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Sustainable Fashion? How companies provide sustainability information to consumers

  • Published on May 21, 2020

The textile and fashion industries are among the largest industries in the world. Their supply-chain includes agriculture, manufacturing, and processing, as well as fabric care, use, recycling and disposal. Nearly all countries are involved in manufacturing of textile products, though the actual involvement can vary from textile and product design and development of manufacturing technologies, to actual production and shipping to numerous locations. However, all countries face the growing problem of textile waste management, which is directly linked to unsustainable textile production and use. Being among the most polluting industries, fashion and textile industries must explore strategies geared toward improving sustainability in order to minimize resource use and pollution, improve the safety of workers, eliminate sexual abuse, and ensure the right of consumers to make informed choices. The future of sustainable textiles and fashion largely depends on the industry’s ability to reduce the use of resources such as land, water and oil, and to ensure products are reused and recycled to minimize waste. Other aspects of sustainability that the textile and fashion industries focus on include protection of the environment and human health, occupational safety, gender equity and women’s empowerment, as well as meeting the demand of consumers for ecofriendly textile products.

If a textile product negatively impacts people’s health or the environment during its production, use and disposal, shouldn’t it just be taken of shelf and substituted with a safer and more sustainable alternative? Or should brands and regulators provide consumers with information about product sustainability so that they can make an informed choice? You may think this is important and a ‘must-do’ by each brand in every country, but it rarely happens in execution. This leaves consumers unaware of what product to choose to avoid potential health or environmental risks.

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