In numbers: The UK public’s attitudes to supply chain practices in the fashion industry

According to a United Nations Economic Commission for Europe report, textile manufacturing contributes to 10% of worldwide carbon emissions

The survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the Changing Markets Foundation and the Clean Clothes Campaign asks 1,117 UK citizens for their views on environmental and labour issues within the fashion industry and the supply chains of clothing brands.

The industry is now estimated to be producing more than 100 billion garments and 20 billion shoes per year, with the majority of these products intended for fast fashion retailers. Fashion has come under increasing media and public scrutiny in recent times, with concerns raised about the sector’s contributions to a range of issues such as pollution, carbon emissions and waste problems. 

In terms of carbon, the fashion sector currently accounts for accounts for 10% of carbon emissions, but could eat up half of the world’s carbon budget by 2050 as the global population expands. As for social sustainability, fashion is believed to be the second highest-risk industry for modern slavery after technology and employs thousands of people below their nations’ living wage.

UK residents are believed to be purchasing an average of 26.7kg of clothing every year  – more than any other European nation – and spending more than £1,000 per year on fashion. Many of these purchases are believed to end up as waste, with the World Wear Project estimating that 85% of the 35kg of clothing disposed of annually by the average household is sent to landfill.

With this in mind, edie has compiled a round-up of the key findings from the Changing Markets Foundation survey, which includes questions on consumer purchasing decisions, as well as public perceptions of issues such as workers’ rights and clothes certification schemes.

“This is the most comprehensive consumer survey to date looking at perceptions of environmental and social standards in the clothing industry,” said Urska Trunk, campaign adviser, at the Changing Markets Foundation. “It shows that people expect brands to take responsibility for what happens in their supply chains, both in terms of their workers and the environment.

“All the indications are consumer mindsets are changing: they want more accountability, and more information and they are increasingly putting their money where their mouth is.”

In numbers: The UK public’s attitudes to supply chain practices in the fashion industry

George Ogleby 

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