A new UN climate change report was recently released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and its main sentiment was that businesses and governments need to pick up the pace on saving the planet. The fashion industry has a huge role to play in this. So here’s what the fashion industry and fashion consumers with an eco-friendly conscience should know.

“Our message to every country, government, business and part of society is simple. The next decade is decisive for climate action,” says Alok Sharma, president-designate of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. “We all need to follow the science and embrace our responsibilities to keep the goal of 1.5°C alive,” he adds, referring to the threshold scientists have warned will lead to catastrophic and irreversible impacts.

“This includes the fashion industry,” Sharma reiterates.

In short, the UN IPCC Report expressed the following:

  • The world’s top climate scientists warned that with the way the world is handling climate change, our planet will warm significantly in the next two decades without movements focused on eliminating greenhouse gas pollution.
  • This assessment saw a certainty about “the total responsibility of human activity” for rising temperatures reports Business of Fashion in citing the scientists.
  • The warning margin of 2°C will be “exceeded during the 21st century,” the IPCC authors concluded, without deep emissions cuts “in the coming decades.”
  • According to UN Secretary-General, the report is a “code red for humanity.”

Where does fashion fit in? 

As Business of Fashion notes, “the fashion industry is one of the most potent polluters on the planet.”

As Vogue Business expresses, supply chain emissions are the biggest carbon footprint, and fashion is hugely responsible.

Brands like Levi’s, and Burberry as well as Tommy Hilfiger-owned PVH have made pledges to commit to reduction, and The Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action is aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050.

The problem? While the actions are bold, they are still in transitional phases for the most part.

What is a more sustainable solution in reducing emissions?

  • Sustainable materials for garments. Nike released a sneaker collection recently dubbed Happy Pineapple, made out of actual pineapple materials. It’s an example of a step in a sustainable direction.

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‘Happy Pineapple’ Nike’s latest collection is made from actual pineapple materials

  • A full transition to renewable energy across the supply chain and most importantly
  • A “different business model relying less on churning out increasing volumes of new clothes.”

Essentially, the fashion industry and consumers need to turn their gaze toward Slow Fashion.

Slow fashion in short is the opposite of fast fashion. It’s an approach to clothing that considers the “processes and resources required to make clothing,” as Madeleine Hill writes. 

It’s about buying quality over quantity, opposes brands burning the tonnes of unsold garments, recycling garments, and buying second-hand. Additionally, it focuses on sustainable fashion and materials focused on healing the environment.

Fashion lovers have a chance to help out Mother Earth. There’s no better outfit than one worn with kindness for the planet.

Picture: Instagram @carmen.emn


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