Inditex and Elsevier commit to net-zero emissions by 2040

Clothing giant Inditex and research publishing firm Elsevier are the latest corporates to have updated their corporate strategies, setting ambitions to reach net-zero emissions by 2040 at the latest.

Inditex and Elsevier commit to net-zero emissions by 2040

Both businesses are aiming for net-zero by 2040 at the latest

In 2018, 31 big-name fashion brands signed a United Nations (UN) charter outlining steps the global fashion sector must take to limit the global temperature increase below 2C. Inditex was one of the signatories to the charter, which is aligned with the aims of the Paris Agreement and sets a roadmap towards carbon neutrality by 2050 – the date by which the UN believes it is possible to fully decarbonise the global fashion sector.

The charter set 16 key principles for signatories, including a clause requiring participating businesses to reduce their overall carbon footprint by 30% by 2030.

But, with research from McKinsey and the Global Fashion Agenda warning that the fashion sector will emit double its Paris Agreement limit by 2030, Inditex is stepping up its climate efforts.

The company, which owns brands such as Zara and Pull&Bear, is bringing forward its net-zero emissions target forward 10 years to 2040, as well as ramping up other sustainability targets. The acceleration of these targets was due to Inditex meeting several sustainability aims.

Currently, around 35% of the Group’s garments featured the Join Life label, which highlights how more sustainable processes and raw materials were used – surpassing a 25% target set for 2020. Additionally, a target to procure 65% of its energy from renewables was surpassed, with the company reaching 80%. The use of more sustainable cotton also increased by 91%.

As such, Inditex has introduced new sustainability targets. As well as moving the net-zero target to 2040, all energy in its direct operations will come from renewable sources in 2022, compared to a previous target of 80% by 2025. More than 50% of garments will be Join Life by 2022 and, as a new objective, Inditex aims to cut by 25% the water used on the whole supply chain by 2025.

Inditex’s chief executive Pablo Isla celebrated “the strength of Inditex’s integrated, digital and sustainable model, thanks to the work and commitment of every employee”.


In related news, publishing firm Elsevier has signed the Climate Pledge, along with parent company Relx, to reach net-zero by 2040.

Elsevier, which claims it was operating as a net-zero business across direct emissions (Scope 1 and 2) and business travel, will now aim to decarbonise the rest of its Scope 3 emissions by 2040 at the latest.

To reach this target, Elsevier has set a target to reduce emissions from business travel by a further 50% by 2025 against a 2019 baseline, which will save around 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

The company will also set up a climate action programme for suppliers and will form a Climate Advisory Board of distinguished research experts to identify ways to decarbonise.

Elsevier’s chief executive Kumsal Bayazit said: “The scientific consensus is clear, climate change is happening and we all have the responsibility to make the future sustainable for our planet. At Elsevier, we are already net-zero for our own direct emissions and by signing the climate pledge I am confident we can rise to the challenge and accelerate the action needed to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.”

Matt Mace

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