Widespread inaction on sustainability overshadows advances in the largest fashion companies

The current decade marks a critical turning point for the transformation of the fashion industry in line with global ambitions to curb climate change and establish more responsible business practices.

Last year, The business of fashion created The BoF sustainability indexexamining public disclosures from 15 of the largest fashion players to compare the industry’s progress towards achieving ambitious environmental and social goals by 2030. Results demonstrated a substantial gap between public commitments of major brands and meaningful and measurable actions .

This year, the Index expanded the scope to examine the performance of the industry’s 30 largest publicly traded companies based on revenues across three market segments: luxury, sportswear and high street. Our research team at BoF Insights evaluated each company based on more than 200 different data points in six impact categories: transparency, emissions, water and chemicals, waste, materials and workers’ rights.

With only eight years left to reach the goals, the results are stark – performance in five of the six impact categories deteriorated as incremental progress in the original cohort of 15 companies evaluated last year was eclipsed by inaction in many of the new ones. additions.

While technological innovation, policy insights and standardized frameworks are helping to spur action, limited liability within the industry, poor data quality and lack of investment are holding back true transformative change.

Download the full report from BoF Insights for an in-depth analysis of sustainability progress to date, the key challenges facing the industry and the landscape for the year ahead.

Transformation, interrupted

The window for the fashion industry to transform its business practices in line with global sustainability goals is rapidly closing, but the change remains incremental. The major players in last year’s original cohort of 15 companies have largely emerged as leaders, but they are still moving too slowly to meet the targets by 2030. Meanwhile, several companies among the new additions have yet to publicly commit so significant with issues relating to the sustainability of the whole.

Overall, progress remains uneven, dull and above all too slow:

  • Slow progress: The overall average score of 30 companies was just 28 out of 100. The highest score ever was Puma with 49 points out of 100. Burberry was the only new addition to enter the top 10 with an overall score of 41. .
  • Drag performance: The addition of 15 new companies to the Index dragged down the average score across all categories, excluding Issues. While the original cohort average score saw an increase from 31 points to 36 points year over year, the average score for new additions was just 20 points.
  • The most advanced: Fast Retailing was the fastest engine, advancing 11 points to reach an overall score of 30 in the 2022 index. Puma and Hermès improved their performance by 9 points each, achieving scores of 49 and 32 respectively.
  • There is no time for latecomers: Some of the major players in the industry, including URBN, Skechers, Fila Holdings, Anta and HLA Group, have provided little or no public detail on plans to address their environmental and social impact, all scoring less than 10 points.

The methodology of the index:

The BoF sustainability index examines the 10 largest public companies by annual turnover in 2020 across three distinct fashion industry verticals: luxury, high street and sportswear. Evaluate performance in six impact categories: emissions, transparency, water and chemicals, waste, materials, and workers’ rights.

Within these categories, companies are confronted with 16 ambitious environmental and social goals set by The business of fashion in consultation with a group of respected global experts. Each of the goals contains a set of binary metrics (201 in total) that have been rated “yes” or “no” based on publicly available information by December 31, 2021 or earlier.

Year after year, the methodology has been updated and condensed; company scores for 2020 have been updated accordingly in this year’s report.

Companies valued in The BoF 2022 sustainability index are: Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Adidas, American Eagle Outfitters, Anta Sports, Asics, Burberry Group, Capri Holdings, Fast Retailing, Fila Holdings Corp., Gap Inc., H&M Group, Hermès, HLA Group Corp., Inditex, Kering , Levi Strauss & Co., Lululemon Athletica, LVMH, Next PLC, Nike Inc., Prada Group, Puma, PVH Corp., Ralph Lauren Corp., Richemont, Skechers USA, Tapestry, Under Armor, Urban Outfitters Inc. and VF Corp .

Learn more about the methodology in our FAQ or purchase the report from BoF Insights to review it in full.

BoF Sustainability Index 2022 in the Banner article