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Shein Outlines Plans to Reduce Emissions

The move is the latest in a series of initiatives to address criticism of the company’s environmental and social impact that has accompanied its wild success.
Shein has reportedly been valued at $100 billion.
Shein's ultra-fast-fashion model has drawn criticism for feeding wasteful overconsumption. (Instagram @sheinofficial)

The Chinese ultra-fast-fashion giant said it will reduce supply chain emissions 25 percent by 2030, outlining projects to drive greater energy efficiency and support a transition renewable power among its manufacturers.

The move is the latest in a series of initiatives to address criticism of the company’s environmental and social impact that has accompanied its wild success. Earlier this year, Shein reportedly scored a valuation of $100 billion, but concerns that its low-cost, high-volume approach to fashion is fuelling wasteful overconsumption is “becoming the biggest threat to its continued success,” according to Bloomberg.

The company’s ambitions fall short of the 45 percent reduction in global emissions the UN has said will be necessary by 2030 to keep the world on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Signatories of the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, the industry’s flagship climate initiative, have committed to either halve emissions by the end of the decade or set science-based reduction targets.

Shein said it is submitting its targets for validation by the Science-Based Targets initiative, an organisation which guides businesses in setting robust emissions reduction goals.

To set its emissions targets, Shein has measured its environmental impact for the first time. In 2021 amounted to about 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, with almost all of its impact taking place in its supply chain.

To tackle its footprint, Shein will spend $7.6 million on a partnership with the nonprofit Apparel Impact Institute, which works with manufacturers to set and implement energy efficiency programmes. The company plans to roll this out across more than 500 partner facilities and estimates it will result in a reduction of 1.25 million tons in greenhouse gas emissions each year.

The company also plans to partner with the renewable power and decarbonisation division of one of its investors to reduce emissions across its supply chain.

Learn more:

How Shein Gatecrashed Fashion’s Sustainability Show

The ultra-fast fashion company launched a $50 million fund to tackle waste at the industry’s annual sustainability gathering in Copenhagen. Many saw it as greenwashing, but it’s straight out of fashion’s sustainability playbook.

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State of Fashion 2023
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State of Fashion 2023