London has declared a climate emergency. In response, the capital is launching its first ever London Climate Action Week, between 1st-8th July.
As a London-based charity working to tackle the environmental cost of fast fashion for two decades, this is an important opportunity to come together for a week of ideas and actions to address the climate emergency.
The fashion industry is a massive generator of greenhouses gases and contributes more to climate change than international aviation and shipping combined. And, research predicts that the global carbon emissions emitted from making our clothes will increase by up to 60% over the next 11 years.
The Government is in denial
The C02e (the carbon dioxide equivalent used to measure carbon footprints) from clothes in use in the UK increased to 2 million tonnes between 2012 and 2016. Unfortunately, the UK government has decided to do nothing to reduce the massive impact that the fashion industry has on the climate.
Just a few weeks ago the Government published a shameful response to the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) report “Fixing Fashion,” rejecting each of the 18 recommendations proposed. Ignoring the 68 pages of evidence, the government said “no” to:
- Banning the scandal of having fashion brands burning or sending to landfill unsold stock that otherwise could be re-used. Yet 300, 0000 tonnes of clothes are still going to landfill in the UK with an estimated cost to the economy of £82 million a year
- Setting mandatory environmental targets for big retailers – in spite of the fact that the fashion industry is ranked fourth in terms of its negative impact on the environment after housing, transport and food.
- Giving students the chance to learn repair skills in school that could potentially bring an end to the culture of young people throwing their clothes into the bin if they are a little damaged -approx 60% currently do so.
- Incentivising the repair and re-use industry through the tax system that could bring new green job opportunities and promote sustainable consumption
The government’s response to the EAC report is simply irresponsible. But we are not.
What you can do
London is a global icon when it comes to fashion and Londoners love clothes. At TRAID, we know that people in this city want to do something about the unsustainable relationship that we have with clothes.
Since launching the 23% campaign to tackle the issue of unworn clothes in our wardrobes, three quarters of a million items of clothing have been passed to TRAID by Londoners responding to our call to action to “fashion more with less”. Plus, the majority of residents in the city say that supporting the UN Global Goal Number 12, “sustainable consumption and production” would make them feel happier.
So here a few simple actions that every Londoner can do during this Climate Action Week:
- Sign the petition calling on Thérèse Coffey, Minister responsible for resource and environment management to set mandatory environmental targets for retailers with a turnover of more £ 36 million.
- Take the 23% campaign action: Look at your wardrobe, think about the clothes you no longer need and make sure that the 123 millions items of clothing that are currently unworn in London’s wardrobes get back into circulation. We will let you know the carbon savings made by you as result of taking the action.
- Choose the most eco-smart and affordable way of consuming clothes: choose #secondhandfirst. Visit TRAID’s 11 charity shops across London
- Young Londoners also have a key role to play in addressing the climate emergency. Last August Greta Thunberg skipped school to sit down outside the Swedish parliament to call for climate action, and without knowing it at the time, inspired millions to start the “school strike” global movement. TRAID provides a wide range of educational activities across London schools so if you are a teacher get in touch with us.
You can also help others to create a more sustainable wardrobe by having a clothes bank in your workplace to encourage your colleagues to pass on clothes they no longer need for someone else to use. TRAID will come and collect for free. Contact us to find out more.