BSI published its fourth annual Net Zero barometer, based on a survey of over 1,000 senior decision-makers from UK businesses of all sizes and across all sectors, including apparel.

The report found that a majority (83%) of businesses are committed to achieving the UK’s legally binding net zero emissions target. Despite this commitment, 92% of respondents indicated that barriers remain, and a stubborn fifth remain wholly uncommitted to achieving net zero by 2050.

BSI believes this suggested minimal progress since BSI’s first barometer in 2021, when 18% of businesses had not made a commitment to net zero.

The research highlighted that businesses feel both their organisations and industries have a responsibility to help the country achieve net zero emissions. However, they also emphasised the need for increased government support to manage the costs of this transition.

Notably, 96% of respondents are urging the next government to provide more support, including financial incentives, to facilitate this effort.

Political uncertainty was identified as another key challenge, with 38% of respondents stating that their ability to decarbonise was hampered by uncertainty over the government’s green commitments. Additionally, 35% expressed concerns about the uncertainty surrounding future government actions.

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According to the report, a significant 92% of respondents want political parties to show a strong pre-election commitment to the UK’s net zero goals through targeted policy measures.

Key figures from the report

  • 51% of retail businesses cited cost as a barrier to net zero action.
  • 36% of retail businesses reported a lack of available financing to invest in green technology.
  • 33% found it difficult to source suppliers with net zero credentials.
  • 66% of businesses have made progress on emissions reduction measures within their organisations.
  • 59% have made progress within their organisations on emissions reductions.

Apparel industry leans into ‘net zero’ conversations

Credit: GlobalData

Apparel company filings data shared by GlobalData indicated that mentions of ‘net zero’ increased sixfold between 2019 and 2020, before peaking in 2023 with 844 mentions.

Other keywords that made a part of this conversation were ’emissions’, followed by ‘climate’ which were used 299 and 221 times respectively in 2023.

Apparel companies are increasingly leaning towards meeting net-zero carbon emissions targets. Recently in May, Levi Strauss received approval from the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) on its net zero targets for 2050. Jeffrey Hogue, LS&Co.’s chief sustainability officer, said the official validation by SBTi gives it a clear target to work toward across Levi Strauss’ operations.

To achieve net-zero carbon emissions, apparel companies need to consider the emissions generated throughout the product lifecycle. SBTi plays a crucial role in this regard, helping companies set credible emissions reduction targets. It provides companies with a clearly-defined path to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

SBTi shared that more than 5,000 businesses around the world are already working with the organisation.