Textiles industry neglecting E and S of ESG, new research finds
Financial think tank calls on the textiles industry and investors to take greater responsibility for environmental and social issues
LONDON, 12 January 2023: Textile industry shareholder meetings are too focused on governance, to the exclusion of environmental and social proposals, according to new research by financial think tank Planet Tracker, Under Dressed.
Of the 1,198 ESG proposals submitted to the annual shareholder meetings of retailers in the Planet Tracker universe since 2015, 87% were on governance issues whilst social and environmental proposals accounted for just 11% and 2% respectively.
The research has found that key industry issues, such as fibre mix are not raised in shareholder meetings. Investigations into the data found no proposals which included key terms such as fibre, biodiversity, deforestation and synthetic, to name a few, suggesting that these crucial topics are being neglected.
Furthermore, the report found that the small number of shareholder proposals on textiles sustainability issues that have been advanced over the past few years, have all been voted down
The report concludes that the textiles industry needs to make significant changes to move to a sustainable model and calls on investors to promote corporate focus on two priority areas:
- Fibre mix – Moving the industry towards a more circular fibre mix rather than synthetic fibres based on fossil fuels which are heavily relied on by the industry
- Supply chain investment – Much of the environmental damage associated with textiles occurs in the “hidden” supply chain. Fashion brands must work with suppliers to lessen environmental impact
Richard Wielechowski, the Head of the Textiles Programme at Planet Tracker comments, “It’s clear that the textiles industry needs significant operational changes and investment to move it towards a sustainable environmental footprint. Investors can play a crucial role by pressuring corporates to provide specific details about how they are dealing with key issues such as supply chain and fibre mix.
“Bringing votes to shareholder meetings is an important way for investors, and the rest of society, to help shape the way that the industry approaches key environmental and social proposals and hold them to account on results”.
Under-dressed: Investors need to up their engagement on textiles can be downloaded in full here.
ABOUT PLANET TRACKER
Planet Tracker is a non-profit financial think tank producing analytics and reports to align capital markets with planetary boundaries. Our mission is to create significant and irreversible transformation of global financial activities by 2030. By informing, enabling and mobilising the transformative power of capital markets we aim to deliver a financial system that is fully aligned with a net-zero, nature-positive economy. Planet Tracker proactively engages with financial institutions to drive change in their investment strategies. We ensure they know exactly what risk is built into their investments and identify opportunities from funding the systems transformations we advocate.
ABOUT TEXTILES TRACKER
Textiles Tracker investigates the impact that financial institutions have in funding publicly listed companies across the Textiles, Apparel & Clothing sector. Fast Fashion has created cheap and abundant clothing globally, but the natural capital cost has been high, with toxic production practices, degradation of natural resources, massive and growing waste as well as labour injustice. By providing information and analysis on these problems, placing a value on them and quantifying the negative impact on profits and investor returns, Textiles Tracker will support and stimulate a transition to greater sustainability in the industry. Textiles Tracker identifies the nodes in the textiles supply chain that are creating the greatest damage, analyses their financial value, provides transparency of ownership and, through owners and investors, pressures for change in industry practices.