World Vision Ireland and the Irish Environmental Network recently joined forces with the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) to call on the next government to radically transform the fashion industry. The coalition urged Irish and European Union (EU) leaders for urgent action and restrictions on the global fast fashion industry, to make it more eco-friendly.
The coalition said more apparel is being produced, consumed and thrown away than ever before, putting immense pressure on our planet and the industry’s 60 million-strong global workforce.
“This year, EU leaders have a chance to back an ambitious Textile Strategy based on fairness and sustainability. It’s time to move fashion away from the pursuit of ever-more economic growth which is incompatible with stopping further environmental and climate breakdown, and reducing global inequalities,” said Patrizia Heidegger, director of global policies and sustainability at the EEB.
With the hugely damaging global growth of ‘fast fashion’, clothing production has doubled from 2000 to 2014, with more than 150 billion garments now produced annually, and 73 per cent of all textiles ending up in landfill or incineration, the coalition said in a press release.
In December, new research from the European Environment Agency highlighted that after food, housing and transport, textiles are the fourth largest cause of environmental pressure. Textiles also cause the second highest pressure on land use and are the fifth largest contributor to carbon emissions from household consumption.
EU environment ministers have called on the European Commission to come up with a strategy to move the sector away from unsustainable production and consumption patterns, and the sector was flagged as a priority in Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s flagship European Green Deal. The Commission is also expected to put forward proposals for textiles in its New Circular Economy Action Plan, expected to be published on the March 4.
The United Nations states that the textile sector is responsible for between 8 and 10 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and it estimates that, by 2050, fashion could be responsible for a quarter of all carbon emissions.
In 2020, the organisations behind the ‘Wardrobe Change’ campaign will carry out a host of awareness raising and advocacy activities across the EU.
Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DS)