What is the environmental cost of a pair of jeans?*

Carol Somper, Sustainability Director, JRP Solutions

Posted on 14 June 2021.

If you put ‘Fashion Sustainability Facts’ into your search engine, you will be overwhelmed by shocking statistics about the environmental impact of the fashion industry.  Global textile production annually contributes more to GHG emissions leading to climate change impacts than international aviation and shipping combined.

There is growing consumer awareness of the need to buy less and more sustainably but organisations in the fashion apparel sector face massive challenges in becoming more sustainable to meet this demand and to meet Government targets for Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions.

There are some organisations that have taken the bull by the horns and have serious plans in place to reduce their carbon footprint and work towards achieving Net Zero Greenhouse Gas emissions. The size of the challenge, however, means that some organisations are ignoring the problem completely, some have a plan, but are struggling to progress with delivering objectives, and some are just paying lip service to being sustainable whilst not actually changing very much at all. 

From end to end in the fashion lifecycle there are so many considerations in transitioning to a Net Zero organisation:

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  • Margins
  • Fabric choices
  • Trim choices
  • Manufacturing techniques
  • Product design and production
  • Ticketing, labelling and product packaging
  • Transit packaging
  • Ratios and quantities
  • Manufacturing locations
  • Shipping options
  • Choice of vendor

 

A picture containing textDescription automatically generatedIf organisations don’t know the precise origin, textile composition and manufacturing processes of all the textiles used to make their garments, for example, they cannot begin to create the carbon inventory required to set their Net Zero goals.

The need for the fashion industry to be more sustainable is clear and quantifiable.  Some retailers and brand owners know where to go and how to get there, but specialist knowledge is required to tackle the challenge and many organisations do not have this in-house.

 

If you do need support, energy and Net Zero specialists, JRP Solutions, in collaboration with non-financial auditing software company, Clearchain, have launched a new initiative called Net Zero For Fashion to support organisations in the fashion industry to achieve Net Zero Greenhouse Gas emissions. Email george.richards@jrpsolutions.com or call 07870394601.

*Manufacturing a pair of blue jeans produces an average of 20 kgs of CO2e. 70 million pairs of jeans are sold in the UK every year, producing 1,400,000 tonnes of of CO2e, the equivalent to one year’s worth of electricity consumption by 910,000 UK homes.