We are going through a climate crunch time and it is time to go beyond the usual conversations around supply chain issues, textiles recycling, buying less and buying better — focusing instead on how fashion can halt its contribution to global warming, radically and quickly.
According to 2018 figures, the global apparel and footwear industry produced more greenhouse gases than France, Germany and the UK combined. Totaling 2.1 billion tons of CO2 emissions — around four percent of total global emissions. Without significant action, will increase to around 2.7 billion tons a year by 2030.
UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said, “We must keep global warming to 1.5°C (and not 2°C as per the 2016 Paris Agreement) to avoid risky and irreversible effects like changing weather patterns and loss of biodiversity.”
Human activity is estimated to have caused approximately 1°C of global warming already, compared to pre-industrial levels. This number is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.
That is 11 years away! Rising sea levels, floods and droughts will bring things like food insecurity which will destabilize society and the economy as we know it — including how we live our day-to-day life.
Global Fashion Agenda CEO Eva Kruse said, “Real, long-lasting change hinges on the fashion industry’s ability to derive together.”
It is the perfect time to reform our manufacturing structure. We can recycle fabrics from fabric waste and consumer waste. Recycling itself is an energy-intensive method but it is normally better than extracting raw resources.
Transferring to renewable energy sources and improving energy efficiency could decrease emissions by one billion tons by 2030.
For brands’ operations — which have the potential to bring 20% of the essential reductions — priorities can be loosely categorized into logistics and the scale of production.
At present, only 60% of garments are sold at full price due to intense overproduction; producing fewer garments with more recycled fibers will be essential.
Packaging, transport and retail operations could all be made more maintainable, resulting in a potential reduction of 308 million tons of CO2 by 2030.
We encourage a more conscious approach to consumption, centered around circular commercial models — including rental, resale, recycling and repair — that could contribute 347 million tons of emissions abatement.
Consumers can also take steps to decrease their emissions by reducing the washing and drying of clothes already in their wardrobes as well as mending or upcycling old clothes rather than discarding them.