With the COP26 summit in the headlines ever since it kicked off on the 31st of October, there are many questions that individuals and brands may have in regards to the importance of the event and how the outcomes could go on to effect the wider fashion industry in the future.
Due to the precedence of the COP26 summit, it is useful to understand the vastness of it. As climate change and carbon footprint become ever increasing concerns within society, the COP26 summit provides a space for environmental issues to be brought up from all around the world, and some believe the last time we can make effective changes.
We hope to delve into the signigficance of the areas that COP26 Glasgow will have an effect on within the industry below – so continue reading to find out more!
COP26 summit: the basics
COP26 stands for the United Nations 26th ‘Conference of the Parties.’ This is an annual event that has been going on for almost 3 decades where 200 countries can gather together to discuss pressing environmental concerns and ways to tackle these in the upcoming years. COP26 is being run by the UK in 2021 with the summit being held in Glasgow, with partners in Italy.
After last years COP was disrupted due to Covid-19, this year world leaders (alongside negotiators/journalists/businesses etc.) gather in Glasgow between the 31st of October to the 12th of November in order to discuss the options for battling climate change and hopefully agreeing to certain efforts in order to reduce global warming.
Many people believe that this COP is the last chance that we have to make real changes before it is too late to reverse them.
How have past COP’s influenced the discussion this year?
The most notable thing to come from past COP summit’s is the Paris Climate Accord, which is a document in which multiple countries agreed to limit global warming to well under 2°C, and ideally to 1.5°C.
The Paris Climate Accord was a monumental step in the right direction as the world tries to tackle the negative impact we are having on the environment currently. Before the Paris Agreement, there was no consensus between every country for lowering global warming, but COP21 changed this.
Within the Paris Agreement, countries committed to plans known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). These would be updated every 5 years to reflect advancements with technology and breakthroughs in terms of sustainability procedures.
However, since 2015 when the accord was signed, there has not always been continuous progress made in order to honor these legally binding decisions. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C has not been successful enough, and in the COP26 summit more needs to be done in order to get warming within the goal before 2030.
Why is reducing global warming key?
Reducing global warming to the agreed 1.5°C is on the top of many peoples minds at COP26. With fossil fuel usage such as coal, gas and oil production leading to detrimental issues such as rising sea levels, extreme weather fluxuations and habitat loss, many parties have called for extreme changes to start now.
If we don’t get global warming under control, the planet will see drastic changes that could effect it’s vitals and lead to poor quality of life that would effect everybody.
In a live stream of events at COP26 Glasgow, an interviewer suggested that it should be enough to keep global warming to 1.9°C. However, Dominic Kavakeb, Senior Communications Advisor for human rights organisation Global Witness stated – “It’s not enough, we have to meet 1.5°C. We’re not aiming for 1.9°C, we’re not aiming for 1.8°C, we’re aiming to keep [global] warming beneath 1.5°C. That’s what we have to keep working towards.”
This statement defines the importance of the actions set by COP26 and why countries and companies need to continue to do their part in reducing carbon emissions.
What changes are being made at COP26 Glasgow?
The goals for COP26 2021 include:
- Securing global net-zero by mid-century by coming up with ambitious 2030 emissions reduction targets
- Adapting to protect communities and natural habitats by protecting ecosystems and increasing resilient agriculture
- Mobalise finances through developed countries providing $100 billion in climate finances per year
- Working together to finalise the Paris rulebook and accelerate action collaboration
The big decisions that have been made so far:
- More than 100 world leaders have pledged to end deforestation in 85% of the worlds forests by 2030
- More than 40 countries have pledged to phase out coal use; not including Australia, China, and the US
Fashion at the COP26 summit
Industries such as fashion are being called on to show up to the COP26 summit with plans to make change. With COP26 being such a notable event, fashion brands need to establish their place within the fight to stop climate change.
As part of the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) at COP26 fashion brand Stella McCartney launched the ‘Future of Fashion: An innovation conversation’ exhibit at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow. Notable figures such as Prince Charles and Leonardo DiCaprio were seen at the exhibit on the 3rd of November.
This comes as Stella McCartney’s nature-positive approach to fashion develops, with her brands collaboration with Bolt Threads mushroom leather product ‘Mylo’ recently gaining traction in the media. The exhibit features products amongst a fungi-like display, and plays on her idea that ‘The future of fashion and our planet is vegan.’