What is the role of the fashion industry in climate change?

Amman Today

publish date 2022-02-04 09:21:05

The World Economic Forum has confirmed that the fashion industry is responsible for an estimated 10% of carbon emissions caused by humanity and has the fifth largest carbon footprint of any industry.
Consumers are increasingly aware of the climate impact of clothing, especially cheap fast fashion, and brands are making changes for the better.

Why is fashion so bad for the environment?

Every second, a truckload of ready-to-wear clothing is taken to a landfill or incineration, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
A report issued by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development found that about 93 billion cubic meters of water, enough to meet the needs of five million people, is used in the fashion industry annually, and about half a million tons of microfibers, which is equivalent to three million barrels of oil, are dumped. Into the ocean every year, meanwhile, garment factories in developing countries dump harmful chemicals such as dyes and bleaches into waterways.
A 2021 report by a coalition of green groups accused the global fashion industry of developing a “dangerous addiction” to synthetic fibers made from fossil fuels in order to provide shoppers with rapidly increasing quantities of discarded clothing.
The research revealed that some brands now release as many as 20 collections per year, and that people buy 60% more clothes than they did 15 years ago, but only wear them for half the time, and pointed to concerns about the conditions experienced by garment workers in developing countries. like Bangladesh.

What are clothing brands doing about it?
Major manufacturers have made pledges and initiatives to reduce carbon emissions, for example, Nike pledged to reduce carbon emissions at owned and operated facilities by 65 percent, to recycle or donate ten times the amount of post-consumer waste, and to increase the use of environmentally preferable materials to 50 percent cent by 2025.
Adidas is working to increase its sustainability and use of recycled materials, as the brand aims to use only recycled polyester from 2024 onwards to reduce its environmental impact, and aims to reduce water consumption in production.
However, Greenpeace sees many of these sustainability initiatives as either inadequate or an attempt to “greenwash”, as companies celebrate their ethical and environmental initiatives in advertising and public relations to please consumers and divert attention from questionable activities.
For example, H&M’s Global Recycling Week, in which their goal was to collect and recycle 1,000 tons of used clothing, has been criticized as an “illusion” of what true sustainability is as only one percent of the clothes collected can be used as recycled fibres.

What challenges do fashion companies face when trying to be sustainable?
Jeff van Sonsbeek, founder and CEO of House of Baukjen, the first-ever fashion brand to win the United Nations Global Climate Action Award, said the industry must change the way it thinks to produce less quantity, but higher quality clothing, and implement a circular economy program where Waste is not produced in the first place.
“Systematic change is required. They need to understand that slow fashion is the way forward, buy less, buy better quality, wear longer,” he added, adding: “It’s hard for most companies even to imagine how they can change from a traditional linear model to A circular model, for them, is a fundamental shift in thinking and operating.”
Sunspeake highlights several challenges that fashion companies may face as most of them operate on low margins and this naturally leads to resistance to any change, as well as challenges related to sourcing and supply chain, and sometimes it is not clear which is the “best” environmental option.

Why is it important to be sustainable in the fashion industry?
According to Sonspeak, consumers are increasingly turning their backs on fashion companies that are not committed to protecting the planet, governments are increasing regulatory penalties and taxes, and interventions are costly and will continue to rise and eat up already slim profit margins.
“With everything that’s going on, and specifically in terms of industry reports, I don’t think companies can afford to completely ignore sustainability,” he notes, noting that “companies that haven’t yet woken up on this issue will also lose their business, as many consumers consciously turn toward clothing.” The more quality, the responsibility, the sharing economy, this is the future.”

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Source : اخبار الاردن

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