“Fashion can be a universal player in protecting the planet.”- Pharrell Williams

According to the latest report from a United Nations climate panel, the negative impacts of climate change are skyrocketing much faster than scientists predicted a decade ago. It warned that many impacts are inevitable and will hit the world’s most vulnerable populations hardest – but collective action from governments to alleviate greenhouse gas emissions and prepare communities to adapt to climate changes could yet avert the worst outcomes.

The fashion industry, which is considered as one of the largest polluters in the world is a $2.4 trillion global industry with about 300 million people across the value chain employed and the scale of the industry is expected to grow in the years ahead. According to the United Nations Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, it is responsible for an estimated 2-8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, approximately 215 trillion liters of water are consumed by the industry yearly, there is annual material loss of $100 billion due to underutilization and textiles account for approximately 9% of annual micro plastic losses to the oceans. It is on this premise that the term, ‘sustainable fashion’ has been birthed.

The term has become increasingly used (and overused) these days, as we become more conscious of the negative impacts that our clothes have on the environment. As stated previously, the industry is responsible for a whopping 2-8% of global greenhouse gas emissions annually – a figure that can’t be overlooked considering the urgency of the climate crisis we’re facing right now.

Sustainable fashion is an all-inclusive term describing products, processes, activities, and actors (policymakers, brands, consumers) aiming to achieve a carbon-neutral fashion industry, built on equality, social justice, animal welfare, and ecological integrity. In short, it’s an umbrella term for clothes that are created and consumed in a way that can be, quite literally, sustained, while protecting both the environment and those producing garments. That’s why cutting Co2 emissions, addressing overproduction, reducing pollution and waste, supporting biodiversity, and ensuring that garment workers are paid a fair wage and have safe working conditions, are all crucial to the sustainability matrix.

Sustainable fashion can significantly improve environmental conditions. While a few fashion labels, in Nigeria and abroad, have keyed into sustainable fashion, many others are still ignorant of the need to prioritize investment in sustainable fashion. Sustainable fashion reduces consumption and waste. Eco-ethical brands prioritize long-lasting materials, so there will be less need to use new resources as well as it can help in reducing waste. When production from new resources reduces, we give a chance to the environment to heal and regenerate which will help bring back biodiversity and conserve the environment. Sustainable fashion is also saving natural resources, reducing our carbon footprint, supporting fairer working conditions.

“…Remember, we do not have a planet b.”

This article was written bMojolaoluwa Obisesan; connect with her on Instagram via here 

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