These facts give a slight insight into the dark side of the fashion industry.
1. Toxic Air
The fashion industry causes 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Producing more emissions than all international flights and shipping combined. (World Economic Forum)
2. Water Wastage
It takes 2,700 litres of water to make one cotton shirt. That’s an average of what one person typically drinks in 2.5 years. (World Economic Forum)
3. Pesticide and Poison
Up to 16% of the world’s pesticides are used in cotton farming every year. The chemicals degrade soil and pollute water as well as poising cotton pickers. (World Economic Forum)
4. Microplastic Ocean
A single clothes wash can release up to 700,000 microplastic fibres, many of which end up in the ocean. (Economist)
5. Rise of Polyester
From 2000 to 2016 the use of polyester by the garment industry rose 8.30m tonnes to 21m tonnes annually. (Economist)
6. Landfill Rubbish
Discarded clothing made of non-biodegradable fabrics can sit in landfills for up to 200 years. (World Economic Forum)
7. Fibres in Fish
Fish in the seas are eating synthetic fibres dislodged in the wash. (bbc.co.uk)
8. Animal Cruelty
Animals are hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive so their fur can be used for clothes. (peta.org)
9. Endangered Exotic Animals
In addition to being cruel, this industry is extremely wasteful: it can take the skins of four crocodiles to make a single bag. (peta.org)
10. Exploiting Manufacturing Workers
The textile industry has appalling exploitive working conditions, with 96 hours per week being the normal working week for a garment worker in a third world manufacturing country. (sustainyourstyle.org)
As more shocking truths become exposed, attitudes in consumers are changing. This can be seen through the rise of the #whomademyclothes social media hashtag increasing from 113k in 2015 to 533m in 2017.
People want transparency into the journey of their fashion choices.
The industry needs more social enterprises – businesses dedicated into being transparent, sustainable, ethical and fair.
Read more about 4 social enterprises changing the fashion industry for the better in our blog on Social Impact with Fashion.
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