The fashion industry has engaged in and remains fully committed to enhancing sustainability and social responsibility within the apparel, accessories, and footwear industry’s supply chains, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) said in a statement published on Earth Day (Friday 22 April). 

“The thousands of brands and organisations we represent are committed to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG),” the statement says, “working pre-competitively to achieve the highest ethical and responsible standards across our global supply chain and production practices. We continue to transform our industry from the inside out to ensure we are meeting our climate targets and sustainability and governance goals in a responsible and productive manner.” 

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In what the AAFA calls an ‘Earth Day 2022 Statement from the Industry,’ it goes on to explain, that fashion brands and retailers have committed to advancing environmental, social, and governance goals over the past several years, and that through their efforts, companies have repeatedly demonstrated a shared commitment to working together to further responsible business practices and meet increasingly ambitious ESG targets. 

“To help the industry continue to build on its ESG progress and succeed in reaching 2030 and 2050 climate action and decarbonisation targets, we will continue to facilitate policy and innovation conversations, in alignment with the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action’s guidelines,” AAFA comments, “Additionally, we will conduct and share research from diverse perspectives of fashion stakeholders, businesses of varied scales, price points, and specialisations to identify gaps and opportunities for reducing barriers to progress.” 

AAFA says the industry shares the interest of advancing policies that protect the planet and its people and that integration of the industry’s holistic perspective and voice at the policy-making table is imperative to ensuring such approaches can be implemented.

It states: “These must be in alignment with global efforts, the organisation points out, and have appropriate, plausible, and transparent jurisdiction, use clear definitions that encapsulate the diversity of the industry, and, most importantly, be effective in moving us towards achieving our shared goals.”

Open dialogue and broad collaboration are crucial to this net-zero transition, the AAFA explains and will continue to engage stakeholders across the American fashion ecosystem, including brands, retailers, producers, worker rights’ groups, NGOs, academia, and global peer alliances to align, support, and guide these efforts. 

“While we are not alone in this effort, our industry must play a leading role in addressing the climate crisis. By uniting thousands of fashion brands and retailers around a common ambition, we are committed to advancing responsible business and meeting our environmental, social, and governance goals,” AAFA concludes. 

Last year, the AAFA shared its concerns on US apparel and footwear tax tariffs as well as the effects of the shipping crisis and rising inflation on the US apparel and textile industry