River Island has committed to a number of long-term and near-term emissions reduction targets in line with the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), with the goal of reaching net-zero by 2040.

It comes as the latest data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows it is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C, but the world is dangerously close to that threshold.

The UN described these findings as a “code red for humanity”, encouraging businesses to make rapid and deep emissions cuts to help halve global emissions before 2030 and achieve net-zero before 2050.

The approved, science-based targets at River Island are:

  • River Island commits to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 (direct) GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions 90% by 2030, from a 2019 base year.
  • Complete neutralisation of residual emissions by 2030 to achieve net-zero on direct emissions (scopes 1 and 2).
  • River Island commits to reduce absolute scope 3 (indirect) GHG emissions 30% by 2032, from a 2021 base year.
  • Net-zero carbon emissions by the end of 2040, by reducing absolute scope 3 GHG emissions 90% by 2040, from a 2021 base year.
  • The fashion chain also plans to continue annually sourcing 100% renewable electricity through 2030.

In addition to these commitments, River Island is asking all stakeholders to also commit to science-based 1.5°C and net-zero targets.

It comes after the fashion brand joined the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) Climate Action Roadmap in 2020, supporting its desire of reaching net-zero emissions in the fashion industry by 2040.

José Arguedas, Head of Sustainability at River Island, said: “We are incredibly proud to announce that our net-zero targets have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative.

“Tackling climate change requires ambitious action from the retail sector and our validated science-based targets prove our commitment to building a sustainable economy: by doing not what is easy, but what is necessary.”

The setting of science-based targets and commitments is one element of River island’s wider sustainability strategy, which comprises 12 commitments aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Last week, fellow fashion brand New Look also had its emissions targets approved by the SBTi following the launch of its sustainability strategy two years ago. Earlier this year, N Brown Group also had its targets approved.

Additional companies taking action include Burberry, H&M Group, Procter & Gamble, Tesco and Landsec, amongst others.

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