Wealth – By Julia Warrander and Russell Waite, of Affinity Private Wealth
MOST of us are very aware of the dangers to the climate caused by the burning of fossil fuels or intensive farming. However, research suggests there is not the same awareness about the impact our clothes have on our planet.
The apparel industry is responsible for 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions – the same as the countries of Germany, France and the UK combined. Beyond these emissions, it is also one of the most polluting industries.
Clothing is manufactured with highly toxic dyes and heavy metals. These are then flushed into our water streams and rivers, where they harm ecosystems and accelerate biodiversity loss.
Growing textile volumes, driven by consumer demand for fast fashion, have exacerbated these issues, magnifying the environmental impacts across the value chain. In addition, selling practices can further contribute to the waste problem, including excessive discounting and poor inventory management.
The pursuit of sustainable fashion
The good news is the fashion sector is increasingly aware of the role it must play in reducing emissions. Decarbonised production by increasing the use of renewable energy is a path being followed, as is efficiency improvements across spinning, weaving and knitting. Embracing the use of sustainable materials is fundamental too. However, we, as consumers, also have a responsibility to change our habits.
Product waste has long been a chronic issue across this sector. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, there is an estimated $500 billion in lost resources and opportunity from under-utilised textile waste and non-recycled clothing every year.
One-fifth of the emissions abatement potential across the fashion industry is directly related to consumer actions in the use-phase and end-of-use phase, enabled by conscious consumption and new industry business models. To tap into these opportunities, these models include rental, subscription rental and recommerce.
By 2030, we need to live in a world in which one-in-five fashion garments are traded through the circular economy. Why not think about this the next time you walk past one of Jersey’s many fantastic charity shops or second-hand clothing stores. We are confident you will find something ‘new’ to wear for the next time you are ‘out out’.