Fashion forward: How tech is targeting waste & pollution in the $2.4T fashion industry banner
Avatars 000178974040 psq1wg original By CB Insights
September 28, 2020

Fashion forward: How tech is targeting waste & pollution in the $2.4T fashion industry


Fashion is one of the most wasteful industries in the world, but thanks to new technology and consumer demand for more eco-friendly practices, that's starting to change. The fast fashion model, wherein designs move swiftly from runway to stores, is considered a major contributor to these problems. Fueled by social media, consumers want to get a hold of the latest trends as quickly as possible, and retailers must rapidly increase production to meet demand. But this can lead to overproduction and huge amounts of waste — fast fashion retailer H&M, for example, reported a global inventory of unsold clothes worth $4B in 2018. 

Even luxury brands are contributing to this problem. In 2017, British luxury fashion label Burberry burned £28.6M (around $37M) worth of unsold bags, clothes, and perfume. And it’s not only unsold merchandise that’s problematic. After use, 73% of clothes either end up in landfills or are incinerated. If these practices continue, the fashion sector could consume a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. But with increasing consumer demand for more sustainable products and a rising focus around eco-friendly practices, the fashion world is taking steps to lessen its negative impact on the environment.

This report examines how fashion brands are leveraging technology to make clothing production and consumption more sustainable, from the use of plant-based textiles and bacteria-based dyes to leveraging a blockchain-based supply chain to increase transparency. It also looks at the challenges these efforts face and what the future might hold for the industry.

Read the full report HERE

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