The impact of the textiles industry on our planet is huge and it involves the whole product life cycle from the raw material supply, textile manufacture, shipping, retail and disposal at the end of life. This includes the use of pesticides in cotton farming,intensive water and energy use during the production of textile, the application of toxic chemicals in dyeing, as well as waste management. Dyeing processes usually involve more than 1600 different chemicals, including formaldehyde, chlorine, lead, and mercury. Treatment and dyeing of textile is accountable for 20% of global industrial water pollution. In fact, the textile industry is the #1 industrial polluter of fresh water on the planet.
Environmental pollution is not the only threat that textile industry is accountable for. There are serious negative social consequences associated with textile industry where 80% of the world’s garment workers are women. Cases of gender discrimination, sexual harassment and abuse have been detected in all countries where clothes are produced. Women of child bearing age are at a particular risk of developing breast cancer after the menopause due to their exposure to man-made fibres, as well as miscarriages or birth defects linked to long hours of work, shifts requiring standing instead of sitting or exposure to toxic chemicals. Suppliers to big chains fail to ensure safe working conditions for factory employees putting workers health at risk.
Wearing synthetic clothing is one more important health hazard directly linked to fashion industry. Reproduction disorders, allergies, skin irritation, respiratory problems is an incomplete list of diseases associated with toxic chemicals that may be found in synthetic clothes, including formaldehyde, brominated flame retardants, perfluorinated chemicals.
HEJSupport works intensively on the topic of sustainable textiles. We represent the civil society members of the German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles on chemicals related working groups, serve as NGO representatives in the UNEP 10 Year Framwork on Sustainable Consumption and Production, and in the steering committee of the chemicals in products programme of SAICM. HEJSupport published several articles and reports about this topic.
- New Report: Sustainable Fashion? How companies provide sustainability information to consumers 28.02.2020 - The textile and fashion industries are among the largest and the most polluting industries in the world. They must explore strategies geared towards improving sustainability in order to minimise resource use, pollution and waste. ... Read More
- Webinar Summary “Sustainable Fashion? How companies provide sustainability information to consumers” 23.02.2020 - Want to know more about how companies provide sustainability information to consumers? Listen to our webinar recording. ... Read More
- Webinar “Sustainable Fashion? How companies provide sustainability information to consumers” 12.02.2020 - Is the sustainability information provided by fashion brands sufficient? Learn more about a way forward which makes consumers a driving force able to shape the future of sustainable textiles. ... Read More
- Welche Rolle spielt die Textilindustrie bei der Verschmutzung von Flüssen? 07.01.2019 - HEJSupport hat im letzten Rundbrief des Forums Umwelt und Entwicklung einen Artikel zum Thema Textilien und Flüsse veröffentlicht. Die globale Tex- tilindustrie ist eine der größten VerschmutzerInnen von Flüssen weltweit. ... Read More
- The Sustainability of Fashion: what role can consumers play? 19.06.2018 - Read our new article about sustainable textiles and the demand of consumers. The textiles industry is one of the largest industries in the world. Its supply-chain includes agriculture, manufacturing, processing, fabric care, use, recycling and disposal. Nearly all countries are involved in the textile industry though the actual involvement can vary from textile and product… ... Read More