New report uncovers alarming environmental impacts in Lululemon’s textile supply chain

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Thursday 4th April: A new report from climate non-profit Action Speaks Louder uncovers evidence of toxic pollution and fossil fuel reliance in the textile supply chain of lululemon, a global athleisure retailer whose greenhouse gas emissions increased by 22% from 2021-2022 to a massive 1.2 million metric tonnes cO2e. This news comes just weeks after a complaint was filed to the Canadian Competition Bureau accusing lululemon of greenwashing.

As part of Action Speaks Louder’s campaign urging lululemon to strengthen its commitments to switch from dangerous fossil fuels to clean renewable energy, the report details a 6-month investigation into some of lululemon’s most important textile suppliers in China, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Vietnam. The purpose of the research was to better understand how fossil-fuelled manufacturing is impacting the environment and the people who depend on it. 

The findings reveal a pattern of failure from lululemon to to address environmental concerns. Despite years of sustainability-led marketing under the banner of its ‘Be Planet’ slogan, indicators related to greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuel consumption and air and water pollution are still heading in the wrong direction. As an $8.1 billion dollar brand, lululemon must take responsibility for reducing fossil fuels and accelerating renewable energy in its supply chain to combat skyrocketing emissions and harmful pollution. As such, an ambitious new approach is needed, including a credible financial strategy that enables fair access for suppliers to invest in decarbonisation.

Key findings

  1. Where lululemon’s suppliers have set climate targets, most are not on track to meet them. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising, coal and other fossil fuel consumption remain high and renewable energy represents a tiny proportion of energy use. 
  2. There are several penalties issued against environmental regulations throughout lululemon’s supply chain, detailing air pollution, water pollution and waste treatment violations.
  3. At some of lululemon’s supplier sites, air and water pollution impact nature and communities, as revealed in interviews with local residents, water pollution test results and photo and video evidence of covert observations.

Key recommendations

  1. lululemon must publicly disclose more information about its supply chain including energy consumption and fuel mix
  2. lululemon must set a supply chain renewable energy target and absolute emissions reduction target
  3. lululemon must provide financial and technical support to enable suppliers to invest in the green transition

“Lululemon claims their products and actions will help create a ‘climate-stable future where nature and people thrive’. But our research suggests their textile manufacturing processes present a threat to the wellbeing of local communities, ecosystems, and the broader climate crisis. It’s clear that acceleration is needed in order to meet the brand’s own climate targets and to support its suppliers to meet theirs. Lululemon must set a target for 100% renewable energy in its supply chain and urgently invest in the transition away from fossil fuel-powered manufacturing and resource-intensive dyeing processes, and towards widely available decarbonisation solutions.”

– Ruth MacGilp, Fashion Campaign Manager, Action Speaks Louder

Link to download report


Focus companies: Lululemon


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