The fashion industry has a massive ecological footprint: the raw materials, the production, the transportation and the burning of unsold clothes all result in significant carbon emissions and wasted water. There is one item of clothing that is above all the rest in terms of environmental pollution: the ever-popular jeans.
The main ingredient of denim is cotton, one of the world’s leading raw materials, and the production of jeans uses 35% of the world’s total cotton production.
After the cotton fibre is made, it is turned into denim; that is when the textile receives its characteristic blue colour. Indigo, the dye used for the process is not water soluble, so the desired colour is achieved by soaking the textile in a bath containing various chemicals and heavy metals. To achieve the colour required, the textile is submerged in the chemical mixture 3 to 9 times.
After that, denim is turned into jeans, and various methods are used to reach the required texture and shade: chemicals are used for fading, which has its own environmental load.
Although consumers consider price and quality to be the paramount criteria, more than half of them would be willing to pay more for recyclable and sustainable products, a new international survey by Accenture has found.
The freshwater reserves of Earth are at an increased risk from large-scale environmental pollution and wasteful water use: the quantity of available drinking water is gradually dropping, while its quality deteriorates. And yet, instead of saving it, we use drinking water to flush our toilets, although greywater would be quite suitable for that purpose.
We might believe that humanity’s daily use of water mostly comes from bathing, cooking and drinking. But the operation of our electric equipment, meat production and the production of plastic boxes also consume a great deal of water, much of which is needlessly wasted.
On June 4, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that the destruction of unsold consumer products is to be prohibited, and it will become compulsory to reuse or recycle such goods.
Food overproduction is an increasingly severe problem worldwide, and it goes hand in hand with industrial level wasting of water. In addition to the health considerations associated with what’s on our plates, conscious consumer decisions can also help to combat climate change to some extent.
Environmental and social sustainability is an important criterion in the investment habits of young Hungarians: they are increasingly investing in consciously ethical companies – this was one of the conclusions of a conference on innovative financing schemes of the Hungarian Economic Association.
The fashion industry is in ‘prestigious’ second place on the list of high-pollution industries (with significant carbon emissions, water wastage and chemical pollution). As conscious consumers, we don’t only need to watch what we eat, but also what clothes we have in our wardrobes.
We have entered a new era in which climate change has become a palpable, daily reality: not a single day passes without encountering the frightening consequences of global warming either directly, while we are out and about, or indirectly, through the news. This unprecedented situation is eliciting new reactions from 21st century humans.
Clean, potable drinking water is a question of life and death. That is why the Ministry for Innovation and Technology of Hungary has launched an exemplary, one-billion forint fund to support water awareness and promote environmentally conscious consumption of water; an initiative that may inspire others.
In its campaign launched to protect the oceans and seas, the European Union is using well-known figures such as the Smurfs. They say that the little guys are a good choice because they live in nature, they are blue, and their message reaches far and wide.