Home/eBook: 5 ways fashion brands can engage climate friendly consumers
August 26, 2022

5 ways fashion brands can engage climate friendly consumers

 

Fashion ebook cover

 

The vast majority of fashion consumers are demanding climate friendly choices, so fashion brands must take climate action now.


Today, we are seeing the effects of climate change across the globe with extreme weather events, droughts and floods in every region. Yet, if industries and consumers can exist more sustainably and cut back carbon emissions, we can halt and possibly reverse climate change.

Fashion is one of the most detrimental industries to our planet. It generates high levels of air pollution, wastewater and landfill, and it causes high rates of injury, illness and disease for the millions of underpaid labourers who transform raw materials into finished goods.

Today, consumers are pulling away from fashion brands that are part of this problem. In fact, the vast majority of people want brands to enact real change that reduces pollution and waste, and restores our balance with the planet.

In response, smart retailers are accelerating efforts to become more sustainable. An increasing number of fashion brands are even encouraging consumers to become more sustainable themselves, for example, by embracing sustainable materials and offsetting the carbon emissions of their shopping cart.

In our latest eBook, we explore the impact of the fashion industry on climate change, what brands can do to accelerate a more transparent pathway towards sustainability, and how smart brands can engage and activate the growing number of climate friendly consumers.

 

Download your free copy today!

 

When you last went shopping for a pullover or hoodie, you probably focused more on the cut, wash, and hem than the carbon footprint it would leave behind.

With many big fashion brands having recently declared their intentions to become “carbon neutral,” the question of how far the garment industry still has to go to eradicate its carbon footprint has become more central to the discussion.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) estimates that the worldwide fashion business, worth an estimated $2.5 trillion, accounts for around 10% of total emissions, or, to put it another way, more than the shipping and aviation industries combined.

Furthermore, the pace at which we consume “quick fashion” is astonishing. The number of garments produced by the world’s textile mills has almost quadrupled since 2000, when it was estimated at roughly 50 billion. In addition, every new product is formed in a factory that uses enormous quantities of energy, heat, and water, often in regions of the globe where these resources are scarce.

A single pound of cotton used to manufacture one pair of denim pants requires ten thousand gallons of water. One individual would need 10 years to consume 10,000 litres of water as an example. Website of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Fortunately, well-known fashion labels are taking environmental action and investing heavily in a cleaner future, joining the ranks of the many other businesses already working to cut CO2 emissions and embrace sustainability.

The lingo might be a little overwhelming if you’re trying to lessen your environmental impact by purchasing more eco-friendly apparel. What does it mean, for instance, for a clothing brand to say that its products are “carbon neutral”? Does it still produce carbon dioxide even if it afterwards plants many trees? Does it have a solar-powered factory? Or maybe a combination of approaches is required.

Let’s do some investigating into the modern period of eco-fashion and see if we can’t unearth any solutions.

 

To what extent can a clothing line reduce its carbon footprint?

 

Carbon neutral is sometimes misunderstood to suggest that an organisation has not contributed to any pollution, however this is not the case.

By acquiring carbon offsets to support initiatives that cut emissions by the same amount, a firm may claim to be carbon neutral even if it cannot remove all of its greenhouse gas emissions.

One metric tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2) is eliminated from the environment for every confirmed carbon offset sold through terrapass. To guarantee the greatest possible environmental benefit, each offset is formally measured, tallied, verified, and monitored.

If a clothing company is serious about being carbon neutral, there are three crucial actions they must take.

  • Determine: Your Annual Carbon Footprint: Before a business can even discuss being carbon neutral, it has to determine how much carbon pollution it produces each year. In and of itself, this is a major achievement since it reveals where the firm generates carbon emissions and how those emissions might be reduced.
  • Reduce: The next phase is to cut down on carbon output as much as feasible. It may take a company years to create and implement a strategy like this since it usually entails making substantial changes to the way the organisation operates and spending a lot of money on cutting-edge technology.
  • Buying carbon offsets is the last stage in mitigating emissions that were not completely removed in a given year. Carbon emission reduction programmes benefit greatly from the money offsets bring in. Typically, businesses would depend more heavily on carbon offsetting in the first few years of a carbon neutrality strategy, and then gradually decrease their reliance on carbon offsetting as they become more efficient at reducing emissions.

 

There will be a wide range of approaches used by carbon-neutral clothing labels, but they will all contribute to the growth of eco-friendly fashion. The adoption of carbon offsets by the fashion industry to lessen its negative effect on the environment is encouraging, especially in light of the fact that the sector’s yearly sales are growing.

 

The steps used in carbon offset projects

 

Even though you have a better grasp on the concept of carbon neutrality now, you may still have some questions.

Carbon offsetting initiatives may come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, (we outline ours here), but they all have the common objective of lowering our CO2 emissions. A carbon offset, in its simplest form, is any activity that reduces or compensates for emissions of greenhouse gases.

When a fashion company makes an investment in carbon offsets, it reaps rewards beyond just reducing its carbon impact. In addition to assisting with the upkeep and growth of already-established sustainability initiatives, revenue generated from the sale of carbon offsets may pave the way for the launch of brand-new projects that would not have been viable without them.

 

In what other ways can companies help lower the fashion industry’s carbon footprint?

 

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about climate change and global warming, and that has put the spotlight on the whole fashion supply chain.

And many of the world’s greatest sustainable apparel businesses are doing a lot more than just buying carbon offsets to counteract their carbon dioxide emissions.

Organic fabrics: more and more companies are seeing the environmental advantages of using organic cotton and other materials, which use less resources in their production.

The use of recycled and recovered materials, which have a far lesser carbon impact than virgin materials, has increased rapidly in recent years. Patagonia, an American apparel company, says that their recycled cotton produces 70% less greenhouse gas emissions than regular cotton.

Using renewable resources: Installing rooftop solar panels, negotiating green energy arrangements with utilities, and buying renewable energy credits are just a few examples of the ways that fashion brands are shifting to renewable energy (RECs). Energy efficiency in manufacturing is receiving more and more attention, particularly as it relates to machinery, lighting, heating, and packaging, all of which contribute to the factory’s total power use.

In 2019, the world-famous luxury goods label Gucci said it had achieved carbon neutrality via the use of renewable energy, alterations to its product design and production methods, increased efficiency in the use of energy, and funding of carbon offset programmes.

While the industry as a whole still has a ways to go before reaching full sustainability, Gucci CEO Marco Bizzari said that it was crucial for his firm to lead the way:

More and more, we need to take decisive action. We are not flawless, and we are not claiming to be the best; rather, we are demonstrating that this is possible in the hopes that others would follow in our footsteps.

Market leaders that adopt sustainability frequently cause a ripple effect that extends across their whole industry, as we have seen lately in the IT sector. We are optimistic that this trend will continue to grow in popularity since many of the most well-known fashion companies in the world have either achieved or committed to carbon neutrality.

 

How Can We Best Adopt Eco-Friendly Clothing Trends?

 

In the midst of debates over the environmental impact of the fashion industry, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that customers have enormous influence over what businesses do.

While supporting eco-friendly companies by purchasing their products is one option, there are many additional methods to lessen the impact that your wardrobe has on the environment.

  • Buy from companies that reduce their carbon footprint and treat their workers fairly.
  • In order to reduce your impact on the environment, it is recommended that you support local fashion designers and producers.
  • Look for gently used items at garage sales, flea markets, or even among your friends and relatives.
  • You can fix your worn out garments instead of tossing them away.
  • Invest in durable, long-lasting pieces of apparel.
  • Instead of using an electric dryer, consider washing your clothing in cold water and letting them dry naturally.
  • Further lowering your carbon impact is possible via purchasing carbon offsets, which go toward funding environmental initiatives in NZ, Asia and other countries.

 

Use the Carbonclick carbon footprint calculator to get a better idea of your yearly CO2 emissions, and then choose from our variety of certified carbon offsets to help bring the natural balance back into harmony with your footprint.

Although there is still a long way to go, it is heartening to see the fashion industry making huge progress toward a more sustainable future. Because of the efforts of some of the most well-known companies and the increasing environmental consciousness of the general public, we have high hopes that soon carbon-neutral clothing will become not just fashionable but the standard.