If you’ve thought about reducing your personal carbon footprint, chances are good you’ve considered the vehicle you drive, whether to buy carbon offsets for air travel, or the amount of meat in your diet. But have you thought about the sweater you’re wearing? EILEEN FISHER, a leader in the fashion industry as well in the sustainable business movement, has.
The Status Quo: Wool production has associated greenhouse emissions – emissions that come directly from grazing sheep. Climate science research has shown that when farmers rotate the grazing fields of their livestock – allowing some fields to “rest” and regenerate while others are in use – the resting fields become healthier. This is not only good for the soil and everything it grows, but also for the climate, as these healthy fields absorb, or sequester, carbon from the atmosphere. Fields that do not have the time to rest become stripped and lose their capacity to sequester carbon. They are also less nutritious for sheep and less productive for farmers.
The Future: EILEEN FISHER is demonstrating bold leadership on climate change by teaming up with Native on a breakthrough solution called the Regenerative Wool for Climate project. We aim to solve the problem at its root by addressing overgrazing. We have identified the Patagonia region of Argentina, a key source of wool for EILEEN FISHER, as our starting point. Growers in this region are eager to make improvements to their grazing practices, but these improvements require an investment that may take years to begin paying back. The Regenerative Wool for Climate Project bridges this gap by providing the upfront investment necessary for growers to take immediate steps to improve their soil’s health.
The Expected Impact: This initiative is the first of its kind in the wool industry, and we are moving forward quickly. We expect the project to launch this year and ultimately reduce over 100,000 metric tonnes of carbon over its operating life – the equivalent of 250 million miles driven by a passenger car. With more brand partners on board, there is potential to expand the reach of the Regenerative Wool for Climate project and reduce emissions in the Patagonian region by as much as 50,000 tonnes each year.
What This Means for You: It is one thing to avoid contributing to a problem; it’s another to help fix it. Through Regenerative Wool for Climate, EILEEN FISHER is transforming its wool supply chain from a climate change contributor to a climate change solution. And that means that everyone who purchases a wool garment from EILEEN FISHER also becomes part of the solution, shifting each transaction from a potential source of remorse to one of mutual support for climate change action. Who knew a sweater could do so much good?
To learn more about EILEEN FISHER’s sustainability leadership and newly announced Horizon 2030 Initiative, visit their website. To learn more about this and other Native climate projects, visit the project page. And to join us in this initiative, contact Kevin Hackett at Native.
To hear our conversation with hosts of Sustainability Defined in this podcast on soil carbon and regenerative agriculture, you can listen here.