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The global apparel and textile industry, which generates over $1.5 trillion in annual revenue and used 109 million tons of fibers in 2020, is actively working to be part of the solution to the climate crisis. With the support of over 50 companies and organizations, it is pleased to present the governments at COP26 with a practical solution to achieve its industry’s climate goals: trade policy.

By mitigating or narrowing price premiums, trade mechanisms can be leveraged to incentivize the increased adoption, production, and consumption of environmentally preferred materials. This important but often overlooked policy lever can make these fibers more favorable than, or at least equal to, their conventional counterparts.

Using trade policy to incentivize better practice in materials sourcing can work alongside regulations and penalties to promote positive action instead. It has the potential to level the playing field financially for companies committed to sourcing environmentally preferred materials, without negatively impacting their supply chain or the farmers who grow the fibers.

This request builds on the Preferential Tariff Project initiated by Textile Exchange in 2018, which explored incentives such as tax credits and/or suspension or duty reductions of an imported component or finished, certified product.

Environmentally preferred materials should be defined as those from certified, verified sources that can be traced from raw material to finished product, and that are connected to data-driven environmental impact reduction. Organic cotton typically has a lower carbon footprint than conventional cotton, for example, as is the case with recycled polyester when compared to virgin polyester.

Global fiber production has almost doubled in the last 20 years from 58 million tons in 2000 to 109 million tons in 2020. While it is not yet clear how the pandemic and other factors will impact future development, production is expected to increase by another 34 percent to 146 million tons in 2030 if the sector builds back to business as usual. With this continued growth, it will be increasingly difficult for the industry to meet science-based targets for climate and nature.

This request provides governments with a tangible action to remove a key barrier to scaling environmentally preferred materials. Since nearly all major fashion producing and consuming countries have signed the Paris Agreement, it is addressed to every government present at COP26

With the recognition that appropriate policy initiatives may differ by jurisdiction, in this critical moment at COP26, the apparel and textile industry urge policymakers to consider working together to develop thoughtful trade policy mechanisms to incentivize the use of environmentally preferred materials.

In turn, this would enable achievement of Textile Exchange’s industry goal of a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the pre-spinning phase of textile fiber and material production by 2030, in line with the Paris Agreement.

Supporting Companies: AEO Arvind Limited Bolt Threads Capri Holdings Chloé Columbia Sportswear dhb Ecofashion Corp Eileen Fisher Everybody & Everyone Föhn GAP Inc G-Star Raw Guess H&M House of Baukjen Hunter Kering Lenzing Mantis World Mara Hoffman Nanushka Neiman Marcus Group Supporting Companies: Patagonia Piping Hot Australia Pty Ltd Primark Princess Polly Ralph Lauren Rapha Racing Ltd re:newcell Reformation Salomon S.A.S Stella McCartney Superdry Sympatex Tapestry (Coach, Kate Spade, Stuart Weitzman) Tchibo GmbH Tentree Textil Santanderina S.A The Renewal Workshop The Schneider Group VF Corp WiggleCRC Supporting Organizations: Accelerating Circularity Apparel Impact Institute British Fashion Council Fashion for Good Fashion Revolution Global Fashion Agenda rén collective Responsible Business Coalition Sustain Chain Sustainable Apparel Coalition United States Fashion Industry A