Fashion industry alone comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions
Fashion industry alone comprises 10% of total global carbon emissions. Total greenhouse gas emissions from textiles production, at 1.2 billion tonnes annually, are more than both the aviation and shipping sectors combined. By some estimates, sector emissions are expected to rise by more than 60 percent by 2030.
According to the Quantis International 2018 report of Apparel Life Cycle Stages, dyeing and finishing (36%), yarn preparation (28%) and fibre production (15%) are the three main drivers of the industry’s global pollution impacts. Cellulose fiber production consumes 120 million trees per year, and ancient and endangered forests in Brazil, Indonesia and North America have been damaged by logging for the cellulose fiber, according to Canopy. Fashion also produces nearly 20% of global wastewater, or around 93 billion cubic metres from textile dyeing, according to the UN Environment Programme. The world at least generated an estimated 92 milllion tonnes of textiles waste every year and that number is expected to soar up to 134 million tonnes a year by 2030.
The fashion industry is increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability. Do you know any new trends in reducing environmental impact and promoting ethical practices?
Circular Fashion. The concept of circular fashion involves designing, producing, and consuming clothing in a way that minimizes waste and maximizes the lifespan of garments. This includes initiatives such as clothing rental, secondhand markets, and clothing recycling programs. Brands are also exploring innovative materials and production techniques that allow for easier recycling and upcycling of garments.
Ethical and Fair-Trade Practices. Consumers are demanding greater transparency and accountability from fashion brands. Ethical and fair-trade practices ensure that workers involved in the production process are paid fair wages, provided safe working conditions, and have their rights protected. Brands are increasingly partnering with certified fair-trade organizations and adopting ethical sourcing policies to support social well-being.
Sustainable Materials. Fashion brands are shifting towards using sustainable materials that have a lower environmental impact compared to traditional materials. This includes using organic cotton, recycled polyester, hemp, and other eco-friendly fabrics. Additionally, there is a growing interest in exploring alternative materials like vegan leather and innovative textiles made from agricultural waste or recycled materials.
Supply Chain Transparency. Transparency is crucial for addressing sustainability issues in the fashion industry. Consumers want to know where and how their clothes are made. Brands are adopting supply chain transparency initiatives, such as blockchain technology and certifications, to provide information about the origin, production processes, and social and environmental impacts of their products.
Slow Fashion. Slow fashion is a movement that encourages consumers to shift away from fast-paced, disposable fashion and embrace more mindful and sustainable consumption habits. It promotes quality over quantity, encourages repairing and upcycling clothing, and emphasizes long-lasting styles that are less likely to go out of fashion quickly.
Water Conservation. The fashion industry is one of the largest consumers of water, from crop irrigation to dyeing and finishing processes. Brands are adopting water-saving technologies and practices, such as waterless dyeing techniques, improved wastewater treatment, and reducing water usage throughout the supply chain.
Carbon Footprint Reduction. Fashion brands are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint by adopting renewable energy sources, optimizing transportation and logistics, and improving energy efficiency in manufacturing processes. Some brands are also investing in carbon offset programs to mitigate the emissions they cannot yet eliminate.
Education and Consumer Awareness. Increasingly, fashion brands are focusing on educating consumers about sustainable practices, encouraging them to make more informed purchasing decisions. This includes providing information on sustainable materials, care instructions to extend the lifespan of garments, and promoting conscious consumerism.
These are just a few of the sustainability trends shaping the fashion industry. The industry is constantly evolving, and innovative practices are emerging to address its environmental and social challenges. By adopting these trends, fashion brands can contribute to a more sustainable and responsible industry.
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