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 UN Human Rights Report on Toxic Plastics 17.09.2021 - The report by the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and toxics highlights the human rights implications of toxic additives in plastics and the life cycle stages of plastic, including the rights of women, children, workers, and indigenous peoples. ... Read More
- NGOs urge Canada to complete the assessment of PFAS in one year 21.07.2021 - It is not sufficient to simply focus on data collection by expanding the monitoring of PFAS in the environment – the efforts on PFAS must include a roadmap to move to informed substitution and innovation with safer products and chemicals. ... Read More
- Sustainable Fashion – everything you need to know about your clothes 01.07.2021 - HEJSupport new on-line information resource on sustainability related topics in the textile and fashion industry provides a platform for progressive voices willing to share their vision and ideas on different aspects of sustainability in the textile and garment industry. ... Read More
- Out now: NGO recommendations for the EU Strategy for Sustainable Textiles 16.06.2021 - The Campaign #Wardrobe Change, where HEJSupport is a member, launched its position paper ... Read More
- Creative Economy and the Challenge of Sustainability: The Case of Fashion and Life Cycle Assessment 28.05.2021 - Further behavioral changes may be supported by increasing transparency and accountability in the fashion value chain, through more visible sustainability standards, consumer education and access to information. ... Read More
- Products in our home: a hidden health threat 02.03.2021 - Consumers deserve to be told the truth. There is a need for mandatory full disclosure of the presence of toxic substances in products ... Read More
- EU Commission Roadmap on a sustainable textiles strategy 28.01.2021 - The EU Commission released a public consultation of new strategy on sustainable textiles. HEJSupport submitted comments. ... Read More
- The Importance of Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Fashion Industry 11.09.2020 - If sustainability at all levels of the fashion industry is both regulated and rewarded, the shift toward a circular economy devoid of dependence on carbon emissions will become intuitive. ... Read More
- No Small Issue: The Problem with Microplastics in Fashion 27.08.2020 - Microplastics account for approximately 40% of all plastic that ends up in the ocean. ... Read More
- Cancelled or suspended orders: how COVID-19 exposes global inequality in the fashion industry 17.05.2020 - The COVID-19 crisis is exposing global inequalities in the fashion industry, as international corporations have moved to cancel orders already in production. ... Read More
- Looking for sustainable fashion? Here are some tips to facilitate the search 30.04.2020 - All clothing production adversely affects the environment in some way, but there are brands working to make the transition to sustainable fashion. ... Read More
- Harmful lifecycle of textile industry 27.04.2020 - Concerted efforts by advocates and consumers are needed to push textile and fashion corporations toward environmental responsibility, from production to disposal. ... Read More
- New film: 5 Tips to sustainably transform your wardrobe 15.04.2020 - We are happy to present the new film from our HEJYouth Group! It gives you 5 Tipps to sustainably transform your wardrobe. ... Read More
- Reducing your environmental impact can be both fashionable and affordable 14.04.2020 - Engaging in sustainable shopping practices and choosing environmentally-responsible brands can further progress the industry as companies begin to realize that sustainability can be good for business. ... Read More
- 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
- The Sustainability of Fashion: what role can consumers play? 19.06.2019 - 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
- 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