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Carbon emissions from fashion industry to rise 60 per cent by 2030

"As per State of Fashion report 2018 released by McKinsey & Company, the ecological impact and the carbon footprint of the fast fashion industry, remains a cause of concern even though the industry has become more environmentally responsible and sustainable. The journal Natural Climate Change reveals the current total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production stand at 1.2 billion ton annually. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of the global carbon emissions and, according to UNFCCC, if the sector fails to adopt sustainable initiatives its emissions are likely to rise by more than 60 per cent by 2030."

 

Carbon emissions from fashion industry to rise 60 per cent by 2030 002As per State of Fashion report 2018 released by McKinsey & Company, the ecological impact and the carbon footprint of the fast fashion industry, remains a cause of concern even though the industry has become more environmentally responsible and sustainable.

Increase in textile emissions

The journal Natural Climate Change reveals the current total greenhouse gas emissions from textile production stand at 1.2 billion ton annually. The fashion industry is responsible for 10 per cent of the global carbon emissions and, according to UNFCCC, if the sector fails to adopt sustainable initiatives its emissions are likely to rise by more than 60 per cent by 2030.

As far as carbon footprints are concerned, manufacturing hubs China and India are the two major culprits. More than 60 per cent of textiles are used in the garment industry and a large proportion of clothes are manufactured in China and India, countries which rely on coal-fuelled power plants, increasing the footprint of each garment.

Use of sustainable materials

The production of polyester and cotton, two most commonly used fabrics in the industry, has a considerableCarbon emissions from fashion industry to rise 60 per cent by 2030 001 impact on the environment. The production of polyester results in more emissions since the material is produced from fossil fuels such as crude oil. As per estimates, 262 per cent more CO2 is emitted to produce a single polyester T-shirt than a cotton shirt. Therefore, as the Pulse of the Fashion Report 2018 suggests substituting polyester with its recyclable counterpart is advisable. This not only reduces the toxic substances by 90 per cent reduction, but also energy usage by 60 per cent and emissions by 40 per cent.

Garment longevity and carbon emissions

The average number of times a garment is worn before being discarded is 36 per cent compared to 15 years ago. After use, less than 1 per cent of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. An estimated $500 billion worth is lost every year due to this take-make-dispose model. If nothing changes, by 2050, the fashion industry could use more than 26 per cent of carbon budget associated with a 2C pathway, warns Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

But, it is possible to reduce the industry’s GHG emissions, says Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The foundation advises doubling the number of times a garment is worn. This would reduce GHG emissions by 44 per cent. Using low-carbon materials and production processes (including renewable energy and energy-efficiency measures) would further reduce the GHG emissions of a new system.

The next fashion trend

Recently 10 UN nations came together to establish the UN Alliance on Sustainable Fashion which will launched in March 2019. This alliance will target the private sector, governments of UN member states, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders to make sustainability the next fashion trend.

 
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