The Fashion Industry Is the World’s Second Most Polluting Industry

The Fashion Industry Is the World’s Second Most Polluting Industry


The textile industry uses more water than any other industry apart from agriculture.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan took unprecedented steps on Monday, issuing warnings in parts of the city as the level of air pollution reached a 6 year high. But when we think of pollution, we stereotypically think of power plants, traffic and aeroplanes, we don’t often consider how the shirts on our backs impact environmental health.

“Because [the fashion industry is] the second largest polluter in the world I also think we can be a huge force for change. I have hope. I know it’s possible to make clean clothes, to do it a better way.”

Fashion involves various production methods; from harvesting to farming, manufacturing, clothing construction, shipping and disposal. Ultimately, all of which impact the environment.  In fact, around 10% of the world’s global carbon emissions result from the apparel & textile industry and 25% of the world’s chemicals are used for textile production. The textile industry uses more water than any other industry apart from agriculture, it takes almost 5000 gallons just to produce one T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Until big brands find more affordable ways of creating sustainable clothing, consumers should be more mindful in regards to where they shop and what they buy.

There are some threads of hope.  Selfridges recently launched ‘Material World’, a project supporting forward-thinking designers devoted to developing a sustainable future for fashion. Eileen Fisher is already using 84 percent organic cotton, 68 percent organic linen and is reducing water use and carbon emissions and working to make its supply chain sustainable by 2020.“Because [the fashion industry is] the second largest polluter in the world I also think we can be a huge force for change. I have hope. I know it’s possible to make clean clothes, to do it a better way.”

Learn more about the impacts of fast fashion: True Cost