We are in the midst of a climate emergency.

This summer, like all that preceded it, has really shown us how the world is already changing with its many extreme weather events.

At House of Baukjen we made a commitment to be a responsible business years ago, and everything we’ve witnessed recently has made us even more determined than ever. For that reason, we are sharing our thoughts on why urgent action is needed and how the fashion industry can do its part.

Findings from the IPCC report show the urgency of Climate Action
You’ve probably seen the latest IPCC report discussed in the news a few weeks ago. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brings together a number of scientists and publishes regular reports on climate change. These are used by policymakers to guide discussions and governmental policy. The document released in August 2021 is by far the most comprehensive and concerning of all reports.

If you’re struggling to remember what they released in the latest report, we’ve put together a small reminder.

Image source: IPCC AR6 Working Group I report

Here are the main findings of the 2021 IPCC report:

The last decade was warmer than any recorded period in 125 thousand years, with atmospheric CO2 levels at a 2 million-year peak. It is beyond doubt that this level of warming and concentration of CO2 has been caused by human activity

Scientists can now link specific weather events to human-caused climate change and can confidently predict how different areas of the globe will be affected in coming decades. You can browse this world registry of severe weather events and how they relate to climate change, or check out the impact of rising sea levels in this map.

Scientists have calculated a narrower range of expected temperature warming, estimated between +2.5ºC and +4ºC. This means that without drastic action to curb carbon dioxide emissions, the planet will see temperatures rise to at least +2.5ºC in comparison to pre-industrial levels. We're currently on track to cause temperatures to rise to +2ºC before 2040

We’ll be rewarded for reaching net zero emissions, as warming will slow down and temperatures will stabilise within a few decades. If we take serious global action, we can see positive changes in our planet before the end of the century, though some changes (such as sea level rise) are thought to be irreversible.

Governments, policy makers and companies of all sizes have made pledges to reduce their environmental impact. Unfortunately, the current pledges aren’t enough. This is due to that not enough governments and companies have pledged to take action and because there’s a mismatch between pledges and action.

Global mean temperature increase by 2100
As a company, House of Baukjen is committed to lowering environmental footprint and we’re actively working with partners and the industry collectives that we’re part of to support them in doing the same. We openly share our work and knowledge, and aim to continuously improve and do better while being of support to those who want to join our path.

There are plenty of people and companies committed to meaningful action. Every year more of us are undertaking meaningful steps and together we’re putting pressure on governments and markets to do more.

There are many initiatives tracking commitments that companies make as part of their Environmental and Social Governance. These are usually voluntary and the pace of adoption is speeding up which is very positive. For example, in 2020 over 9,600 companies calculated their carbon equivalent emissions and reported their findings to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The data provided is reviewed by the CDP team for accuracy and these companies represent over 50% of global market capitalization. This year House of Baukjen completed its first CDP report for the year of 2020, and we’ll continue doing so annually.

Over 1,700 companies across various industries have also pledged to reduce emissions in line with the Science Based Targets initiative. More than 700 companies, including House of Baukjen, are working to meet the Paris Agreement target to keep global warming to a maximum of +1.5ºC, with more signing the pledge every year.

As you can see, there are plenty companies across the world willing to take action and show that businesses can and are taking responsibility for their environmental impact.

How the Fashion Industry can play its part in response to the Climate Emergency
In recent years, the Fashion Industry has come under scrutiny as it remained largely unregulated whilst other industries faced more stringent government-imposed legislations. Many governments have now adopted policies that are specific to the fashion and textile industries to ensure that levels of pollution are kept under control and workers’ health and safety are safeguarded.

Despite such measures, much of what is being produced worldwide still escapes the regulations established by western governments. Fashion is a global industry with very complex supply chains and companies don’t always have transparency on how and where their clothes are produced. This level of complexity and opacity make it hard to make categorical statements about the production of clothing, and harder still to calculate environmental impact.

House of Baukjen has been taking steps to improve the transparency of our supply chains and produce our clothing in an eco-friendly manner for several years and we’re proud of what we have achieved though we have more to do. As we publish this, over 60% of our supply chains have been mapped out and 85% of our collection is made of natural fibers of responsible sources.

We are now giving far greater insights to our customers through our Baukjen Sustainability Index on our website product pages which aims to communicate the environmental and social impact of garments. It’s a simple way to evaluate how each product performs in terms of Carbon Emissions, Water Use, Resource Depletion, Eutrophication, Use of Chemicals, Traceability and People’s Wellbeing – you can read more here.
Campaigning for change at scale
We’re huge believers in the power of collective action.

As well as doing our part, we are working with our suppliers to improve their environmental practices and have partnered with The Fashion Pact and Sustainable Apparel Coalition to reduce impact industry-wide.

We also aim to provide as much information as possible to our customers so that they can adopt best practices in caring for garments. At the end of a garment’s life, we provide alternatives to landfill so that clothes and materials can be kept in use for as long as possible as per circular economy principles. We believe companies have a larger responsibility towards the world than individuals. That’s why at House of Baukjen we have been in communication with government officials and are publicly supporting the creation of carbon taxes and stricter environmental laws. We believe that these are important tools that will drive the rapid change required to face the challenges at hand.

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