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What the COP27 means for the fashion industry

Water pollution caused by fashion industry
Water pollution caused by fashion industry, source:,into%20rivers%20and%20other%20waterways

The COP27 Summit in Egypt came to an end last Sunday morning and the message is clear: governments & corporations need to show more substantial and drastic climate actions if we want to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsuis. Limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels is vital, according to scientists, as beyond that threshold, the cascading impacts of climate breakdown will quickly become catastrophic and in some cases irreversible.

While it can be difficult to calculate the fashion industry’s exact impact on the global environment - due to complicated supply chains, outsourcing and the involvement of other industries - it is clear that this sector has a big role to play and that companies haven’t done enough to minimize their environmental footprint. The Fashion industry relies heavily on fossil fuels, accounts for 4%-10% of global carbon dioxide emissions, and is responsible for ⅕ of all globally produced plastic each year. 87% of all the fiber that is produced for apparel is ultimately incinerated or sent to a landfill. Furthermore, fashion brands have reportedly destroyed unsold clothing or sent them to landfills in countries in the Global South.

Old clothes which are not used anymore and left in in the mountains

Yet, fashion’s greenhouse gas emissions are expected to grow more than 50% by 2030 and fashion companies continue to flood the planet with more and more products. In fact, the number of garments produced each year has at least doubled since 2000 and is expected to hit 102 million tons by 2030.

It is clear that business as usual isn’t an option anymore and that the industry needs to change for the sake of the planet, people and their own companies. Climate change is already showing consequences across the globe, disproportionately affecting countries in the Global South and also directly hindering the operations of fashion brands. The last 8 years have been the hottest since temperature recording which has caused massive cotton crop failures in countries such as India and China, and forced farmers and garment workers to work in extreme heats.

Raw Cotton, people in the production country and a big factory which produces clothes
Climate change impacting raw materials & people, source:

The time to act is now! Here are 3 major practices according to experts that fashion brands need to adopt in order to tackle their role in climate change:

1. Invest in climate action & research As of now, sustainability has not been at the top of mind for many people working in fashion. While some have ignored their responsibilities altogether, others have shown half-hearted efforts or hollow greenwashing promises. However, it is time for the fashion industry to make sustainability a priority and to heavily invest in research and technologies for the sake of the planet, people and their own businesses.

2. Share results among each other No single individual, company or government can tackle climate change on their own. Understanding one’s impact and how to leave a positive mark on the environment is a complex process that requires collaboration among all stakeholders. Thus, it is time for everyone to share their insights, learnings and innovations in order to scale and accelerate climate actions.

3. Provide clear & honest communication While consumer demand has brought sustainability to the attention of fashion brands in recent years, making empty or sometimes outright false claims about the companies’ environmental impact has become a trend. Political institutions such as the EU and the UN are starting to catch up and are working on strict regulations regarding greenwashing. However, if the fashion industry is to become serious about tackling climate change, being transparent and honest should be one of the top priorities coming from within the industry.

A tag of a piece of cloths from H&M
H&M clothing tag displaying information about a product's recycled content. A class action lawsuit filed in New York in July alleges the fast-fashion giant made "misleading and deceptive" sustainability claims., source:

mimycri is part of the fashion world and we hope that through our way of working, we can contribute to creating a more sustainable and just reality. Our vision is a global fashion industry that is more considerate towards the environment and the people living on this planet. Just like everyone else in this industry, we haven’t found the perfect solution to create fashionable items that have the greatest positive impact and we continue to learn. If you, like us, want to stay informed on innovations, fashion news and best practices, check out these organizations that do amazing educational and campaigning work:

Fashion Revolution - is the world’s largest fashion activism movement. They mobilize “citizens, brands and policymakers through research, education and advocacy” and campaign for “a clean, safe, fair, transparent and accountable fashion industry” that “conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.”

IndustriALL - The Global Union represents 50 million workers in 140 countries in the mining, energy and manufacturing sector and fights for “better working conditions and trade union rights around the world.” They challenge “the power of multinational companies” and work to establish a new “economic and social model that puts people first, based on democracy and social justice.”

Sustainable Fashion Matterz - educates on sustainable practices in the fashion industry and produces and shares solution oriented content. They aim to “create networks of educated individuals who use their knowledge, skills and consumer power to steer the fashion industry in a more sustainable direction.”

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