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En Mode Climat: changing the laws so that the fashion sector reduces its impact

Article published on December 16, 2022

En Mode Climat is a French association bringing together more than 580+ major players in the textile industry. Picture has been an active member for several months, it’s time to finally tell you about it.

The theory behind En Mode Climat is that the textile sector can only reduce its impact on the climate and biodiversity if the law obliges all companies to change their practices. The progression of committed brands does not in any way counteract the acceleration of fast-fashion, or even ultra-fast-fashion. An example?

  • SHEIN was established in 2008 and now makes over 10 billion turnover per year.
  • PATAGONIA was founded in 1973 and makes approximately 1 billion turnover per year.

This finding reflects a sad reality: there is an economic advantage to producing irresponsibly. This is the famous “vice premium” denounced in particular by the Loom brand, founding member of En Mode Climat. Yet good practices are increasing, right? Recycled and organic materials, certifications, reusable packaging, new recycling technologies, etc.?

That’s true, but it’s not enough. All these improvements are at the product level, they say nothing about the business model of the companies nor the total consumption. The climate, biodiversity and degraded ecosystems do not care about a relative reduction in the impact per product. What is crucial is to reduce in absolute value.

However, the dynamics of the textile industry are the exact opposite:

  • Between 2000 and 2015: +100% volume of clothing sales worldwide while the world population increased by +21% over the same period. Source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
  • Over the same period: -20% product usage. Sad: we have more and more clothes but use them less and less!
  • 2.8 billion TLC items (textiles, linens, shoes) placed on the French market each year. We are 67 million French people, then we subtract the unsold items… this gives 35 pieces purchased per French person per year, on average, or double the level of the 90s, the pre-fast fashion period. Source: Refashion.
Illustration: Jeanne Baverey

Thus, if this business-as-usual continues, emissions from the textile industry will increase by 49% by 2030 to reach 5 billion TCO2e, the equivalent of the annual emissions of the USA (Quantis, 2021.) A quick reminder: global greenhouse gas emissions must decrease by -43% by 2030 to keep the rise in temperature below +1.5°C.

So, if the textile industry makes its little + 49% while humanity needs -43%… there is a problem.

In short, En Mode Climat exists to flip the table and use the regulatory framework for good, to force brands to do less and do better. Penalize the worst practices and encourage the virtuous ones. We cannot expect every company in the textile sector to make its transformation if the laws don’t expect it of them.

Thus, with 580+ members, we are using our power of influence to push for regulations that will force all players in our sector, including us, to do better.

What is our priority impact levers?

We, clothing brands, must make sure to reduce the total volume of clothing put on the market, relocate production where the energy is less carbon-intensive, and promote the reuse of used clothing.

Be careful, En Mode Climat does not neglect that part of the solution lies in increasing the share of low-carbon energies and in more energy efficiency. But these two levers must be complemented by lower production volumes.

What is the latest news from En Mode Climat, the hot topics of the moment?

Click here to see the progress of our advocacy (in french). Without going into too much detail here, we are working on future legislation and we are proposing transformative measures to the government. Some regulatory mechanisms already exist (EPR sector) and others are about to arrive (environmental labeling) but often they lack ambition and will not lead to the reduction of production and consumption volumes.

We are therefore making proposals to go further.

Conditions of membership? What are the prerequisites for joining?

Any company in the textile sector can join the En Mode Climat movement provided that they adhere to the principles of this charter.

We do not expect companies to be all “flawless” in order to be a member. It is the whole system that must move, not just individuals. It is exactly the same debate with individual versus systematic-level action, both are essential. Click here for the membership form.

Do you want to get involved with us?

  • To join the Financing group, write to paul@omaj.fr
  • To join the Communication group, write to marie@wedressfair.fr
  • To join the Popularization group, write to hubert@lavieestbelt.fr
  • To join the Recruitment group, write to florian.palluel@picture-organic-clothing.com

Do you want to support the association? This way

Thanks!