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For Immediate Release

Press Release

Climate Activists Rally Outside Lululemon’s Flagship Store in Vancouver

Stand.earth delivers “coal medal” to raise concerns over how athleisure company’s Team Canada Olympics outfits contribute to climate pollution, threaten future of winter games.
WASHINGTON -

Just two days before the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics, climate activists, winter sports enthusiasts, and local doctors joined environmental advocacy organization Stand.earth to rally outside Lululemon’s flagship store in downtown Vancouver, B.C. The activists called on the popular Canadian athleisure company to stop burning coal to power its factories and transition to renewable energy, raising concerns over how the official outfitter for Team Canada contributes to climate pollution and threatens the very future of the winter games. 

The critique comes after reports of harmful levels of air pollution in Beijing that are largely the result of coal pollution. Also, new research by Canadian climate scientists showed that if climate emissions continue to grow, 20 out of the 21 cities that hosted the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in the past, including Vancouver, will likely have less favorable conditions to host the games in the future. 

Activists delivered a 4ft wide “coal medal” to employees inside the store, then gathered outside to pose in Team Canada outfits alongside a mock “coal plant” prop spewing “smoke.” Chanting and holding banners, and surrounded by speakers blaring the Olympics theme song, the activists called on Lululemon to go coal free in its supply chain by 2030 — one of the key demands of Stand.earth’s Fossil Free Fashion Campaign

“Becoming the official outfitter for Team Canada at one of the most beloved sports competitions in the world is an incredible moment for Lululemon. But it is ironic and reckless that Lululemon is using coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, to make the clothing for Canada’s athletes, whose performance and participation in the Winter Olympics in the coming years will increasingly hinge on our success in tackling the climate crisis,” said Muhannad Malas, Senior Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth. 

Stand.earth research examining U.S. imports of Lululemon products in 2020 found that approximately 48% of the electricity used by Lululemon factories in Vietnam, Cambodia, and China came from burning coal, and only 5% came from renewable energy. A closer look at Team Canada outfits show that many of the uniforms were made with coal. The red puffer parka that will be worn by athletes during the opening ceremony is made in China, while the closing ceremony white down jacket is made in Vietnam. Other items including the high-rise joggers are made in Cambodia. See an infographic here.

In the coming decades, the multi-trillion dollar fashion industry’s greenhouse gas emissions are expected to increase drastically, surpassing other polluting industries such as aviation and shipping. Most fashion-producing countries rely heavily on a coal-powered electricity grid, which not only causes poor air quality that harms the health of people living nearby, but also contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions that worsen the effects of climate change, and in turn, threaten the very future of winter sports.

“As the Winter Olympics begin, Canadians everywhere must call on Lululemon to do more to ensure its clothes are not made with coal. As the climate crisis worsens, the health of our planet, and the future of winter sports, depends on the swift actions of companies like Lululemon and the entire polluting fashion industry to clean up its supply chains,” said Muhannad Malas, Senior Climate Campaigner at Stand.earth.

BACKGROUND

For more than a year, Stand.earth has called on Lululemon — one of the biggest, most profitable, and fastest growing sportswear brands in the world — to do better on climate change. Despite painting itself as a sustainability leader, the company has yet to commit to eliminating coal from its supply chains, and has done very little to advocate for the transition from coal to renewable energy in the countries where its factories are located — and where its Team Canada gear is made — including Vietnam, Cambodia, and China. Lululemon is notably missing from joint efforts signed by other fashion brands, including competitor Nike, to encourage fashion-producing countries to increase renewable energy. 

Stand.earth’s research released in November 2021 ahead of COP26, the UN’s annual climate change conference, showed that despite Luluemon’s participation in the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, and its commitment to reduce emissions in the coming decade, the company’s supply chain emissions actually increased in 2020.

Stand.earth’s Fossil Free Fashion Scorecard released in August 2021 benchmarked 47 top fashion companies on their efforts to tackle climate change. The report broadly failed the fashion industry on its efforts to address climate change, and gave Lululemon a D- for failing to take meaningful action to work with suppliers to increase renewable energy use in its supply chain, phase out coal usage, or advocate for or sourcing renewable energy for its factories. 

Stand.earth’s Fossil Free Fashion campaign is calling for the fashion industry to addresses its climate emissions by eliminating its reliance on coal to power its manufacturing processes; engaging with governments in supply chain countries to gain better access to renewables; reducing fossil fuel-derived fabrics like polyester; and advocating for zero-emissions shipping and infrastructure. Since 2017, Stand.earth has been instrumental in encouraging major fashion brands like H&M, Levi’s and Mammut to make industry-leading climate pledges.

Learn more about Stand.earth's Fossil Free Fashion Campaign at lulucoal.com.

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Stand.earth (formerly ForestEthics) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with offices in Canada and the United States that is known for its groundbreaking research and successful corporate and citizens engagement campaigns to create new policies and industry standards in protecting forests, advocating the rights of indigenous peoples, and protecting the climate. Visit us at www.stand.earth and follow us on Twitter @standearth.

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