Studies Show Fashion Causes More Pollution Than Airline Travel


A new study reveals an interesting and unexpected link between climate change and the fashion industry.

Titled “A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning Fashion’s Future,” the report details just how damaging our current fashion industry is, and what might happen by 2050 if something doesn’t change fast.

The Impact

The report showed that currently, 1.2 billion tons of greenhouse gases are created every year by the fashion industry. Half a million tons of plastic microfibers are also currently being thrown into the sea every year by the fashion industry, adding to the impact.

This scale of pollution outsizes the impact from even the airline industry by a large margin. From your favorite pair of sneakers to that new top you like, the fashion industry is hurting the planet a lot more than people previously realized. If nothing changes, the fashion business may end up doing twice as much damage to the environment.

The head of the study, Ellan MacArthur writes, “The textile industry relies mostly on non-renewable resources…The current wasteful, linear system is the root cause of this massive and ever-expanding pressure on resources.”

How Can We Fix The Problem?

Scientists say there are many ways the current industry can solve this problem. For starters, all of the competing brands could work together to lessen their global impact. The report states that efforts are already being made to change the way the industry works drastically.

However, MacArthur also mentions that while the industry has made many great steps forward, it is still a long way off from changing entirely. MacArthur writes, “…a new textiles economy will demand unprecedented levels of alignment on the case for change, and collaboration.”

What Do We Do Now? 

Famed fashion designer Stella McCartney has been one of the first to cooperate with MacArthur to reshape the industry. She released a statement to the press mentioning how hopeful she is that the report will open the eyes of other fashion designers, and lead the industry to a more sustainable future. Stella stated that the report could, “…allow us to find a way to work together to better our industry, for the future of fashion and for the future of the planet.”