Take Action on Biodiversity With New Tool

Created in partnership with Conservation International and The Biodiversity Consultancy, with support from corporate partner Sappi, the Biodiversity Benchmark provides a roadmap for companies to understand their impacts on nature and to deliver positive outcomes.

Textile Exchange’s Corporate Fiber and Materials Benchmark (CFMB) program is launching a new tool to help the fashion and textile industry take urgent action on biodiversity. The Biodiversity Benchmark, developed in partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy, Conservation International and kindly supported by Sappi, will enable companies to understand their impacts and dependencies on nature, chart a pathway to delivering positive biodiversity outcomes, and benchmark their progress.

Biodiversity is a Global Priority

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, forest fires, and increasing evidence of continued dramatic species loss, the importance of biodiversity has never been so clear. At the beginning of 2020, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report named biodiversity loss as one of the top five risks facing society.

The CFMB has tracked corporate fiber and materials sourcing practices since its launch five years ago, mobilizing the fashion and textile industry to accelerate the uptake of preferred materials such as organic cotton, recycled polyester, and preferred manmade cellulosics. The program is the largest peer-to-peer benchmarking exercise in the sector, with around 200 participating brands and retailers, including Gucci, H&M Group, Norrøna, Patagonia, Tchibo and The North Face. In 2020, the CFMB is open to suppliers and manufacturers for the first time, and over 20 leading textile companies – including Birla Cellulose, Part of the Aditya Birla Group, Lenzing, The Schneider Group, Sulochana and World Textile Sourcing (WTS) – are stepping up to take part.

“Participating companies are already making significant headway in identifying their portfolio of materials, the sustainability programs they are investing in, targets for uptake and improvement, and calculating their volumetric uptake of preferred fibers and materials in use,” said Liesl Truscott, Director of European & Materials Strategy, Textile Exchange.

“The new Biodiversity Benchmark can help take them to the next stage, from decarbonizing their materials to embedding positive biodiversity outcomes in their strategies.”

Benefits That Go Beyond Plants and Animals

The CFMB’s inclusion of biodiversity comes as 77 political global leaders committed to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 at the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity in September, and over one thousand companies signed up to the Business for Nature Coalition.

Textile Exchange CEO, La Rhea Pepper, commented:

“As an organic cotton farmer, biodiversity is at the heart of everything for me. It provides benefits that address climate change, such as carbon sequestration, regulation of local climate air quality, and moderates extreme natural events. Additionally, biodiversity plays a key role in other benefits such as pollination, erosion prevention, waste-water treatment, biological control of pests and disease, and preventing species extinction. Our sector can do so much that is nature-positive, and I look forward to seeing the first benchmark results.”

The Biodiversity Benchmark was co-created by Textile Exchange with The Biodiversity Consultancy, technical and policy specialists in biodiversity and ecosystem services, and Conservation International, a global nonprofit working to protect nature. Generous support was also provided by biobased materials provider Sappi, as a corporate partner.

The Biodiversity Consultancy’s Chief Executive, Dr Helen Temple, said:

“The fashion and textile industry now has an opportunity to establish a leadership position in how it tackles biodiversity and nature loss. Nature is in the spotlight more than ever before and understanding where and how companies impact on nature – and what they can do about it – has become increasingly important. Both in terms of operational decisions, and in the pursuit of the systemic, transformational shifts we need to drive nature-positive change.”

Industry Support for the Benchmark

The Biodiversity Benchmark was developed with the support of a multi-stakeholder advisory group, involving over 30 biodiversity experts, NGOs and representatives from across the fashion and textile industry.

Erin Billman, Executive Director of the Science Based Targets Network, commented:

“Since the nature and climate crises are deeply intertwined, we must tackle both simultaneously[…] For companies, tackling nature loss alongside reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the most efficient approach to reducing both nature and climate-related risk. We need to maximize carbon sequestration as well as help stabilize nature which is the source of the food, fiber and fuel we all depend on.”

For more information on the Biodiversity Benchmark, and to learn how you can get involved, visit the Textile Exchange‘s website.


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