Can Fast Fashion And Sustainability Be Stitched Together?
Support for this podcast and the following message come from Google from Connecticut California from Mississippi to Minnesota. Millions of businesses are using Google tools to grow online learn. How Google is supporting businesses in your state at Google dot com slash economic impact Spanish retailer Zara announced it will only use sustainable materials by the year twenty twenty five? This is a big deal because our is the giant in the fast fashion space. It's a retail category. That's ballooned wound in the United States in the last two decades and the concept is in the name fashionable clothing made quickly and sold at affordable prices. It's allowed brands like Zara to move inventory at a rapid pace but that kind of turnaround can have a negative impact on the environment environment here to tell us more about the decision is marked sumner. He lectures on fashioned in sustainability at the University of leads in the U._k.. And he worked in the retail industry for over fifteen years. Welcome to the program. Thank you so. Let's set the table. Will quickly when people think about environmental hazards they often talk about things like car emissions or maybe plastics in the ocean. They may not be thinking about what is in their closet. How is fast fashion harmful to the environment? The fashion industry encompasses a whole range of other industries to provide us with the clothing wearing the industries that we need to create those materials. Are things like agriculture we we need agriculture to grow cotton that has impacts to do with soil health and carbon emissions water consumption polyester comes from the oil industry we have obviously issues associated with the extraction of oil and then to convert those fibers and that that rule material into the garments of wiring we have energy intensive processes such as Yon Spinning turning that fibers yawn and in a really important part of the fashion industry is about color and to apply color to to fabrics where we're using water using energy and sometimes we're using potentially harmful chemicals and then ultimately that fabric is then sent to the gum factories to turn into. I'm the Gomez were wearing and when we add up all of those different impacts we start. RECIP- picture of those environmental issues associated with clothing and let's talk about czars announcement what does it mean first of all four materials used in fashion to be sustainable. It's a really complex area and and depending on who you talk to I'm the definition of sustainable means will vary were talking about carbon emissions. Were talking bags water consumption water pollution eutrophication ozone depletion. Sometimes you can reduce one particular environmental impacts and at the same time by the actions you've taken you're actually increasing impact somewhere else the challenge for the fashion industry because it's so diverse and so broad is that there are so many different aspects of sustainability the time to be addressed some Brown's. We'll talk about it in a very inclusive way and talk about many many different areas of sustainability other brands will be talking about sustainability. I'm maybe only reference one aspect and that might be carbon for. For example so the idea of having something sustainable is really ambiguous and that's one of the challenges I think for consumers and commentators when the twenty look at the statements be made by brands like Zara. What does that actually mean depending on how they go about it? How big of a deal could this announcement by Zara and what kind of an impact could it have? I think the really interesting thing about Zara statement is they've made public statements about their intention and they it will be held accountable for whether they achieve that target will not over time so the fact that the public target I think he's really positive and I think hopefully what that will do is also encourage other brands and retailers to be bald and to mightly statements says wow what individual responsibility do consumers have here personally. I think every consume has some responsibility for directions. Consumers are buying products. They are making decisions about whether buying for from how long they keep those support for on what they do with us pollock's end of life so I think there is definitely some responsibility that consume as having all of this but I also recognize that this this and deep-seated sort of psychological driver with within.