Dirty fashion

The fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries on the planet. According to the World Bank, 20 percent of water pollution globally is caused by textile processing, making it the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet. A full quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles and it is also highly resource-intensive. With clothing consumption predicted to soar by 60 percent by 2030 through the rise of ever-faster fashion, the industry clearly needs to change course. Our campaign is focused on the manufacturing of viscose, a man-made cellulose fibre derived from wood pulp, which could be sustainable, but is often not due to its prevalent production methods. The campaign highlights the environmental and social impact of ‘dirty’ viscose production and shines light on the global supply chains.

Dirty fashion

June 2017

This report shines a spotlight on the environmental and human health impacts caused by the rapidly expanding viscose industry. It presents evidence from the top three viscose producing countries in Asia, showing how the environment, lives and livelihoods are being ruined by the dangerous chemicals and noxious gases its production generates. The report tracks the supply chain and establishes direct links between major European and North American brands and the polluting factories investigated. Brands can play a key role in this process by demanding that viscose companies clean up their act and by offering them support in transitioning towards more sustainable production processes. The good news is that new viscose production methods already exist, which do not rely on the abundant use of toxic chemicals and bring manufacturing into a ‘closed loop’ so that the chemicals which are used do not escape into the environment.

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