A recent report released by McKinsey, outlines the effects the international fashion industry has on the climate. Off the back of covid, our disrupted livelihoods, uncertain global economies and social movements, further scrutiny has been given to social issues including the challenges faced by the fashion industry. There has been heightened awareness and conversation around the environmental impact the industry has on greenhouse gas emissions, overproduction and wastage and as a result how to reduce these systemic issues.
In response the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the industry is targeting to cut emissions by 50 per cent to reach a 1.5 °C degree target, and play its part in taking action against greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions causing climate change, rising sea levels, heatwaves and destruction to ecosystems that affect our future.
The apparel and footwear industry combined produce more greenhouse gases than France, Germany and the UK combined in 2018, totalling 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions — approximately four per cent of total global emissions. One of the contributing factors to this is overproduction, with only 60% of garments being sold at full price.
“The good news for the fashion industry is that many of the required actions can be delivered with beneficial economics,” says Karl-Hendrik Magnus, senior partner and co-leader of apparel, fashion and luxury at McKinsey. This includes transport, retail operations and packaging operating more sustainably.
By producing less garments, utilising recycled fabrics and fibres and making more conscious choices, the collaboration of the fashion industry and their suppliers can create a knock-on effect of encouraging sustainable consumer behaviours.
“Real, long-lasting change hinges on the fashion industry's ability to come together,” says Global Fashion Agenda CEO Eva Kruse.
Sources: McKinsey and Company Fashion on Climate Report; Vogue Business by Bella Webb