The clothing industry is responsible for 8 per cent of carbon emissions. Here's what they're doing about it.

The entire world is talking about climate change. The clothing industry is no exception. There are many creative ways that clothing companies are looking to slow, or even halt, the effects of climate change. But the major shift we need isn't going to happen overnight.

Whose Responsibility Is It?

This is one of the most pivotal questions being asked within the clothing industry right now. Is it the consumer's responsibility to purchase clothing responsibly, therefore encouraging companies with lower carbon emissions, or purchasing used clothing that doesn't contribute to emissions, hardly, at all? Or is it the textile companies' job to lead the way by reducing emissions and being mindful of what they are releasing into the environment? Or a third option, is it the clothing brands' job to only place their labels on responsibly-produced clothing, promoting a cleaner, greener future?

There are all important questions.

The fact is, the industry itself is projected to increase carbon emissions, increasing the already-high 8 per cent contributed at the moment. That is, unless something changes.

Awareness is Growing

Fortunately, awareness of the environmental impact of clothing production and consumption is growing both on the side of consumers, and also on the end of brands and suppliers.

Fashion brands are responding to the voice of educated consumers, and are taking voluntary action to improve their standards. The most active group, both when it comes to trend-buying and trendsetting, is the younger generation. Younger consumers are often those most fired-up about climate change, but that also begs the question… is climate change awareness simply another trend that younger buyers have started to follow? And if so, how long will eco-friendly fashion stay in style?

The Science of Fashion Waste

Less than 2 per cent of clothing is produced in the United States, so many American buyers are less aware of clothing production methods. Because of this, the bulk of this massive group of consumers can't see that clothing production starts… and sometimes ends… with oil. Oil powers much of the machinery needed to produce clothing, and it also powers the vehicles that ship it around the world.

Hundreds of energy-intensive steps are taken to produce an item of clothing, and the energy is often produced by fossil fuels. This process creates unfortunate emissions that many buyers never even see.