The fashion industry shifting towards sustainability in production.

Published: May 13, 2024
Author: Fashion Value Chain

Sustainability is becoming a big trend in the fashion business as buyers look for apparel made with ethical materials. To satisfy this need, fashion firms are understanding how important it is to use sustainable methods. This transition to sustainability includes using ecologically friendly production techniques and ethically procuring products. Despite obstacles including rising prices and international conflicts, the fashion industry is shifting toward ethical fashion, encouraging eco-friendly alternatives for clothes and accessories.

Sustainable fashion in apparel is a multifaceted term that encompasses a range of standards, including the use of sustainable materials such as “plastic-free,” “organic,” or “recycled.” Polyester, a material often used in apparel manufacturing, emits harmful microfibers into the environment and is not biodegradable. According to predictions, the textile sector will produce 1.27 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2030.

The global fashion market is seeing a rise in sustainable clothing, with the ethical fashion market reaching almost 7.5 billion USD in 2022 and a projected growth rate of 6.5%. Sustainable clothing now holds a 4.3% market share, up from 2.83% in 2017. The global sustainable apparel market is expected to reach 11.2 million USD in 2023, with organic cotton leading the way at 37% market share.

The ethical fashion market is set to grow significantly, reaching a projected value of USD 11.2 billion by 2027 with an 8.1% growth rate. Projections indicate a continued momentum, with an estimated CAGR of 8.6% leading to a value of USD 16.8 billion by 2032.

The sustainable clothing market is on the rise, driven by the popularity of eco-friendly materials in the fashion industry. Materials such as Tencel and Pinatex, made from sustainably sourced wood pulp and pineapple or banana fibers, are gaining market share. Organic materials are projected to see substantial growth, with eco-friendly and animal cruelty-free brands also experiencing significant increases in market share.

In 2022, the Asia Pacific region leads the ethical fashion market with a 33.0% market share. Eastern Europe and South America are projected to be the fastest-growing regions with CAGRs of 12.5% and 10.3%. The fashion industry, according to a McKinsey Executive Survey, is focusing on environmental, social, and governance issues due to the impact of climate change.

Clothing brands like Zara, H&M, C&A, and Nike are shifting towards sustainable practices to reduce their environmental impact. Zara plans to use 100% renewable energy and eliminate single-use plastics by 2023, while also incorporating more sustainable materials like linen and recycled polyester by 2025. However, H&M has been criticized for not being entirely eco-friendly despite using some lower-impact materials in their products.

Adidas and Puma are both focusing on sustainability in the fashion industry. Adidas has set goals for 2025 including material innovation, cleaner energy sources, and low-carbon design. Puma aims to reduce carbon emissions, use more renewable energy, and improve water and plastic usage. Puma’s detailed progress reports earn it a top rating for its Environmental Report.

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