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Fast fashion faces rising sustainability pressure

Friday, August 16, 2019

Subject

Outlook for the fast fashion industry.

Significance

The fashion industry is the second most polluting in the world after the oil industry. The environmental footprint of a manufactured garment comprises a trail of multiple toxic processes from cotton planting (passing through processing and dyeing) and transport to the points of sale and finally, disposal after use. ‘Fast fashion’, premised on low cost and low durability, has widened this footprint by accelerating wasteful fashion consumption.

Impacts

  • Public awareness about climate change will help increase consumer concern about wasteful consumption, including of fashion items.
  • Policies to promote sustainable agriculture in cash crops such as cotton will have a positive spillover impact on the fashion industry.
  • Tax subsidies for firms that limit their environmental footprint would enable smaller ones to absorb the cost of sustainability actions.
  • The use of monofibres, which are more environmentally friendly, will rise gradually.
  • The trend among fashion firms towards buying back used products and reusing them in the production of new items will rise.
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