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It’s absolutely pie in the sky, no question about it. You need pies in the sky to help us go forward.” — William McDonough (Architect, leader in sustainable development and design, and pioneer of Cradle-to-Cradle design)

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As we have explored in Part 1, fashion is emblematic of the problems with human industry today. An overhaul of the current system of fashion is a question of when not if: the industry’s current trajectory means emissions in 2030 will be 50% higher than the level required to hit the 1.5 degree pathway. Projecting out further, the industry would account for more than 26% of the carbon budget associated with a 2°C pathway by 2050 (the upper bound target of the Paris Climate Agreement). …

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Last week, in Part 1 on the fashion industry, we explored the scale of fashion’s climate impact and the central drivers behind it. This week, in Part 2, I’ll lay out some of the exciting solutions that exist or are being developed to help us stop the rot.

Let’s get to work.

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“A perfect storm of innovation and opportunity is forming in fashion — companies and investors that can capitalise on sustainability and impact-driven innovation will transform the industry and ultimately win” — Katrin Ley, Managing Director of Fashion for…

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To understand the opportunities, you first need to understand the problems.

In this part 1 of 2 on the fashion industry, I layout the scale of fashion’s climate impact and highlight the key drivers behind it. Next week, in part 2, I’ll look at some of the innovative companies and investors who trying to solve these problems.

Let’s build a better world.

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The global fashion industry is extremely energy consuming, polluting and wasteful”- State of Fashion 2020, McKinsey & Co

Right now, fashion is behind the times.

The $1.9 trillion sector, one of the largest manufacturing industries in the world alongside automobiles and technology, is struggling to adapt to the biggest upcoming trend — sustainability. As one of the world’s worst polluting industries, which contributes more greenhouse gas emissions annually than all international flights and maritime ships combined, fashion is a global problem that needs solutions.

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Businesses of any kind — from the highest emitting to the most sustainable — need to finance themselves to exist, survive and grow. The two financing avenues — debt and equity — can be cut and diced in a myriad of ways by a variety of capital providers but share one key unifying factor — they expect a return on their capital invested. If there is money to be made, finance providers usually don’t need a second invitation. So, in our capitalist societies, when we think about how we can best finance businesses that are tackling climate change, the easiest way is to make funding climate change lucrative.


Max Easton

Interested in climate change innovation, with a focus on fashion and food systems. Let’s build a better world.

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