Kerry Bannigan, executive producer of the SDG Media Zone and founder of the Conscious Fashion Campaign spoke about the fashion sector’s crucial role in biodiversity loss in response to the SDG Media Zone session, held ahead of the UN Summit on Biodiversity. Bannigan has urged the fashion industry to clean up and halt the decline of the world’s ecosystem.
The SDG Media Zone session, ‘Why Protecting Nature Protects Us’, was held with UN environment programme executive director, Inger Andersen, and executive secretary of the UN convention on biological diversity, Elizabeth Mrema.
“The fashion industry places a very heavy footprint on biodiversity. So much is rightly written about its impact on climate change and human rights but it is all interconnected; human and animal ecosystems are interdependent. The pandemic has put the devastating impact of the textile and fashion industry into sharp focus and it’s time for the industry to significantly reduce its contribution to biodiversity loss. I urge all producers, manufacturers, suppliers, brands and retailers to stop damaging the world and start cleaning up the fashion industry before it is too late. We need immediate action to change sourcing and production methods to tackle the sharp decline of ecosystems,” Bannigan said in a press release by SDG Media Zone.
One million species, between 12 per cent and 20 per cent of estimated total species, marine and terrestrial alike, are under threat of extinction – ecosystem degradation is so wide ranging, affecting oceans, freshwater, soil, and forests. Fashion supply chains are directly linked to soil degradation, water pollution, and natural ecosystems.
About 93 billion cubic metres of water, enough to meet the needs of five million people, is used by the fashion industry annually, and around half a million tons of micro-fibre, which is the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, is now being dumped into the ocean every year. It takes around 7,500 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans, equivalent to the amount of water the average person drinks over a period of seven years. The industry is responsible for more carbon emissions than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
According to UN News, around 2,000 gallons of water is needed to make one pair of jeans; around 93 billion cubic metres of water, enough for five million people to survive, is used by the fashion industry every year; the fashion industry produces 20 per cent of global wastewater. The clothing and footwear production is responsible for 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. The clothing production doubled between 2000 and 2014.