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September 29, 2022

Shein commits to reducing supply chain emissions

Chinese online fast fashion giant Shein is eyeing an overall emissions reduction across its entire value chain of 25% by 2030 it has announced in new targets.

By Hannah Abdulla

Shein has partnered with Intertek, a total quality assurance provider to measure its 2021 carbon footprint impact and calculate its Scope 3 baseline emissions and identify Science-Based Targets through jointly conducted interactive workshops.

Shein says embedding Science-Based Targets in sustainability management is crucial for the company’s efforts toward combating climate change and holding itself accountable for sustainability commitments.

Shein’s sustainability goals:

  • Scope 1, emissions generated from Shein operations, accountable for less than 0.05% of 2021 overall emissions: Reduce absolute emissions by 42% by 2030
  • Scope 2, emissions from energy purchased to power Shein-owned facilities, accountable for less than 0.5% of 2021 overall emissions: Purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) for 100% of electricity used in Shein operations by 2030
  • Scope 3, emissions generated from Shein’s entire supply chain, accountable for more than 99% of 2021 overall emissions: Reduce absolute emissions by 25% by 2030.

Shein’s carbon reduction efforts in Scope 3 will also be combined with transformative plans in both product manufacturing to accelerate the incorporation of recycled materials and supply chain transformation, focusing heavily on nearshoring and onshoring, which will work to dramatically reduce Shein’s reliance on airfreight.       

How Shein plans to go green     

Specifically, to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions, Shein will increase investments in energy-saving efforts across its operations, complemented by the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs). Given that Scope 3 generates the largest portion of Shein’s emissions, the company says it is critical Shein works closely with expert partners to collaborate on a transition to renewable energy sources and carbon reduction plans.

Additionally, Shein has announced US$7.6m in programmatic funding to Apparel Impact Institute (Aii), a nonprofit organisation dedicated to decarbonising and modernising the fashion industry supply chain, to build the roadmap for emissions reduction within Shein’s supply chain.

Shein’s contribution will go directly to two existing, proven Aii programs: Carbon Leadership, focused on carbon benchmarking, assessment and goal-setting, and Clean by Design, which helps textile production facilities reduce energy, water and chemistry use, while also reducing cost. Aii will design a strategy focused on implementing energy efficiency projects at over 500 of Shein’s partner facilities, generating an approximate 10% greenhouse gas emissions reduction per facility per year.

Lewis Perkins, president of Apparel Impact Institute, said: “Aii aims to reach as many suppliers as possible to decarbonise the fashion industry’s supply chain. We will be applying our proven programs and methodology to help Shein on its path towards bettering its supply chain.”

Shein has also begun working with Brookfield Renewable Partners, Brookfield’s leading global renewable power and decarbonisation business, to address GHG emissions in its supply chain through the transition to powering the operations of Shein’s supply chain partners with renewable energy. Brookfield Renewable is one of the world’s largest owners, operators and developers of renewable power, with approximately 23,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 75,000 MW of development pipeline that include wind, solar, energy storage, distributed generation, carbon capture and other energy transition asset classes.

Adam Whinston, global head of ESG at Shein, added: “Today we’re taking a significant step forward, announcing a new set of 2030 goals that will help us accomplish emissions reduction targets for our entire supply chain over the next seven years. Our partnerships with Brookfield and Aii further demonstrate our commitment to implementing long-term initiatives to empower suppliers and work to promote sustainable innovation focusing on reducing carbon emissions. This announcement further solidifies our commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives at a company level.” 

Earlier this year Shein launched Evolushein, a range featuring recycled polyester and described as an affordable option for those wishing to make a positive impact with their product choices.

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