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G7 to target fashion's climate footprint: French minister



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The G7 will commit to tackling the heavy environmental and climate impacts of the fashion and textiles sector, France's ecological transition minister said Monday.

The Group of Seven industrialised nations meeting for two-day talks in Italy will declare in a statement Tuesday that "we must face the issue we have with fast fashion", minister Christophe Bechu told AFP.

Ministers in Turin hope to rein in "the uncontrolled development of the textile industry, which is responsible for lots of plastic pollution and (greenhouse gas) emissions", he said.

"The emissions of textiles are already more important than all African emissions," he added.

Emissions drive global warming and must be slashed nearly in half this decade if countries have a chance of keeping in play the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit warming at 1.5 Celsius.

The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US.

The Turin declaration is the first time the G7 has talked tough on textile emissions, according to Bechu, who said it underscored "that fashion must become more circular, there must be more recycling".

It is expected to direct an international G7 forum on resource efficiency to come up with concrete actions countries can adopt, from increasing producer responsibility to improving supply chain transparency. Total greenhouse gas emissions per year from textiles production are greater than those emitted by all international flights and maritime ships combined, the McKinsey consultancy firm said in December.

Environmentalists have long urged the sector to slow down or end the wasteful trend of mass-producing low-cost clothes that are quickly thrown away.

Fast fashion, they charge, uses up massive amounts of water, produces hazardous chemicals and clogs up landfills in poor countries with textile waste, while also generating greenhouse gases in production, transport and disposal.

The European Environment Agency warned last month that Europe must accelerate efforts to transform its economy into a circular one focussed on reusing or repurposing materials if it is to meet climate targets.

A recent EEA study showed that four to nine percent of textiles introduced to the European market ended up being destroyed without ever having been used.

The G7 pledge follows a vote in France's parliament in March to back a string of measures making low-cost fast fashion, especially from Chinese mass producers, less attractive to buyers.(AFP)

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