Consumers play a key role in the sustainability of the fashion industry
With their choices and decisions they are
transforming the entire business
Consumers play a key role for the sustainable fashion, even though they are often not aware of this. With their purchasing decisions they have the power to shift the entire industry towards a more sustainable approach.
According to multiple evidences, this shift has already begun, because consumers are increasingly making the connection between the products they buy and their impact on the environment.
A poll conducted by Euromonitor International, as an example, showed that 53% of Consumers believe their purchase choice could make a difference in the world.
In terms of purchasing decision, there are multiple evidences showing that sustainability has become a characteristic that consumers take into account. According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers research, 58% of UK Consumers buy fewer sustainable products than they would like to, while a survey conducted by Fashion Revolution showed that 37% of people said it is important that the clothing they buy is produced in a way that is not harmful to the environment.
It's very important to note that this interest towards sustainability is more evident in the younger segment of consumers: 77 percent of Millennials prefer buying eco-conscious brands and are the most likely age group to switch for environmental reasons.
This means that, looking at the future, the impact of the fashion industry on the environment can no longer be considered unimportant.
What kind of fashion is sustainable?
Sustainable fashion can have multiple declinations,
but has the respect for people and environment as a common denominator
As the demand for a more sustainable fashion grow, it's also important to understand what exactly sustainable fashion is and what kind of apparel purchases can be considered sustainable.
A sustainable approach can involve all of the aspects of the production, distribution and even disposal of clothes: from the farm of the raw materials to the manufacturing and finishing; from the packaging to the logistics.
Here are some examples.
The production of organic cotton started to grow as a reaction to the concerns regarding the environmental and health effects of the textile industry.
An organic cotton field needs to be pesticide and herbicide free for at least three years and the crop must not be from a genetically modified strain.
Organic cotton cultivation produces much less adverse impacts on the environment compared to non-organic cotton, because soil fertility is maintained through the expansion of biologically diverse agriculture.
With the production of textiles that in the last years reached its highest levels, the importance of recycling textiles has grown more and more.
Once in landfills, natural fibers can take hundreds of years to decompose. Furthermore, synthetic textiles are designed not to decompose, releasing toxic substances into groundwater and surrounding soil.
Textile recycling offers a series of benefits for the environment. It drastically reduces the consumption of water used to farm the cotton plants. It also reduces the pollution due to the disposal of used clothes in landfills.
Moreover, it is consistent with the circular economy concept, an economic system aimed at minimizing waste and making the most of resources.
Dyeing and Finishing
Garments dyeing and finishing are responsible of an important part of the pollution and resources consumption generated by the textile industry.
For this reason, it's important to consider that there are greener alternatives to garments dyeing and finishing, able to eliminate the release of hazardous chemicals in the environment and to reduce the consumption of energy and water.
greenofchange® guarantees a combination of safe chemicals and efficient processes, giving an important contribute to reduce the impact of garment making on the environment and on the people.
Washing and Wearing
Even if it may seem strange, most of the energy used in the life cycle of cotton happens post-purchase. Moreover, according to a report from IUCN, the laundry of synthetic textiles represents 35% of all microplastics in oceans.
Adopting an environmentally friendly laundry regime is an example of how the habits of consumers can have a direct impact on the planet health.
Washing full-loads, using the correct washing-cycle, switching to an energy-efficient washing machine, washing in cold water, drying clothes on a line, and using biodegradable detergents all add to sustainability.
Discover more on greenofchange®
Health and Environment Justice Support
McKinsey & Company
Consumer Survey Report – Fashion Revolution