PRESS RELEASE: While Hurricanes and Wildfires Devastate US, Fashion Companies Will Take Another Two Years to Even Set Climate Targets

September 19, 2017

Green and Consumer Groups Hoped for Actual Climate Commitments from the Fashion Sector During Climate Week, In Response Issue Fashion Industry Climate ‘Shopping List’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 19, 2017
CONTACT: Yasmina Dardari | | +1 407-922-8149 

New York, NY—As some of the top business leaders and fashion brands converge in New York City for Climate Week, Filthy Fashion, a newly-launched campaign from in partnership with consumer group SumofUs, takes aim at top fashion brands including Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Express, American Eagle Outfitters, Wrangler and Lee – calling on them to commit to immediate and strong climate reduction targets now and take responsibility for their devastating climate impacts.  

Over 118,000 people have signed onto a petition asking jean companies to clean up their ‘dirty denim’ and commit to sustainable, substantive environmental goals and immediately begin addressing their greenhouse gas emissions created by denim manufacturing. 

As Climate Week begins with climate announcements from top fashion brands, SumOfUs and have released a fashion industry climate ‘shopping list,’ to help spot real versus fake climate commitments. 


One key promise to watch for is emissions reductions throughout companies’ whole supply chains, not just at retail locations and head offices. 

Today, some of these leading apparel companies–including Levi’s, Gap, Guess and VF Corp. (Wrangler and Lee)–announced their intention to set climate targets in two years through the Science-Based Target (SBT) project. and SumofUs call on these companies to go further in the face of the growing climate crisis. Real climate action requires committing to significant climate goals now for their entire supply chain and a move to renewable energy, as Mars and Apple have. While a SBT can be a useful tool, unless coupled with immediate action, bold targets and commitments to renewables, a weak SBT can also provide PR cover for climate laggards.

According to reports from the Carbon Disclosure Project, denim and apparel companies ignore as much as 90% of the climate pollution they generate. Groups and SumOfUs  are calling on companies to account for their supply chain, whether they own their factories or use contract manufacturers abroad. 

“Hundreds of forest fires burn out of control on the Western side of our continent while hurricane after hurricane pummels the South and East and the fashion industry waits for someone else to address the climate crisis. Companies like Mars and Apple, which have each pledged a billion dollars for climate solutions, are responding. But every company must take action – it’s time for Levi’s, The Gap, Lee and Calvin Klein to lead,”  said Todd Paglia, Executive Director of “Manufacturing a single pair of denim jeans produces emissions equivalent to burning 44 pounds of coal. That is why, as part of our Filthy Fashion campaign, we created a ‘shopping list’ to help fact check commitments fashion brands make during Climate Week—warning these brands that PR-friendly but weak commitments will not cut it for the planet.” 

“The world is quite literally under water and on fire right now as flooding and wildfire disasters sweep the planet,” said Liz McDowell, Campaign Director at SumOfUs. “Lives are on the line. Fifteen years ago, it might have been enough for companies like Gap or Nike to promise to set short-term emissions reductions targets, but today it’s simply not enough. The urgency is too high. In the absence of leadership from the Trump administration, apparel companies need to take meaningful action today to reduce the devastating climate impacts of their production around the world. Promising to make promises two years down the road just doesn’t cut it. And industry giants like Calvin Klein, American Eagle Outfitters, Guess and Express haven’t even come clean about the environmental footprint behind the clothes they make.” 

For more information: 

According to one study, the fashion industry is responsible for a whopping 3.0-5.4% of all global climate emissions when the full supply chain is considered. Another rough analysis estimates that the global textile and apparel industry burned the equivalent of 291 billion pounds of coal in 2008 to produce more than 132 billion pounds of fabric—more coal than was mined last year in all of Pennsylvania and West Virginia combined. Coal is a primary power source used for the electrical grid in many of countries, such as China and Vietnam, where apparel companies contract the production of their products.

For more information, or for interview with a or SumOfUs spokesperson, please contact Yasmina Dardari at +1 407-922-8149 or by email at 

# # # is a nonprofit environmental organization working to create a world where respect for people and the environment comes first.

SumOfUs is a global consumer group that campaigns to hold big corporations accountable.