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The Fashion Pact names Helena Helmersson as new co-chair

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Image: H&M Group; Helena Helmersson, H&M Group chief executive officer and The Fashion Pact co-chair.

The Fashion Pact, a global initiative of fashion and textile companies committed to tackling climate change and restoring biodiversity, has named H&M Group’s Helena Helmersson its new co-chair.

Helmersson, chief executive of H&M Group, succeeds The Fashion Pact’s co-founder, Kering’s chairman and chief executive officer François-Henri Pinault, who has completed his three-year term mandate. Pinault will remain on the steering committee, which brings together 15 CEOs from across the industry.

In her new role, Helmersson, who has a background in sustainability and production, will work closely with Paul Polman, who was re-elected as co-chair of the steering committee for another three years and Eva von Alvensleben, executive director and secretary general of The Fashion Pact to accelerate the next phase of the coalitions joint action plan.

The global CEO-led climate and biodiversity initiative for fashion, which represents one-third of the global fashion industry, said it is committed to mitigating the impact of climate change, restoring biodiversity, and protecting the oceans, and for its next phase, it is looking to accelerate its collaborative approach to go deeper into the value chain and reduce emissions.

Commenting on her appointment, Helmersson said in a statement: “In today’s urgent climate context, we need to work together to tackle challenges that one company alone can’t solve. Now is the time to build on the great progress that has been achieved so far and accelerate emission reduction and decarbonisation activity deeper down the value chain.

“It is only by coming together we can create real change, and The Fashion Pact’s unique collective power has the ability to accelerate our actions together.”

Helena Helmersson succeeds François-Henri Pinault as co-chair of The Fashion Pact

The Fashion Pact was first announced by Pinault alongside French President Emmanuel Macron at the G7 summit hosted by France in Biarritz in August 2019. It currently has 62 members, including Adidas, Burberry, Capri Holdings, Chanel, Farfetch, Gap Inc., H&M Group, Inditex, Kering, Baukjen, Nike, PVH Corp., Ralph Lauren, and Tapestry.

With the new committee in place, The Fashion Pact is looking to scale joint action towards a nature-positive and net-zero future and is calling for a collaborative “whole industry approach” to rapidly cut emissions across the entire value chain with an increased focus on scope 3 emission reductions.

“Decarbonising fashion’s supply chain, where the biggest share of emissions occur, at pace and scale will be critical for brands and players across the sector to achieve their science-based targets,” explains The Fashion Pact.

It is looking to accelerate renewable electricity adoption through the first-of-its-kind Collective Virtual Power Purchase Agreement (CVPPA) in the fashion industry. This project it states will add more than 100,000 MWh per year of new renewable electricity generation to the grid. As well as setting an industry biodiversity baseline for companies to measure their impact on nature, an initiative that has already resulted in more than half of The Fashion Pact members developing actionable biodiversity strategies.

The Fashion Pact is also looking to improve sourcing pathways and integrate more sustainable materials directly into supply chains.

This adds to its climate targets encouraging all members to implement Science-based Targets to achieve net zero by 2050 and zero deforestation and sustainable forest management by 2025. In addition to eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastic in business-to-consumer packaging by 2025 and business-to-business by 2030 to address pollution from upstream textile production.

Polman added: “There is now real momentum within fashion among leaders who don’t want their companies to be the problem, who see the immense benefits of decarbonising their business models, and who are ready to work with others to drive the changes our societies and planet need.

“Yes, this sector has a long way to go, but no single CEO or business can tackle these issues alone and The Fashion Pact offers unprecedented partnership and scale. The task now is to channel the collective courage within this impressive group so that we can all move faster.”

Fashion Pact
Helena Helmersson
The Fashion Pact