Sustainable Fashion? 43 Banks Form NetZero Alliance, Amazon a Renewable Energy Giant? EU Goes Hard on Climate Change Law

by | May 4, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Fashion’s New Cotton Project, plus 43 Banks Form NetZero Alliance. Amazon Set To Become EU’s Largest Renewable Energy Customer, and EU Passes Even More Ambitious Legislative Climate Goals.



Twelve pioneering players in the fashion and textile industries are out to prove that circular, sustainable fashion is not only an ambition, but actually can be achieved right now, through a new initiative called the New Cotton Project. The 12 participants represent all aspects of the fashion industry—brands like Adidas and H&M Group, suppliers and manufacturers. Research institutes and fashion innovators round out the consortium.  

Over a three-year period, the goal of the project is simple: recapture the valuable raw materials in discarded clothing and materials and regenerate them back into high quality fibers that can be spun into new yarn, woven into new fabric and designed into new clothes, repeatedly. 

Why does this matters to us? The fashion industry produce nearly twice as many clothes today as they did 20 years ago and demand is expected to continue growing. At the same time, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second. Every second, of which there are 31,536,000 in a year…approximately/ or Allow me to do the math for you. There are 31,536,000 seconds in a year. 

That is the epitome of the unsustainable linear economy—where raw materials are processed into a finished product and all excess raw material is discarded.  According to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular report: ‘If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget.’ 

DEEPER DIVE: The Forward Lab,New Cotton Project,Fashion for Good



The United Nations Environment Program, Finance Initiative has announced the launch of a Net-Zero banking alliance with 43 of the world’s largest banks. According to the INITIATIVE statement, the 43 banks from 23 countries represent over $28 Trillion in assets. They are committed to aligning their lending and investment portfolios to net-zero emission by 2050, with an intermediate target of 2030 or sooner, “using robust science-based practices.”

This is an important step in advancing global climate action because as President Biden indicated in Day Two of his recent Global Leaders Summit, rapid action to reduce carbon emissions cannot happen without massive buy-in from private industry. 

Aside from the 400 heads of multinational corporations who signed an open letter to President Biden clamoring for bold, aggressive action by the US on climate change, a lot of private industry will only invest heavily if it sees a long-term, high yield market for climate change action. Large scale investment on behalf of major banks tells private industry the market for climate action exists. In other words, without banks, the global transition of the real economy to net-zero emissions will not happen.

DEEPER DIVE:  UNEPFI, Climate Action



Retail giant Amazon is set to become Europe’s largest buyer of renewable energy by 2025. And it’s not going to do it by crowding out other companies either. Amazon is building a bevy or renewable energy projects, and fast. To wit:

  • A 350MW wind farm to be constructed off the coast of Scotland. It will be the single largest project in the UK
  • Amazon has two large-scale solar projects in both Andalucia and Extremadura in Spain, totaling 170MW
  • Amazon is currently building an onshore wind farm in Sweden expected to output 256MW

If you’re keeping score, folks, that’s just shy of ONE GW of electricity to be generated annually from renewable, sustainable electricity, just from these projects. That’s enough to power about 300,000 homes for a year.

Why Amazon’s continued investment in renewable energy matters to us is that Wall Street, Amazon’s customers, and international businesses are all watching what American companies are doing about climate change. When a big dog like Amazon demonstrates this type of leadership, it can produce a positive domino effect on other major players and on the climate crisis.

This also matters because these projects supply renewable energy to not just to Amazon’s corporate offices, but also to its fulfillment centers, Whole Foods Market stores, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centers. That means millions of AWS customers globally will also benefit from Amazon’s renewable energy moves. 

DEEPER DIVE: Climate Action,Business Wire,Solar Industry Magazine,Offshore Wind Biz



The European Union recently made its ambitious climate goals legally binding, paving the way for a torrent of new rules and standards to overhaul the entire economy. Representatives of EU governments and the European Parliament agreed in principle on the aptly named European Climate Law.  The law commits to a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, and net zero emissions by 2050.  THE MAIN ELEMENTS INCLUDE:

  • Tougher CO2 standards for cars
  • Further deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure
  • Higher taxation on the most polluting fuels
  • Measures to impose a carbon price on some imported goods
  • Curtailing the import of products that drive deforestation or forest degradation around the world
  • Strengthening and expanding the EU carbon market and setting more ambitious national targets in sectors not covered by the emissions cap-and-trade program
  • Restoring European forests
  • Increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency targets

 “The package will arguably be the most comprehensive legislative framework in the world addressing climate,” EU climate czar Frans Timmermans said during a hearing of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. “We need to gather all possible forces in the fight against climate change, abroad and at home.”

Why this matters to us is it sets a legislative precedent and a framework for the U.S. government to follow.

DEEPER DIVE: Consilium, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera