Exploring the commitment and potentials of the textile and apparel industry to biodiversity: Insights from GRI reports in different organizational sizes

Yu-Shan Lin, Technical University of Dresden
Remmer Sassen, Technical University of Dresden

Biodiversity management (BM) has received attention as corporations start perceiving pressures from consumers, NGOs, and governmental regulations, realizing the importance of BM to business survival. Due to the complexity of biodiversity, many companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), are still struggling to implement BM along their supply chain. As the launch of the European Green Deal and similar environmental initiatives are approaching, biodiversity issues will become an urgent topic for companies. This is especially the case for the textile and apparel industry, which recently gained attention for its negative impacts on biodiversity and its complicated supply chain all over the world. Despite the increased attention, knowledge on how the industry is contributing to biodiversity and implementing BM is lacking. To shed light on this research gap, this paper content analyzed Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) reports of the sector in diverse organizational sizes. The sample selection procedures resulted in 152 organizations, covering SMEs, multinational, and large enterprises. With the focus of their most recent reports on GRI database, this paper aims to discover the contribution of biodiversity in the industry by looking into its state of biodiversity reporting and discuss the potential practices of implementing BM along its supply chain. For this reason, this paper is expected to result in three main contributions. One is the academic inputs as this paper will be the first paper focused on the biodiversity contributions in this particular industry. Another is the business and political indications, showing the feasibility of a more transparent supply chain facing one of the most urgent environmental issues, biodiversity loss. The other is the social impacts, changing the public attitude of their consumption behavior on textiles and apparel products.