Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

A new white paper, authored by Veronica Bates-Kassatly and Dorothee Baumann-Pauly and launched by the consultancy Eco-Age, looks at some of the major concerns with sustainability assessments that are currently used for fashion.

This paper follows the first of the series, which looked at how fashion defines sustainability and how a vital metric, impact on the multidimensionally poor, is left out of the equation.

Part 2 moves into environmental impact assessment, arguing that the cradle to gate measurements used by fashion ignore the harmful outcomes in some garments use and disposal.

The authors make a case for measuring impacts per wear, rather than per kilo, and investigate the overlooked impacts of polyester.

Throughout the paper, the authors include an action point for each concern that is raised, urging policymakers and corporations to ensure that present actions do not compromise future generations.

IWTO Secretary General Dalena White welcomed the new paper’s findings, saying, “‘Sustainability’ has become a fashion trend and very lucrative business model, but in the world of textiles, it is interwoven with greenwashing and manipulated data sets, carefully selected to optimise profits.

“The European Commission recently actioned a sweep of 344 websites making sustainability claims and found nearly half were lacking in evidence and 42% of green claims were exaggerated, false or plain deceptive.”

The European Commission promises to publish a European strategy for sustainable textiles this July.

Key issues raised:

  • The limited scope of life cycle assessments (LCAs)
  • Water use in cotton farming, the impact of lower yields on farmer income and biodiversity, and the overlooked impact of manure
  • Digging deeper into existing sustainability studies – time frames, locations, allocation methods, and values that radically change impacts
  • Overlooked impacts of polyester and microfibres

Insights from the authors

Eco-Age supported the launch of the white paper, ‘The Use and Misuse of Sustainability Metrics in Fashion’ and the authors share their insights here

Learn More About the Links Between Wool and Sustainability

For more information on wool and its many environmental benefits, take a look at our fact sheets, statistics and guidelines. You can find all resources here.