Black ‘Fraud-Days’ and the Shocking Cost of Staying Fashionable
CAPITALISM, 28 Nov 2022
25 Nov 2022 – Please take a quick look at this short report before rushing to shop on a Black Friday, Christmas sales and all those long chains of big discounts and wholesales; most of them are fake, as often denounced by consumers organisations, which report that the business usually inflates prices before launching such deals.
Just a couple of figures to start with: the fashion industry is responsible for more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
Consequently, it is widely believed that this business is the second major producer of greenhouse gases, just after the other industries using fossil fuels.
And it is a big business, which is estimated as valued at upward of 3 trillion dollars.
Did you know all this?
Now back to its worrying impacts. According to the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and other UN agencies, and non-governmental organisations worldwide:
Wastewater: The fashion industry is responsible for producing 20% of global wastewater and 10% of the global carbon emissions – more than the emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined,
Seven years of needed drinking water for an average person are consumed for producing just one single pair of blue jeans: 7.500 litres,
Enough water to quench the thirst of five million. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), some 93 billion cubic metres of water, is used by the fashion industry annually,
Around half a million tons of microfibre, which is the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, is now being dumped into the ocean every year, polluting the oceans, the wastewater, and toxic dyes,
Plastic microfibres: The textiles industry has recently been identified as a major polluter, with estimates of around half a million tonnes of plastic microfibers ending up in the world’s oceans as polyester, nylon or acrylic are washed each year,
A truckload of abandoned textiles is dumped in landfill or incinerated every second, according to the Ellen Macarthur Foundation, partner of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). This means that of the total fibre input used for clothing, 87% is incinerated or sent to landfill.
Dangerous working conditions: Fashion is often a synonym for dangerous working conditions, unsafe processes and hazardous substances used in production, with continued cruel abuses of modern slavery and child labour, and the exploitation of underpaid workers.
Fast fashion, fast money, fast destruction
The business of fashion years ago ‘invented’ what is known as ‘fast fashion,’ i.e, nice-looking clothing and footwear at low-price.
In fact, the dominant business model in the sector is that of “fast fashion”, whereby consumers are offered constantly changing collections at low prices and encouraged to frequently buy and discard clothes.
Many experts, including the UN, believe the trend is responsible for a plethora of negative social, economic and environmental impacts and, with clothing production doubling between 2000 and 2014, it is crucially important to ensure that clothes are produced as ethically and sustainably as possible.
The consequence is that it is estimated that people are buying 60% more clothes and wearing them for half as long.
“New season, new styles, buy more, buy cheap, move on, throw away waste, and emissions of fast fashion are fueling the triple planetary crisis,” UNEP warned on 24 November, just one day before the usual ‘Black Friday.’
According to the world’s leading environmental organisation, the annual Black Friday sales on 25 November are a reminder of the need to rethink what is bought, what is thrown away, and what it costs the planet.
“Sustainable fashion and circularity in the textiles value chain are possible, yet this century the world’s consumers arebuying more clothes and wearing them for less time than ever before, discarding garments as fast as trends shift.”
A big alliance versus a big business
In a bid to halt the fashion industry’s environmentally and socially destructive practices, and harness the catwalk as a driver to improve the world’s ecosystems, 10 different UN organisations established the UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion, which was launched during the 2019 UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi
“The global production of clothing and footwear generates 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and, with manufacturing concentrated in Asia, the industry is mainly reliant on hard coal and natural gas to generate electricity and heat.”
“If we carry on with a business-as-usual approach, the greenhouse gas emissions from the industry are expected to rise by almost 50% by 2030.”
Baher Kamal, a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment, is an Egyptian-born, Spanish national, secular journalist, with over 45 years of professional experience — from reporter to special envoy to chief editor of national dailies and an international news agency. Baher is former Senior Advisor to the Director General of the international news agency IPS (Inter Press Service) and he also contributed to prestigious magazines such as TRANSCEND Media Service, GEO, Muy Interesante, and Natura, Spain. He is also publisher and editor of Human Wrongs Watch.
Tags: Capitalism, Commercialization
DISCLAIMER: The statements, views and opinions expressed in pieces republished here are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of TMS. In accordance with title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. TMS has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is TMS endorsed or sponsored by the originator. “GO TO ORIGINAL” links are provided as a convenience to our readers and allow for verification of authenticity. However, as originating pages are often updated by their originating host sites, the versions posted may not match the versions our readers view when clicking the “GO TO ORIGINAL” links. This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Click here to go to the current weekly digest or pick another article:
- Wealth of Five Richest Men Doubles Since 2020 as Five Billion People Made Poorer in "Decade of Division," Says Oxfam
- The Transnational Capitalist Class. The Billionaires, the Trillionaires. “Stake Holder Capitalism” and the New World Order
- How Wealthy Corporations Use Investment Agreements to Extract Millions from Developing Countries