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Inditex is betting on regenerative agriculture. The Spanish fashion group — whose portfolio includes Zara, Massimo Dutti and Bershka — has agreed to invest €15 million in the Regenerative Fund for Nature, launched as a joint venture by global non-profit Conservation International and luxury conglomerate Kering in 2021.
“From the beginning, our goal was for other companies to join in order to increase the size of the fund and expand on the number of regenerative farming projects financed,” Kering’s chief sustainability and institutional affairs officer Marie-Claire Daveu told Vogue Business. “Scientific consensus places conventional chemically intensive agricultural systems as one of the most significant drivers of biodiversity loss and climate change. We urgently need to support the scaling of regenerative farming projects to match the quantity and quality of raw materials with our industry’s demand. We hope to see other companies follow Inditex’s leadership and join the Fund.”
The need to invest in scaling solutions was made clear in a UN climate change report published earlier this week, which warned that time is running out to limit global temperature increases to within the targets of the Paris Agreement, and called on every country and every sector to “massively fast track climate efforts”.
Climate Fund for Nature uses the voluntary carbon market to protect biodiversity and promote regenerative agriculture. Experts say the investment must involve workers in the Global South to be effective.
The Regenerative Fund for Nature aims to transform one million hectares (2.5 million acres) of agricultural land in six countries to regenerative agriculture practices by 2026. To date, seven grantees have been awarded between $100,000 and $500,000 to make this happen. This includes The Good Growth Company, which aims to restore ecosystems in Mongolia by producing goat cashmere; Fundacion Solidaridad Latinoamericana, which works with Creole and Indigenous smallholder cattle producers in Argentina on cowhide leather; and Organic Cotton Accelerator, which supports conventional cotton farmers in India with the transition to organic agriculture.
Inditex has previously invested in recycled textile Infinna, by signing a three-year deal with its maker, circular technology specialist Infinited Fiber Company in May 2022. The group says its $15 million contribution to the Regenerative Fund for Nature came from charging consumers for single-use paper shopping bags since eliminating plastic bags in stores in 2021. Proceeds from the #BringYourBag initiative — which hopes to incentivise reusable bags — have also been donated to Water.org, WWF and Action Social Advancement among others.
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