”, https://www.ceres.org/sites/default/files/Business%20Support%20Statement%20for%20the%20Inflation%20Reduction%20Act%20(1).pdf.
- “Business Support for Urgently Needed Federal Clean Energy Investments,” April 26, 2022, https://www.ceres.org/sites/default/files/Business%20Support%20for%20Urgent%20Federal%20Investments%20in%20U.S.%20Clean%20Energy%20Manufacturing%20and%20Deployment%20for%20Energy%20Security%20and%20Affordability.pdf; “Business Leaders to Make Urgent Call for Federal Clean Energy Investments at LEAD on Climate 2022,” May 6, 2022, https://www.ceres.org/news-center/press-releases/business-leaders-make-urgent-call-federal-clean-energy-investments-lead.
- “Business Letter of Support for Michigan Climate Action,” 2022, https://ceres.my.salesforce.com/sfc/p/#A0000000ZqYY/a/5c0000005ygQ/2AejFo.fF6U0LmnfmGQTlsY4FSjY.qMRGWkLAAdk6FE.