“Given the pollution from the textile industry, we need to buy as few clothes as possible”

How to dress without destroying the climate and the environment? Polluting crops, energy-intensive factories, mountains of discarded clothing… Less present than aviation in the global warming debate, the textile industry nevertheless accumulates as many greenhouse gas emissions as aviation, accounting for between 2% and 4% of total global emissions – not to mention the other impacts on the environment and biodiversity.

More than 100 billion pieces of clothing are sold every year in the world, that is 10 kilos of clothing per person per year in France: this episode of the “Human Heat” podcast, broadcast on the website of the World gives the floor to entrepreneur Julia Faure on October 4th. As co-founder of the clothing brand Loom, she is involved in the collective En mode climat, a movement of companies in the industry that wants to massively reduce greenhouse gas emissions from fashion. She has a simple saying when it comes to clothing: “Buy as little as possible”

What emits greenhouse gases in the textile industry? Where is the problem coming from?

In the fashion industry, each and every piece of clothing soils relatively little because it takes relatively little energy to make a t-shirt, relatively few pesticides to grow the 200 grams of cotton that make up that t-shirt, and relatively few chemicals to make it to color it t-shirt. It has nothing to do with what it takes to make an iPhone, for example. The real problem with fashion is in the quantities: we produce a lot of clothes. To give you an idea, in France alone, 2.5 billion pieces of clothing are put on the market every year. That’s more than selling cartons of six eggs. Currently, in our world, we consume clothes as if they are eggs. We break them, we make an omelet, and then we buy more.

Read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers “The textile industry symbolizes all the excesses of consumer society”

This brings us back to “fast fashion”, to brands that produce massively in low-wage countries, but what’s bad for the environment? The way to production? The energy consumed? transportation ?

In the carbon footprint of textiles, the share of transport is quite small at around 2%, for the same reason that the individual carbon weight of a garment is quite small. A t-shirt is very light, it takes up very little space, container transport is very optimized. One might think that it is the raw materials that emit many greenhouse gases: cotton, polyester. But ultimately, it accounts for no more than 30% of a garment’s carbon weight.

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