By The Robin Report
Sustainable business practices have evolved from a slogan to a purpose. MOTIF Rewire 2021 hosted a global sustainability event for the fashion apparel/retail industry to advocate for thinking disruptively, creatively and differently. Janice Wang, Chair of the Board, MOTIF & CEO, of Alvanon states emphatically, “Cleaning up the fashion industry is everyone’s job. Everyone must play a part in this whole journey. We must share our knowledge, no one person can do it all.”
Wang has a poignant message for veterans and newbies alike:
To the veterans, ”You have built a career in this industry, you need to protect it, you have the power to make decisions that can have real impact. Make learning part of your teams’ workday.”
To the digital natives, “You are our future, you know digital, you know what it can do to help the industry. Forward this to your colleague in a different part of your company.”
And to the newcomers, “You are also our future, you may not know all the granular details of the industry, but you have ideals and great ideas. We will help you fix it. Forward this knowledge to a friend.”
What’s in Your Closet?
If you find it difficult to think of fashion sustainability in abstract terms, especially when it comes to incomprehensible numbers and quantities of CO2 emissions and liters of water used, it helps to zoom in on what these numbers look like in our day-to-day lives. Andrea Kennedy, Lead Instructor, Sustainability at LIM College and Michael Londrigan, Lead Instructor, Supply Chain at LIM College, reveal exactly what these numbers look like in our very own closets.
A tank top, for example, that has just arrived in a store, has already emitted 2.7 kg of CO2 and used 2,650 liters of H2O in the process of manufacturing through delivery. That is the CO2 emissions equivalent to charging 385 smartphones and water usage of 17 standard bathtubs filled to capacity.
A pair of jeans? 33 kg of CO2 emitted, the equivalent of driving 85 miles in a standard car.
Manufacturing sneakers result in 14 kg of CO2 emitted and 8,5171 liters of H2O used which, comparatively speaking, is equivalent to the amount of water used in 23,850 cups of Starbucks.
All in all, an entire average closet of clothes, shoes, umbrellas, backpacks etc. comes out to a whopping 1368.4 kg of CO2 emissions and 616,000 total liters of H2O used for production and delivery (calculated on the Sustainable Apparel Coalitions HIGG Index). Many of us (including myself) most likely have even larger closets resulting in even higher numbers.