Outdoor clothing brands need to stop making clothes using coal

February 4, 2021

Eco-conscious consumers love The North Face, Lululemon & Columbia. So why do these major fashion brands get away with using coal to power their factories?

There’s no denying it: Coal is one of the biggest sources of climate pollution. This fossil fuel causes 800,000 premature deaths globally per year, and millions more long and short term illnesses. Yet, the very clothes we put on our backs are still made with coal.

At Stand.earth we’re making sure clothing brands prioritize kicking coal out of our clothing. And where better to start than with outdoor companies The North Face, Lululemon and Columbia – who are already claiming to be industry leaders in sustainability. (I mean, climate catastrophe is kind of a threat to outdoor activities, no?)

But we’re running out of time, so we’re asking them to take their climate action up a notch: Commit to go 100% coal free by 2030 (especially in their supply chains).

Brands need to hear from eco-conscious consumers like you that making dirty clothes from deadly coal is a bad idea. Will you add your name to our petition urging The North Face, Columbia, and Lululemon to commit to a coal free by 2030 pledge?

Taking steps on sustainability

  • The North Face has taken early steps to adopt renewable energy in factories but needs to rapidly scale it up. The outdoor brand said it prioritizes cutting factory pollution first, but it needs to move away from a reliance on false solutions like offsets, that do nothing to kick the coal habit. The majority of these three companies’ emissions are generated in their supply chains by manufacturing their products in countries like Vietnam, China, and India where coal use is heavy and still expanding. Unlike some brands, The North Face, Lululemon, and Columbia have announced goals to clean up their supply chain pollution by working with factories and suppliers, but have they really followed through?
  • Despite setting climate targets, Lululemon is making yoga pants to accompany our mindful habits with dirty coal-powered electricity in Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. Where are the renewable yoga pants for the climate emergency? If Apple can make iPhones with renewable energy, Lululemon should be able to make yoga pants without burning coal.
  • Columbia lags far behind in transitioning away from coal, and has yet to set targets to reduce its climate pollution or transition to renewables, despite the fact that the vast majority of its clothes are made in countries like Vietnam, China, Indonesia, and India, where coal power is prevalent and rapidly rising.

From coal power to renewables

While it’s good to see these brands taking responsibility for their supply chains, let’s be clear that in order to cut pollution and reduce their climate impact, they cannot rely on offsets, intensity-based targets, or other false solutions. Considering that a large portion of their manufacturers use coal-powered electricity, phasing out this dirty fossil fuel is the only true solution to cutting climate pollution.

2020 already planted the seed for a reset, but in 2021 we will shift major fashion corporations from deadly coal to renewables. Our fashion campaign is the only one of its kind and we are the driving force pressuring the biggest fashion companies to be bold for the climate. Together, the Stand community has successfully pushed companies like Levi’s and American Eagle Outfitters to take climate action. So, thank you for being part of this team, and standing up for the environment.

These activewear companies must be leaders in the fight against climate change by committing to ridding their supply chains of coal by 2030.

Sign our petition asking one of these beloved outdoor clothing brands to be the first to make a coal free pledge by 2030.

Because our winters can’t wait around for fashion brands to get serious on climate change.