Consumers are waking up to the impact of how clothing and other textiles are made. It is increasingly seen as essential for retailers and manufacturers to understand how their clothes are produced and the key sustainability risks in its raw material supply chains.
Cotton is the most popular plant fibre used in textiles production, however, this brings with it a series of challenges including:
Approximately 25% global pesticide usage is attributed to cotton production. Changes can be made to the cotton supply chain to make production practices more sustainable. Alongside this, some organisations are looking into alternative plants to produce clothes and other textiles, for example, hemp, flax and bamboo. However, these too can have environmental impacts depending on how and where they are grown.
It is not only plant products used in textile production. Materials such as leather, wool and cashmere are all popular materials used in fashion but they come with their own sustainability challenges. These are by-products of meat production, and the rearing of livestock can have environmental consequences. This can include: