Earth Day: Fast Facts on the Environmental Impact of the Fashion Industry
THE FASHION LAW
From the marked increase in the number of garments that consumers purchase each year and the ever-decreasing amount of time before those products are discarded to the greenhouse gas emissions directly linked to the fashion and apparel industries and the reduction targets set by a group of 60 or so United Nations charter signatories, here are a few fast (fashion) facts to consider on Earth Day …
8 percent – The percent of global climate impacts – the equivalent of 3,990 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2016 – that the apparel and footwear industries together account for. (Quantis)
30 percent – The percentage of greenhouse gas emission reductions that signatories of the United Nations’ Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action, such as The RealReal, Kering (which boasts an fascinating approach to sustainability), Levi’s, and Stella McCartney, aim to achieve by 2030. Signatories have also committed to analyze and set a decarbonization pathway for the fashion industry drawing on methodologies from the Science-Based Targets Initiative.
60 percent – The increase in the number of garments purchased each year between 2000 and 2014 by the average consumer. Across nearly every apparel category, consumers keep clothing items about half as long as they did 15 years ago. (McKinsey)
63 percent – The percentage of Americans who want businesses to take the lead on driving social and environmental change in the absence of government regulation. (Cone Communications).
10.5 million – The number of tons of clothing that Americans send to landfills every year. (Americans recycle or donate only 15 percent of their used clothing, while the rest goes into landfills, giving textiles one of the poorest recycling rates of any reusable material). (The Atlantic).
70 million – The number of barrels of oil are used each year to make the world’s polyester fiber, including one of the key textiles used in real fur alternatives. (Forbes)
$37.8 million – The cost of the unsold finished goods that Burberry destroyed in one year, according to its 2017/18 annual report. (The British brand announced that as of September 2017, it no longer destroys unsold products).
1.2 billion – Total greenhouse gas emissions related to textiles production annually, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
150 billion – The number of new garments produced each year as of 2010, which means that nine years later, the number is almost certainly higher. (MIT).