By 2030, at its current pace of growth, the fashion industry is expected to be worth $3.3 trillion. It will manufacture 102 million tons of clothes and shoes. However the fashion industry might face slowing down of market.
For comparison, that is the weight equivalent to a half million blue whales. If nothing changes, the world is expected to experience a serious climate-related catastrophe in the 2040s.
How are these two things related? Fashion is a massively polluting industry that is accelerating the pace of the predicted climate disaster. In 2015, the sector generated 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Many coastal regions will be underwater, food will be scarce, and the coral reefs will be extinct, according to the United Nations’ prediction.
GOING AT IT ALONE ISN’T WORKING
According to Lehmann, the industry can only move forward if big companies start working together to share solutions. There are some major infrastructure challenges that the industry needs to tackle, like building recycling facilities for clothes and shoes, developing more sustainable new materials, and using technology to make the supply chain less wasteful and more efficient.
Things will move along a lot faster if companies work together. “Companies seem to be reaching the limit of what they can achieve alone,” Lehmann says. “We need a new paradigm where brands actually work together to share solutions. Otherwise, things are not going to improve fast enough to avert disaster.”
PROGRESS HAS STALLED OUT
According to a report produced by three organizations with expertise in the fashion industry, including the non-profit organizations Global Fashion Agenda and Sustainable Apparel Coalition, along with the consulting firm Boston Consulting Group. Based on the report’s own scoring system, the Pulse Index, which takes into account the sustainability targets across fashion brands and the implementation of those targets, the industry improved by six points last year, but only improved by four points this year.
Morten Lehmann, Global Fashion Agenda’s chief sustainability officer, and a co-author of this report said, “The industry is still improving when it comes to sustainability, The problem is that the pace of improvement is slowing down, while the industry as a whole is growing between 4% and 5% every year.”