An interview with Joyce Tsoi, SAC’s new Director of Collective Action, on how the SAC will help mobilize and facilitate action around Science-Based Targets to reduce GHG emissions in the global value chain:
Tell us about your background and previous work. How does your personal mission connect to the work you’re doing at the SAC?
It all started when I was studying for my undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering at University College London, U.K. in 1997, where I spent a lot of hours making chemical processing models in the engineering lab, studying how we can design chemical processes at the right scale. During the study, I started to self-reflect and ask, “We are creating these much needed chemical products for our daily lives, and at the same time, we are producing a lot of pollution. Is this really the right way to get what we need? Do we always have to sacrifice the environment for human needs and economic growth?” During my final year of study, I started getting really excited about the new elective on environmental pollution. I got fascinated about all the solutions that you can build in order to safely discharge waste, wastewater and air emissions. My passion for environmental management still grows day by day, and there is never a single moment when I feel bored about this subject!
Reflecting on my 20 years career in Supply Chain Sustainability in multiple sectors, I am grateful that I get to work with a lot of passionate people in 30+ key production countries around the world.
With more than a decade of hands-on experience in the field, I have been appointed to take on two in-house roles in managing global environmental sustainability programs for two large multinational retailers (H&M and VF Corporation) in 2013 and 2017 respectively. With these new roles, I was able to develop and drive key sustainability strategies and implementation plans by engaging internally with different business units and externally with a broad variety of stakeholders to achieve yearly sustainability goals and results. I was thrilled that I was able to further utilize my knowledge and skills to support over 100+ energy and water efficiency initiatives, as well as renewable energy projects across 4 continents.
Your role, Director of Collective Action, is new to the SAC team. Can you share more about what your role means for the SAC and our members?
This new role, Director of Collective Action, means a lot to me. It matches perfectly with my personal value of making the world a better place. I’m excited to have this awesome opportunity to influence and support 250+ of SAC’s members in implementing collective action strategies to reduce environmental impact and promote social justice throughout the globaI value chain. I believe we need to redefine our industry to solve systematic challenges, but no single company can solve this alone. By leveraging the Higg FSLM/ SLCP and FEM insights, we will be able to identify the hotspots for collective action, and develop a concrete plan to deliver actions required to drive exponential impacts that benefits all.
Can you define what ‘science-based targets’ mean, and why it is critical for businesses to set them?
Science Based Targets (SBT) provide a clearly defined pathway (both how much and how quickly) for organizations to reduce their GHG emissions to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and future-proof business growth. Targets should be set according to the latest climate science to limit global warming to well below 1.5 degree celsius above pre-industrial levels (goals of the Paris Agreement).
The latest independent climate science from the IPCC report indicates that we should be pursuing our efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degree celsius to avoid even more catastrophic effects such as more heat waves, heavy precipitation, droughts and tropical cyclones. This requires deep cuts in our GHG emissions in the next few decades.
You will be rolling out an SBT program. Can you share what the SBT program entails, and what it addresses?
There are 3 core pillars in our SBT program:
(1) Educational and consulting support services: on this foundational pillar, SAC aims to support members to understand the importance of committing and setting SBT; peer learning groups will be formed to encourage dialogue and cross learning to reduce barriers ; experts will be invited to share their unique experience in the best practice sessions.
(2) Scaling Sustainable impact Solutions: SAC will convene its members into top action club, this’s a collaborative space for members to discuss the key levers & local/ regional solutions required to accelerate actions based on 6+1 sustainable impact solutions that will support the industry to achieve 45% climate reduction goal by 2030.
(3) Tracking and Reporting GHG emissions: We will continue to develop a consistent sector- wide GHG accounting methodology, tool and guidance to support members to quantify, track and report GHG directly and indirectly from their organization’s activities through the Higg Index suite of tools.
Additionally, SAC’s SBT program complements the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). We support members of all sizes to commit and set their SBTs according to SBTi’s apparel and footwear sector guidance to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with what the latest climate science helping and pursuing efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C. Leveraging the global manufacturing facilities’ data from our Higg Facility Environmental Module (FEM), we mobilize and orchestrate members to scale climate solutions collectively and deliver tangible measurable impacts to support our sector towards net zero. We develop practical guidance and tools to allow members to account and track their Scope 1,2 & 3 emissions. We also create peer-to-peer learning groups to allow members of all sizes to convene, share their experience and learn from each other.
Who is the SBT Program for? How can a company discern whether they are ready to participate in it (ie. are there certain requirements or resources that they should already have before they can join?)
The SBT program is primarily focusing on supporting all SAC members to commit to setting SBTs with a call for collective action. This program mobilizes members to become part of the collective efforts to mitigate climate change and support a low carbon transition. We orchestrate a whole ecosystem of internal and external actors (e.g. Government, businesses, development agencies, finance institutions, communities, industry associations and non government organisations) to develop and scale sustainable impact solutions to transform our industry to a more sustainable one.
Why is collective action so integral to progress?
For the past two decades, the apparel, footwear and textile industry has been facing a lot of systematic environmental challenges. These challenges are shared, and all require a collective action approach in order to redefine our industry to a more sustainable future. No one company or individual can solve this climate crisis alone. The SAC provides space for small and big brands, retailers and manufacturers to voice their viewpoints, learn, and share their experience in a non- competitive environment. We want to make sure everyone’s voices are heard and we are committed to facilitating a collaborative conversation with one other.
Join our Collective Action Program
The SAC is a Collective Action Coalition. We bring together a global community of actors to develop solutions that redefine the industry. By leveraging the insights from our Higg Index tools to inform & accelerate actions to transform our industry for exponential impacts, we are striving for a higher collective purpose that benefits all. Please reach out at SBT@apparelcoalition.org if you have an idea and if you think you have a role to play in mitigating climate change and building climate resilience.