JD Institute Logo
Follow us


Environmental impact of the fashion industry thumbnail environmental impact of the fashion industry - Environmental impact of the fashion industry thumbnail - Environmental impact of the fashion industry

The fashion industry stands as one of the largest industries in the world, second only to the food industry. Unfortunately, the Environmental impact of the fashion industry is immense, making it ever more important for young professionals and students to understand the significant role our choices and actions can have on climate change. In this article, we aim to explore the fashion industry’s impacts on the environment and what steps we can take to help reduce these impacts.

There are numerous environmental impacts in the current fashion industry. Because of the large quantities of synthetic materials, and pollutants produced in the industry, the industry hurts both the environment and human health. A further problem with fashion is that it creates customer demand for environmentally friendly products that often go unfulfilled. However, there has been very little innovation in the fashion industry regarding sustainability. It is important to create more sustainable models for this sector, because it has an impact on both consumers and the environment as a whole.

Environmental impact of the fashion industry 1 environmental impact of the fashion industry - Environmental impact of the fashion industry  1  - Environmental impact of the fashion industry

Undoubtedly, the fashion industry has a significant environmental impact, particularly in terms of its contribution to climate change, water pollution, and waste generation. Research has shown that some of how the fashion industry affects the environment can be summed up as follows:

1.Greenhouse gas emissions: 

Since the fashion industry uses a large amount of energy to produce, transport, and retail products, it has a significant impact on climate change. As a result of the use of non-renewable energy sources such as coal, oil, and gas, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere during the production, transportation, and retail phases. Global greenhouse gas emissions are estimated to be 10% of the fashion industry, which is more than the total amount from international flights and shipping combined.

2.Water pollution:

The fashion industry uses large amounts of water in textile production, particularly in the dyeing and finishing processes. These processes use large amounts of water but are often polluted with toxic chemicals, including heavy metals and synthetic dyes. As a result of this pollution, the polluted water is discharged into the rivers and oceans, which can adversely affect aquatic ecosystems, cause water shortages and even pose a health risk to humans.

3.Land use:

 Natural fibres, such as cotton, wool, and silk, require large areas of land to produce, which can result in deforestation, soil degradation, and biodiversity loss, as well as the displacement of indigenous communities and the destruction of habitats associated with the production of goods used for textiles.

4.Waste generation:

Environmental impact of the fashion industry 2 1 environmental impact of the fashion industry - Environmental impact of the fashion industry  2  1 1 - Environmental impact of the fashion industry

 From textile scraps and trimmings that are discarded during the production process to unsold clothing and packaging materials that are discarded in the clothing industry, the fashion industry generates large amounts of waste throughout the entire process. In addition, many textiles are made from synthetic fibres, such as polyester, which are not biodegradable and can persist in the environment for hundreds of years.

5. Chemical use:

A wide range of chemicals are used in the textile production by the fashion industry, including pesticides, dyes, solvents, and finishing agents. It is important to note that many of these chemicals are toxic and can negatively affect both workers and the environment. For example, cotton pesticides can be contaminated by soils and waterways, causing environmental and health hazards.

There is a growing movement in the fashion industry toward more sustainable and responsible practices in order to deal with these environmental impacts. It is important to use organic and recycled materials, reduce energy and water consumption, and promote circular economy principles such as reusing and recycling clothing as part of this process. It is also important to increase transparency and accountability in the fashion industry and increase awareness among consumers about the environmental impact of clothing choices; both needs need to be addressed.