COP28: What are our demands?

By Liv Simpliciano

5 months ago

Fashion Revolution is at COP28 in Dubai this year, alongside Fashion Revolution teams from the UAE, India, Brazil and Pakistan to bring our global voice to the table and advocate for systemic change. In this opinion piece by Liv Simpliciano, our Policy and Research Manager, you can find out more about this year’s conference and what we are demanding from brands below.


What is COP28?

The first Conference of the Parties (COP) was held in 1995. Though the warnings have grown louder, each year we have edged closer toward climate breakdown. Repeated warnings followed by calls to actions and policies have seemingly rung hollow, as they have been inadequate to slow the rate of global warming. 

Two years ago, we first attended COP26 in Glasgow. We were told by other attendees that they hoped fashion would be taken seriously by policymakers. However, fashion’s impact on the people and planet has always been serious  when talking about the climate crisis. 

COP28 is poised to be a global stocktake on progress since the Paris Agreement came into being five years ago. It’s devastatingly clear that countries’ emissions have risen, as have fashion brands’. Major fashion brands need to phase out fossil fuels and phase up renewables – the actions we take now will be the make or break of generations to come. 

This COP, the Fossil-Fuel Non-Proliferation Agreement is on the table and seeking a negotiating mandate. The proposed treaty would complement the Paris Agreement by providing the global roadmap needed to halt the expansion of fossil fuel, manage an equitable phase-out of coal, oil and gas, and lay the foundations for a true just energy transition in which no worker, community or country is left behind.

For too long, addressing only emissions reductions and demand without fossil fuel supply has meant countries and companies can continue to claim climate leadership whilst opening, approving and funding new fossil fuel projects. This has to end. 

When it comes to fashion, evidence resoundingly demonstrates that the industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world and is one of the core industries driving the pollution of our shared planet. Not only this, it is also one of the wealthiest and most unequal industries in the world. Oxfam’s latest report finds that the richest 1% account for more carbon emissions than the poorest 66% – fashion CEOs are some of the wealthiest people on this planet. It takes just four days for a fashion CEO to earn what a garment worker would earn in their entire lifetime. 



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Transparency is critical when it comes to addressing the most pressing issues in the fashion industry. A lack of transparency is a continued barrier when it comes to accelerating meaningful impact. Accountability must be unlocked for civil society organisations, citizens, NGOs, worker rights organisations and governments to hold major fashion brands accountable and that is facilitated first and foremost through access to information. There is a persistent lack of transparency when it comes to:


  1. How many clothes are produced annually and their environmental impacts
  2. Brands setting robust climate targets, publishing how they were established and reporting on progress
  3. How brands plan on actually meeting these targets 


We have repeatedly seen time-bound targets come and go. There are bare minimum asks that brands should be able to disclose. For example, brands continue to be un-transparent about their annual production volumes – despite the increasing visibility of the fashion industry’s waste problem globally. Brands do not shy away from making bold commitments but these commitments across their supply chains are often made without input from their suppliers who hold important context. There’s no silver bullet solution to the problems in the fashion industry. The needs of supply chain stakeholders are not a monolith and must be addressed with specific context in mind. Top down decision making coupled with the industry’s characteristic unfair purchasing practices are placing pressure on suppliers to be responsible for fixing fashion. Without major fashion brands’ financial commitment and willingness to share financial risk when it comes to decarbonising  their supply chains for example, progress will continue to be impeded and with disastrous impacts. 

Fashion brands often use COP to announce glossy commitments. Our research in the 2023 Global Fashion Transparency Index shows that once again this year, while brands are telling us more about their policies and commitments, they are telling us much less about what these policies and commitments have achieved. And in the absence of disclosed evidence, it is difficult to understand if the fashion industry is turning things around. We don’t need more commitments – we need more progress.

The stark reality of our planet is that the latest Emissions Gap report finds we are on track to warm by nearly 3 degrees C without aggressive actions, with current levels barreling toward a ‘point of no return’.  It is so clear that fashion needs to stop prioritising the money and start listening not only to the science, but to the needs and interests of their suppliers and the people who make our clothes. This has been the case for a very long time and yet when it comes to basic transparency on how brands are performing on their climate targets – a huge lack of transparency (and therefore accountability) remains: less than a third of the 250 major fashion brands reviewed disclose progress on decarbonisation. Aggressive actions are impeded by the lack of transparency because it inhibits the true scale of the problem and obscures where the greatest responsibility for action lies. 

Finally – in order to ensure action and progress – policymakers must implement binding regulations, laws and government policies that require transparency and corporate accountability on environmental and human rights issues in the global fashion industry. Without mandatory regulations, major fashion brands can continue to hide from addressing their impacts. 

Ultimately, major fashion brands hold the potential to lead the clean energy transition based on their powerful economic influence in their sourcing countries and must leverage this to deliver real renewable energy capacity. Ultimately, there is no fashion on a dead planet.


Read our demands 




Header photo by Jay Wennington on Unsplash