Apparel & Footwear Climate Change Question 3

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Has the brand (company) set a target to reduce its absolute ‘own operations’ carbon emissions by at least 20% within the next 5 years?

  • Dutch version: Heeft het merk (bedrijf) de absolute 'CO2-voetafdruk' als gevolg van de eigen bedrijfsvoering (Scope 1 & 2) gepubliceerd en heeft het bedrijf een beleid om de aankomende 5 jaar de CO2 emissie met 20% te verlagen?
  • German version: Hat sich der Markenhersteller das Ziel gesetzt, um die absolute Klimabilanz der eigenen Betriebsbereiche innerhalb von fünf Jahren um wenigstens 20% zu verringern?


This question relates to aspects EN5, EN6, EN7 and EN18 in the Reporting Guidelines & Apparel and Footwear Sector Supplement of the Global Reporting Initiative.

‘Own operations’ are defined by ‘Scope 1 & 2’ of the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, referring to emissions from the sources that are owned or controlled by the company, for example, owned and leased offices, vehicles, factories and shops; all including the used electricity.

Note: as an exception you can also reward a "Yes" to a brand / company when energy sources (e.g. wind, solar or hydro) for electricity supply are to 100% sustainable. Because, if brands / companies have already (almost) achieved the reduction bottom of greenhouse gas emission, the basic design of this criteria would be unrewarding resp. wouldn´t be a practicable settlement. However, some sustainable energy sources, e.g. biomass such as wood, emit greenhouse gas emissions too. For those emissions, if applicable, it is required to compensate them. Read more about Carbon offset. In addition important conditions to reward a "Yes" are:

- proof of origin reg. sourced sustainable energy sources (e.g. from power company),

- additionality of the sourced / produced sustainable energy,

- when purchasing energy certificates, then on the condition that the source is mentioned, and the additionality is described (see also special note below),

- clear information what the compensation schemes are (concrete projects, concrete numbers) and the brand / company describes the additionality of these projects.

Special note on additionality In the Netherlands and probably other countries as well (see Cool IT report p. 27 about 'Renewable energy credits'), there is a clear issue about additionality when buying green energy certificates or credits. It is often questionable if green certificates do really contribute to the development of green energy. For example, companies can buy and sell cheap Scandinavian hydroelectricity generated with dams that were built in the 60's. As those certificates are still abundant, there is no additionality to business-as-usual, and certainly no reduction of carbon emissions or incentive to further invest in renewable energy. Therefore, this is a point of attention, and we require website companies at least to be transparent about the source of the green energy certificates and credits.

Ranking guidelines

Rank ‘Yes’
- When the company provides a timetable for how they want to reduce at least 20% of their CO2-footprint within 5 years. Please note that the period and percentage reduction don’t have to be precisely the same, as long as the target is comparable. For example, a goal of 16% reduction for 4 years is also okay, or a comparable target set in an earlier year is also okay.

- Instead, the company already reduced annual greenhouse gas emissions to a minimum, e.g. by using green electricity and compensating through credible programs (such as gold standard) and reports concrete details (numbers and type of project(s)) with regard to the compensation project(s).

Rank ‘?’
- When no information is given at all.

- When no percentage or year is given in the timeline.

- When information on the use of green energy and / or compensation are inconcrete with regard to type, additionality, numbers and / or projects.

Rank ‘No’
- When the percentage in the timeline is (by approach) lower than our standard of a 20% reduction in 5 years, so lower than 4% per year.

- When the year given in the timeline is longer than 5 years (and the percentage is 20% or lower).

Answering guidelines


  • [Brand] has set a target to reduce [..]% of their [carbon footprint/carbon emissions*] by [..YR] compared to [..YR].
  • [Brand] use to 100% sustainable energy for electricity supply, namely [e.g. wind / solar / hydro*]. The remaining inevitable greenhouse gas emissions are compensated by [compensation project].


  • [Brand] has set a target to reduce only [..]% of their [carbon footprint/carbon emissions*] by [..YR] compared to [..YR].


  • [Brand] mentions it has a target to reduce their [carbon footprint/carbon emissions*], but does not specify the target percentage or the target year.
  • [Brand] does not communicate any information on target reductions for its carbon emissions on its website.
  • [Brand] mentions to use sustainable energy for electricity supply to 100% but does not report concrete information with regard to [type of energy and / or additionality / compensation of the remaining inevitable carbon emissions*].

-* You can pick the topic that applies to 'your' brand.