Making Climate Uniforms for COP27 Has Become a Sustainability ‘Privilege’

Though the climate deal-making, discussions and outreach anticipated at COP27 (the U.N. climate summit held Nov. 6 to 18 in Egypt) is the main focus — attire is hardly an afterthought.

The outfitting for the event has become a stamp of approval on apparel supply chain sustainability efforts, separating fashion leaders from followers.

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This year, Alpine Group — the event’s uniform sponsor and manufacturer to Under Armour and American Eagle Outfitters — is thinking of not only recycling opportunities but social impact. The manufacturer will provide around 22,500 uniform pieces to the COP27 event staff for the duration of the “biggest climate event of the year,” in the words of Clare Woodford, global director of impact and marketing at Alpine Group.

The uniforms vary from logoed polo T-shirts and pants, to caps and chef’s coats, catering to all workers at COP27, and all are made from recycled textile waste.

Each division of team members will wear different colored items to designate their job functions: ushers wear blue, volunteers wear blue or black with a red tie, security wears black and GreenZone ushers wear Green.

“Alpine Group has operated as Alex Apparels in Egypt for 25 years and as the largest global exporter of apparel in Egypt to the U.S. for 2021 to 2022, it was an honor to be asked to provide the official uniforms for COP27,” Woodford told WWD. “Being part of COP27, such an important climate event for the government of Egypt, is a privilege. It was imperative to the Group that this activity aligned with the wider sustainability ambitions, therefore a drop-off point for the uniforms has been provided at the Alpine Group booth in the GreenZone. These will then be donated to the Egyptian Clothing Bank [a nonprofit donation partner] after COP27 for either donation or repurposing, supporting local communities in Egypt and keeping the materials in circulation.”

Though the uniforms are a subtle nod to the firm’s sustainability aims, Alpine Group continues to invest in the region with its buildout of what it calls the “factory of the future.” Due to open next year, the Leed-certified factory will add additional production capacity for 10 million garments (or some 2,000 jobs) in Egypt. Innovation comes in the form of its majority solar-powered energy and electric vehicles onsite, among other callouts.

The textile manufacturer is also partnering with U.K.-based charity Freedom4Girls to support female empowerment and education on period poverty (or inability to access menstrual products) by supporting the nonprofit’s Dignity Kit program. The initiative diverts pre-consumer textile waste from Alpine Group’s garment manufacturing to be used in basic supplies for menstruation (things like breathable liners). The goal is to create a minimum of 50,000 Dignity Kits every year, as well as put 3,000 women through accompanying training programs that foster sewing skills.

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