An H&M outlet in Munich. The fashion retailer’s policy of having customers return old clothes for recycling in exchange for vouchers was cited as the “new way forward” in sustainable fashion. Image: Usien, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons Low prices and unprecedented demand are fueling the growth of “fast fashion,” which takes trends from runway to consumers in record time. The problem is that, in the process, fashion is putting eye-popping pressure on the environment through water use, pollution, waste and carbon emissions—not to mention negative social impacts such as unsafe labor conditions for garment workers. Unless big brands and retailers make major changes, the problem will get much worse. The worldwide apparel and footwear market is expected to grow around 5 per cent a year through 2030, reaching over 100 million tons of production and $3.3 trillion USD in value. There is a glimmer of hope. Many big brands and companies are stepping up and setting ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets that are in line with what the latest climate science says is needed to keep global temperature rise between 1.5°C and well-below 2°C. Just today, Burberry and PUMA became the latest of 12 major apparel […]


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