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Published on Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Science-based study reveals environmental impact of apparel and footwear

Written by John Mowbray

SAN FRANCISCO & BOSTON – A new in-depth, science-based study to investigate the environmental impacts of the apparel and footwear sector says these two industries together account for 8 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, almost as much as the 'total carbon impact of the European Union'.

The report notes that the apparel industry alone accounts for 6.7 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and it predicts that in a ‘business-as-usual scenario’, apparel’s climate impact is expected to eventually increase by 49 per cent – equal to today’s total annual greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

The underlying metrics-based study, which is claimed to be an industry first, considers the industries’ value chains across seven stages: from fibre production/material extraction to end-of-life, and includes five different environmental indicators: climate change, resources, freshwater withdrawal, ecosystem quality and human health.

The aim of the new study is to identifies levers of change to guide textile, apparel and footwear companies committed to making effective shifts to reduce their environmental impacts of their supply chains.