Fashion is a huge industry that affects 75 million people worldwide, with 80 percent of apparel produced by young women. According to a 2018 U.S. In Department of Labor report, there is evidence of child and forced labor in the fashion industry. In addition, the fast pace of consumption and short fashion cycles put an immense strain on resources, resulting in supply chains that place profit before human welfare.
The impact of sustainable fashion on the environment
Many non-profit missions and sustainable Forever 21 nonprofit initiatives aim to reduce the environmental impacts of the fashion industry. Some work with over 140 member brands to improve working conditions in global garment factories. Others are more localized, focusing on organic or fair-trade products.
These efforts are made possible by the growing interest in a sustainable fashion. According to the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, the fashion industry contributes between two and eight percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Some of these emissions are due to pumping water to irrigate crops, oil-based pesticides, machinery used for harvesting and transportation, and more. Another initiative is from a global community of cotton lovers committed to sustainable supply chains. Other organizations bring artists, designers, and non-profit organizations together to promote sustainable fashion.
The United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion (ASF) aims to combat the negative social and environmental impacts of fashion. It works with UN agencies to identify problems and solutions and to present these findings to governments.
Sustainable fashion and carbon footprint
The fast fashion industry has a staggering impact on society and the environment. It dries up freshwater sources, pollutes rivers, and is responsible for approximately two to eight percent of the world’s carbon emissions. In addition, the industry sends significant amounts of microplastics to the ocean when it is washed. Therefore, it is imperative that we all work towards creating a more sustainable fashion industry.
The fashion industry provides a valuable service to society by reducing waste and reducing the amount of clothing that is discarded prematurely. The annual value of clothing thrown away prematurely is estimated at $400 billion. In addition, the production of a single pair of jeans emits as much greenhouse gas as driving 80 miles. Non-biodegradable clothing can remain in landfills for up to 200 years. Meanwhile, the production of a single cotton shirt consumes more water than a person needs to drink water for two and a half years.
Sustainable fashion and non-profit missions can reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion industry, but there are challenges associated with this approach. One of the biggest obstacles is identifying and comparing the carbon footprint of various fashion companies. There is no single standard to measure the amount of carbon a fashion brand emits. However, some manufacturers are trying to develop methods of producing sustainable clothing that will help society and the planet.
There are a number of examples of non-profit organizations that are making a difference in the fashion industry. Some foundations promote sustainability by reducing the water and chemical footprint of clothing. Other foundations work to improve awareness of sustainable fashion and non-profit missions by bridging the gap between science and human rights.