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Shift to air cargo could double fashion's carbon emissions

If the fashion industry moves just 3% of garment transportation from ship to air cargo, it could result in more than 100% more carbon emissions than if all garment transportation were by ship, experts have found.

Rental services, improved recycling processes and pollution control technology are just some of the measures that the industry should consider to reduce its environmental impact, a report published in the journal Nature Reviews Earth & Environment has found. 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calculates the fashion industry produces 10% of global carbon dioxide emissions every year, and uses around 1.5 trillion litres of water annually. 

The report, entitled “The environmental price of fast fashion” highlights that the industry’s water consumption, carbon dioxide emissions, textile waste and use of chemicals pose not only an environmental risk, but health risk for those involved. 

”In one example, a single European textile-finishing company uses over 466g of chemicals per kilogram of textile.” it states. 

It also highlights that while many garments are designed in the US or Europe, they are often produced in developing countries, which leads to an increase in fabric waste through poor communication and less strict regulations around pollution. 

It stresses that the fashion industry’s burden on limited natural resources, and calls for change. It suggests a number of ways the industry could improve its environmental impact including embracing renewable energy and developing new methods for recycling, as well as reducing the use of polyester. 

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