The apparel industry accounts for 6.7 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and together with the footwear industry generates a total of eight per cent. If the global apparel industry doesn’t change, proportion could increase by 49 per cent over the next 15 years.
The industry’s value chains stretch across seven stages – from fiber production/material extraction to end-of-life. Yarn preparation and dyeing and finishing are the phases with the highest environmental impact.
Numerous standards offer regulations for these negative impacts, such as the Oeko-Tex Standard, the Global Organic Textile Standard, the Fair Trade Standard, and others. However, these regulations are often just as complex as the textile industry itself. Any difference can cause in consumers, as well as in retailers, more confusion than responsible decisions. There is a lack of universality of standards.
Last year, several fashion brands, including Levi’s, Gap and Nike, joined a global effort to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global warming by two degrees. The latest fashion brand to sign up is Spanish clothing company Skunkfunk.
Among the recommended steps are increasing efficiency by switching to renewable energy, disrupting through digitisation and designing for the future. The power of data and transparency will take care of the rest.