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Fashion Makes More Carbon Emissions Than Some Air Travel

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According to a recent report by Dame Ellen MacArthur’s foundation, published on Tuesday, the fashion industry produces greenhouse emissions of 1.2 billion tons a year. According to The Guardian, this amount of greenhouse gas emissions is more than some of the international flights and shipping combined that are currently operating around the world. The report also contains solutions to the problem and has already been backed by luxury designer Stella McCartney, who believes that the industry is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment. Other leading brands which have backed the report are H&M, Nike, and the C&A Foundation.

Fashion waste

The report says that the fashion industry was responsible for 2 percent of the carbon budget based on the 2 degree scenario in 2015. If left unchecked, the growth rate of the industry would increase its carbon budget to 26 percent by 2050. One of the main factors responsible for the wastage in the fashion industry is the increasing demand for new clothes and the decreasing number of times the clothes are worn before they are thrown out. The report also suggests that the clothing production has doubled over the period of the last 15 years and will triple by 2050, if the current rate of growth sustains itself.

Fast fashion

The MacArthur Foundation spends much of the 150 pages in the report offering solutions to the problem. MacArthur told The Guardian, “Today’s textile industry is built on an outdated linear, take-make-dispose model and is hugely wasteful and polluting. We need a new textile economy in which clothes are designed differently, worn longer, and recycled and reused much more often.” Here are four steps which would have to be followed in order to rework the textile economy:
1. Phase out substances of concern and microfibre release, by aligning industry efforts and coordinate innovation to create safe material cycles.

2. Transform the way clothes are designed, sold and used to break free from their increasingly disposable nature, by scaling up closing rental schemes; making durability more attractive; and increasing clothing utilisation through brand commitments and policy.

3. Radically improve recycling by transforming clothing design, collection and reprocessing; pursuing innovation to improve the economics and quality of recycling; stimulating demand for recycling materials; and implementing clothing collection at scale.

4. Make effective use of resources and move to renewable inputs.

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