Industry Sees Biodiversity as a High-Priority Risk: Report

Textile Exchange’s inaugural Biodiversity Insights Report aims to mobilize the industry towards becoming nature positive by 2030.

A new report from global non-profit Textile Exchange has found that 51% of fashion and textile companies recognize biodiversity loss as a priority risk, and 8% already have an explicit biodiversity strategy in place. As biodiversity fast becomes a focus area for the industry, the newly released Biodiversity Insights Report aims to accelerate action by analyzing data shared by 157 companies including Burton, H&M, Fjällräven and Norrøna amongst others.

One million of the planet’s eight million species are now threatened with extinction, and earlier this year, a landmark joint report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted the integral role of biodiversity in mitigating climate change.

Now, within the context of this year’s COP26 UN Climate Change Conference, Textile Exchange is identifying the key areas where fashion and textile companies are making progress to reduce their impacts on biodiversity and outlining opportunities where more work can be done. In turn, the organization aims to mobilize the industry towards becoming nature positive by 2030 in line with its Climate+ goal to be the driving force behind a 45% reduction in CO2 emissions from textile fiber and material production by the same year.

Creating an Industry Biodiversity Baseline

“The role of this report, and the Biodiversity Benchmark itself, is twofold: they help companies make the link between biodiversity and the work that they are already doing with their materials strategies, and they use reporting and disclosure as a mechanism for mobilization and getting concrete biodiversity strategies in place,” shares Liesl Truscott, Head of Corporate Benchmarking at Textile Exchange.

The Biodiversity Insights Report uses data submitted through the Textile Exchange Biodiversity Benchmark to provide a baseline that tracks the level of engagement and effort that companies are putting into monitoring and minimizing their impact on the natural world. It aims to help companies of all sizes formulate where they should be heading and to articulate what best practice looks like today.

The report urges brands to build on their existing materials strategies, coupling fiber standards (currently prioritized by 80% of brands) and regenerative, restorative approaches (used by 32%) with initiatives that take their biodiversity benefits beyond sourcing efforts to collaborative landscape-level action.

The Biodiversity Benchmark was developed by Textile Exchange in partnership with The Biodiversity Consultancy, Conservation International and a co-led multi-stakeholder advisory group of 60+ organizations, experts, companies and industry specialists, including the Science Based Targets Network, Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership and CDP.

Urgent call to reverse nature-climate crisis now

Clare Shine, CEO of University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership believes that when it comes to protecting biodiversity, there’s not a moment to lose:

“We must act urgently to reverse the nature-climate crisis by 2030. The global fashion sector is uniquely positioned to lead and inspire collective imagination on how we view and value nature. This transformation must start now and mobilize people and resources along the design, supply and retail chain.”

Textile Exchange is also collaborating closely with The Fashion Pact, a global CEO-led coalition across the fashion and textile industry (ready-to-wear, sport, lifestyle, and luxury), on the Biodiversity Benchmark. The Fashion Pact leverages the power of the collective in order to drive action, building upon and going beyond existing initiatives in order to accelerate positive impact in three areas: stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans.

The themes of the Biodiversity Insights Report will be further examined in the upcoming Textile Sustainability Conference 2021, which will be hosted in Dublin, Ireland from November 15-19, 2021.


About Textile Exchange

Textile Exchange is a global nonprofit that creates leaders in the sustainable fiber and materials industry. The organization manages and promotes a suite of six leading industry standards, as well as collects and publishes critical industry data and insights that enable brands and retailers to measure, manage and track their use of preferred fiber and materials.


Photos: Gregoire Dubois


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