Everything You Need to Know About COP28 – ADJOAA
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Everything You Need to Know About COP28

According to NASA, 2023 had the highest temperatures since records began in 1880. It’s a sign that climate change is now about climate action. Gone are the days when climate change was a hotly debated conspiracy theory since it has become an unavoidable reality. 

As a supporter and champion of sustainable African brands, the COP28 hits close to home for our team at ADJOAA. Out of the 20 countries most affected by climate change, 17 of them are in Africa. In addition, the fashion industry accounts for 10% of global emissions. The decisions made at COP28 will determine the type of actions and speed at which climate change is dealt with.  

All of this considered, COP28 needs to inspire true change because global warming is an undeniable threat. The summit runs for two weeks, but not everyone has the time to follow such a long event. So, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about COP28 and what it means for our climate future.  

What is COP28?

The COP or Conference of the Parties is an initiative started by the United Nations in 1995. The COP, meaning ‘Conference of the Parties’ is an annual summit of global leaders to assess the progress of climate change actions and goals. Every COP is hosted by a different nation and leader with 2023 marking the 28th climate change summit, which was hosted in Expo City, Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. 

The Loss and Damage Fund

Sadly, the countries that are the most affected by climate change contribute the least to it. These countries are characterised by geographic vulnerability to harsh weather and a lack of funds available to deal with the fallout of climate change. 

The COP28 opened with a historic move, developing countries agreed to compile a loss and damage fund, which would signal a commitment of developed nations to provide financial compensation for the destruction caused by global warming. The groundwork for this agreement had been established years earlier and was finally agreed upon at last year’s COP27 summit in Egypt. 

However, the financial pledges to the Loss and Damage Fund have fallen short of what is needed. It is difficult to measure the total financial damages of climate change but the estimates are in the hundred billions. So far, just over $700m (USD) has been pledged to the fund with the top contributions being $108m from Italy and France, followed by $100m from the UAE and Germany. How the funds will be used and distributed among developing and vulnerable countries is also yet to be revealed. In the meantime, the World Bank would be an interim trustee for the next four years.  

Leading or leaving: World leaders and their responses to climate change

At the COP28, all eyes were on countries whose economies relied the most on fossil fuels and oils. The top greenhouse gas emitters include: 

China: China’s president, Xi Jinping wasn’t present at COP28. However, the Chinese climate envoy acknowledged that the COP28 wouldn’t be successful without a fossil fuels agreement. However, China’s economy is heavily reliant on fossil fuels and the envoy said that the transition to renewable energy sources needs to be done in a way that still allows economies to grow. 

United States: U.S. President Joe Biden also wasn’t present at COP28 and Vice President Kamala Harris was sent in his stead, leading to a mixed reaction. Initially, the US had pledged $17.5m to the Loss and Damage fund but after facing criticism Harris announced a $3bn pledge to the Green Climate Fund. 

India: India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at COP28 and the overall stance was that wealthy nations have a responsibility to lead climate change innovations. However, India is also heavily reliant on coal for energy production and is the third biggest producer of carbon emissions. Delegates and representatives are still working towards an agreement. 

Russia: Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s presence at COP28 and is followed by a history of considering climate change as not mainly caused by human activities. This year, Russia along with Saudi Arabia have emphasised focusing on emissions more than fossil fuels and has discussed the West unfreezing gold reserves to use for the climate damage fund.  

Japan: At COP28, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that Japan would not build coal power plants that have no measures to reduce emissions. Japan also said they would take actions to reduce reliance on currently operating coal power plants. However, those actions weren’t elaborated on. 

The shared concern among countries that are top emitters is how to create an agreement that also doesn’t hamper economic growth and energy security. But without concrete plans detailing how these countries are going to achieve climate change goals, objectives are forgotten and climate change action will remain as an idea. 

Final Decisions

One of the main debates at this year’s COP28 is getting nearly 200 countries to agree on how to reduce fossil fuel emissions, whether that involves phasing them out or getting rid of such usage altogether. Part of the difficulty of reaching a final decision is reaching a consensus on fossil fuels. The initial draft for a COP28 agreement released on Monday was rejected after facing criticism from nations for failing to call for a transition away from fossil fuels. This led to the COP28 running overtime with the final agreement being released on the 13th of December. 

Fossil fuels were officially recognised as the main contributor to climate change. It’s an acceptance that has been long overdue. Concrete steps towards phasing out fossil fuels have not been settled on yet. On behalf of the bloc for Least Developed Countries, Madeleine Diouf, Climate Minister for Senegal, said the agreement highlights: "the vast gap between developing country needs and the finance available, as well as underscoring rapidly dwindling fiscal space due to the debt crisis. Yet it fails to deliver a credible response to this challenge."

The main development from the COP28 final agreement is the creation of the first “global stocktake” of climate change. The overall aim of this is to keep global temperatures within 1.5°C of the average. The stocktake also calls for countries to rely less on coal and fossil fuels and more on renewable energy sources. 

ADJOAA’s approach to climate change

In the face of climate action uncertainty, at ADJOAA, we focus on doing what we can to help the cause, which includes: 

1. Supporting sustainable designers

At ADJOAA, our mission is to support cultural representation, equity and inclusivity. So, we work predominantly with independent designers and makers who take a considered, mindful and slow approach to manufacturing their products. They have a commitment to doing better for the environment and their workers by making limited batches of products with a greater focus on textile waste minimisation, using dead-stock fabrics and/or locally-made textiles. There is a level of intentionality and growing desire amongst our designers in contributing to the growth of their local economies and industries. Beyond this, our makers work closely with artisans supporting them with reliable and sustainable sources of employment, income and also upskilling them in their crafts. We take pride in the community of designers we work with and categorically say none of our 100 brands overproduce. 

This includes supporting brands like Dada Pedon, a London-based bag company that uses sustainable materials such as off cut leathers sourced and made in Senegal. In addition, we work with ethical Black-owned businesses from regions that are affected the most by climate change. These include locations that are heavily impacted by rising sea levels like the Caribbean where fashion brand The Cloth is based. Nigeria is also one of the countries most severely impacted by climate change and is proven to be a hub of fashionable creativity and sustainability. Ethical fashion labels like Aga Culture, Tribe of Elzar and Kkerele are still committed to creating fashion that is stylish and sustainable. 

2. Giving back to communities

We take a holistic approach to climate change and make sure to give back to the communities that contribute so much to African fashion. However, climate change can exacerbate poverty, disrupt schooling, careers and more. So, as part of our social impact, 1% of ADJOAA profits from proceeds sold will be allocated to our Social Initiatives Fund to support mentoring, education and internship programs in partnership with our designers in their home country in Africa. Our community of conscious shoppers will be engaged in deciding on which projects put forward by our ethical community of designers and makers to support with the funds.  

3. Our green (not greenwashing) initiatives

Our commitment of being a fuller circular economy platform means we are always punching above our weight either through the kinds/types of brands on our platform. ADJOAA has been an early adopter of the DHL GoGreen Plus initiative.  The project gives businesses the option of shipping their parcels 100% carbon-free. And that is precisely what we have been doing this year; offering carbon-neutral shipping on 100% of your orders. You can be rest assured the carbon footprint associated with shipments of purchases made through ADJOAA have been offset. This to a greater extent, is to maximise our sustainability efforts.

We also have plans in the pipeline to further actualise more of our green initiatives such as tree planting in partnership with our key stakeholders and partners in Ghana and Nigeria in 2024. 

Find out more about ADJOAA and our mission to build a better and more fashionable future, head to our home page. From there you can find 100+ ethical, sustainable African brands that are committed to making a positive change for the climate and for our future.  

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