New Report: Sustainability in the British fashion industry

Julie’s Bicycle partners with Centre for Sustainable Fashion, DHL and British Fashion Council to unveil first in a series of white papers as part of the British Fashion Council’s Positive Fashion initiative. 

The global fashion industry has had a far-reaching impact on the natural environment, from the extraction of raw materials to the production, distribution, wear and disposal of apparel. For example, as the world’s population increases to a projected 8 billion people by 2030, global apparel consumption could rise by 63%, from 62 million tonnes today to 102 million tonnes—equivalent to more than 500 billion additional T-shirts.

This cross-cutting partnership brings together Julie’s Bicycle with the expertise of the British Fashion Council, Centre for Sustainable Fashion and DHL, one of the industry’s key suppliers and a global leader in logistics. This report “Fashion & Environment: An overview of fashion’s Environmental impact and opportunities for action”  brings to life what the climate crisis means for the British fashion industry, showcasing current green practice, exploring the frontiers of innovation, and supporting an ambitious vision of the British fashion industry leading for a liveable environment.

The British fashion industry is well placed to respond with speed, agency and inspiration to the current climate and environmental emergency – in the context set by the Paris Agreement, the latest IPCC report, the UN Biodiversity Report and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

“”The innovation and ingenuity of the British fashion industry continues to shape global trends and techniques, as it has done for centuries. Faced with an unfolding ecological crisis, we need to focus this ingenuity on fostering a positive, regenerative, sustainable industry””

– Caroline Rush, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council

Sustainability in the British fashion industry

SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) make up half of the brands in the fashion ecosystem. They play a crucial role in demonstrating what can be done differently, helping to up-skill, inspire and enthuse the industry’s key players to demonstrate that the British fashion is at the vanguard of sustainability-led creativity. There is now an opportunity for it to carve out a new pathway, harnessing the fashion industry’s creativity to develop and scale innovative design, materials, technologies, processes and business models to reduce its imprint upon the Earth.

This paper demonstrates how the industry is actively addressing environmental challenges in the following areas:

  • Design and materials Integrating sustainable design principles into the product creation stage
  • Green technology Fibre innovation, enzymology and molecular biology
  • Manufacturing and processing Supply chain transparency, blockchain technology, water use and energy efficiency
  • Packaging and delivery Innovation in shipping and logistics, reducing plastic and packaging waste
  • Education and engagement Responding to and driving the demand for sustainable action by brand 

Download full white paper here

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