We all know about the catastrophic climate change that we face, but we need to be aware that this threat goes hand in hand with a biodiversity crisis that puts at risk the richness of the species that populate our planet. According to a 2019 UNO report, there are a million world species in danger of extinction, and biodiversity is disappearing a thousand times faster than it would in natural conditions: an alarming progression that we must urgently revert.
How does fashion impact biodiversity?
Fortunately, the fashion industry is progressively acknowledging its impact on biodiversity in view of the fact that most of the industry materials come from natural resources.
For instance, the growing of cotton—present in a third of the clothes we wear—can cause soil degradation and loss of natural habitats. Furthermore, the pesticides used are harmful to several species. Similarly, the production of viscose significantly contributes to deforestation, accounting for the axing of 150 million trees a year. The destruction of forests is the main reason why biodiversity is fading at such a breathtaking pace.
Other materials, such as synthetic fibers, like polyester, come from the mining of fossil fuels, which also contributes to earth degradation and habitat loss (not to mention the greenhouse gas emissions and the millions of microplastics that are released into the ocean after every time we wash these clothes at home and especially once we dispose of them).
What can we do?
Biodiversity is an emergent issue within the fashion industry. For the first time, more than 200 global leading brands have agreed on restoring biodiversity in The Fashion Pact. They have committed themselves to the protection of key species as well as the conservation and restoration of critical natural ecosystems. This will involve different courses of action, including cooperation with other industries to remodel the supply chains.
The fashion industry will have to invest more in these initiatives and work for hand in hand with providers, so that general change materializes. In Tekstila we are working ahead to provide a solution to manage obsolete stocks in a sustainable and cost-effective way, with no further transformation or added resources.
We keep unsold clothes circulating in the economy for longer, thus making the most of the raw materials that have already been used in their production and preventing further extraction of natural resources at the same time.