CO Data

Fashion's Impact on the Planet

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Key Takeaways
  • Fashion has some major impacts: it depletes natural resources; releases toxic chemicals; adds to greenhouse gas emissions and creates millions of tonnes of waste.
  • The water used in the fashion industry reduces the amount available for maintaining healthy aquatic ecosystems
  • The land needed to grow materials depletes the land available for food crops. 
  • Toxic emissions pollute waterways for the communities that depend on them for drinking water or irrigation
  • Greenhouse gas emissions contribute to the destabilisation of the global climate.

Fashion is often branded as the second most polluting industry in the world after the oil and gas sector. Whether this is true is difficult to tell – the lack of supply chain transparency and fashion’s interactions with other major polluting industries both cloud the picture somewhat. 

Enough data exists however, to show that fashion is one of the worst polluters on the planet. All stages of the garment-making process can incur serious environmental impacts as can consumer usage – so fashion’s…