That discount t-shirt you’ve got your eye on? It costs a lot more than what’s on the price tag.
A parliamentary report has just exposed the dirty truth: The fashion industry churns out more pollution than international aviation and shipping combined.
And by producing cheap garms that wind up in incinerators or on mountains of landfill months after they’re sold, retailers like JD Sports, Sports Direct and TK Maxx are a huge part of the problem.
Our government has never tried to reign in these retailers and their throwaway culture. But it’s not too late. We’ve got environmental targets for the energy and transport sectors. Why can’t we do the same for fast fashion?
We in the UK buy more clothes than any other country in Europe -- and we throw away 11 million items of clothing weekly. Those cheap shirts, trousers and jackets are made with plastic fibres that later end up in the ocean. They've even been found in Arctic sea ice. Still more clothes are burned without ever even being sold, by retailers trying to “preserve their brand”.
The industry’s carbon footprint is soaring -- to 26 million tonnes in 2016, up from 24 million two years previously in the UK alone -- when it should be shrinking. And companies like JD Sports, Sports Direct and TK Maxx keep stoking the fires. None of them have signed the voluntary Sustainable Clothing Action Plan to reduce their carbon footprint.
Retailers will never stop polluting unless the government steps in -- but first, the government needs a push from you.
Your people power has forced change in the fashion industry before. Last year, after over 100,000 SumOfUs members told Levi’s it could no longer keep polluting our atmosphere with the equivalent of 1.1 million cars a year, the jeans maker announced it would cut its greenhouse emissions by 40 percent, setting an unprecedented standard for the industry.
The clock is ticking. Scientists say we only have 12 years to rescue any hope of a liveable planet.
And without ambitious green targets to meet, the fashion industry has been marking its own homework for too long. So it’s up to us to create a fashion industry free from climate chaos, before cheap clothes become the death of us, and our planet.
Stop fast fashion speeding up climate breakdown!