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Fashion's greenhouse gas emissions back to pre-pandemic levels

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Fashion |Report

Image: Plastic bottles

Fashion companies are increasingly reporting one or more “circular business-related activities” and growth in recycled materials, but consumption is back to pre-pandemic levels, as are greenhouse gas emissions.

In an annual report published by the Textile Exchange, the Material Change Insights 2022 report says transformational change is needed on three horizons: individual company action, companies acting collectively, and support from external enablers. Collecting data from 424 companies, including brands retailers, suppliers, the report says there is plenty of evidence to suggest that companies are thinking, strategizing, and building capacity to enable material change inside their companies but that change is not happening fast enough to achieve the climate positive target of a 45 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the biggest challenges for retailers is their reliance on conventional polyester, which is still the main material category at 65 percent compared to recycled polyester (35 percent). While the use of preferred materials, including renewable and recycled, climbed from 50 percent to 56 percent, recycled materials represent one quarter of the category.

Globally, the world’s fiber market is dominated by polyester (54 percent) with 14.8 percent estimated to be recycled.

The Textile Exchange said its strategic intent is to be a driving force for urgent climate action in textile fiber and raw materials production. It aims to do so by enabling and guiding the textile industry to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fiber and raw material production by 45 percent by 2030, and amplifying positive impacts on soil health, water, and biodiversity.

Liesl Truscott, Director, Industry Accountability & Insights, Textile Exchange, said the fashion industry is in transition.

Transformation will require policy, regulation, and finance flowing in the same and right direction (and not heavily subsidizing fossil-based energy and agriculture). It will also take companies working outside of silos.

In short, it will take more of what we are currently doing individually, it will take more than what we are currently doing collectively, and it will need more external support.

Read the full report at www.textileexchange.org

Sustainable Fashion
Textile Exchange