The Mckinsey report states it clear: “The fashion industry produces 2.1 billion tons of greenhouse gases”
Last September 23, the most prominent and influential consultancy firm in the world, Mckinsey& Co., released the “Fashion on Climate” report.
The first data shown describes the situation as it is: the fashion industry is currently responsible for 4% of all global greenhouse gas emissions, which equals the overall emissions of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom’s economies together.
Despite the fashion Gotha’s efforts to cut emissions, the results obtained so far are still not enough to reach the objectives set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ratified in the 2015 Paris agreement.
In order to reach these goals, the fashion industry would need to cut emissions to 1.1 billion tons of CO2 by 2030. So far, so good then?
Not exactly: experts from Mckinsey reveal that, based on their forecasts and calculations, and considering the impact of the COVID-19 emergency on emissions, these will reach 2.1 billion tons of CO2 in 2030 – almost twice the expected result.
The experts’ projections also show that with the industry’s expected constant growth in the next few years, all actions undertaken to reduce emissions so far will not be sufficient, and will not take fashion much further than where it is now.
While the available data and future projections do not look encouraging, there is some good news: all measures that would allow to “change course” by accelerating the reduction of greenhouse gases will be low-cost for fashion firms; about 60% of emissions could be lowered by improving energy efficiency and using renewable energies, 18% by implementing operational improvements, and a further 21% of emissions could become a distant memory with changes in consumer behavior.
Low costs to make buildings more efficient, encourage positive attitudes like values for consumers to follow, and take action to improve operations (e.g. by turning to different fabric manufacturing techniques) are the ingredients of the formula for rapid reductions that, according to Mckinsey, could help fashion reach the goal set in the Paris agreement.
And then what? All of this will not be enough. From 2030 onwards, in order to meet the necessary emission ceilings to make fashion sustainable, the sector will have to go beyond the rapid reductions mentioned in the report, and use all its resourcefulness and creativity to separate value creation from volume growth.