Perhaps more than any other industry, the clothing and textiles sector is governed by the public’s insatiable appetite for constant change – what’s this season’s colour, cut, look? But one trend that isn’t going to become ‘last year’ is the growing demand from consumers that their love of fashion doesn’t come with a costly environmental price tag.
In mid-August, Defra published an important paper, setting out its initial proposals for the legally-binding, long-term environmental targets it intends to include in the Environment Bill. These are a vital element in the UK’s transition from EU Member State to independent country, ensuring that we continue to uphold high environmental standards after we leave the European Union.
I was talking to an economist friend over a drink last weekend, and he told me about the Cobra Effect. It is based on an amusing tale from Delhi in the 19th Century.
At WRAP, we have done a lot of work making the business case for sustainability; demonstrating how it is possible to strike the balance between what is good for a company’s profit line and for the planet.
We believe that we have to shift from the linear make, use, dispose culture to a circular one which embeds sustainable production and consumption and prevents us from plundering the planet’s precious resources. This is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must do’ and that business, government, and all of us as citizens have a responsibility to make that happen.
I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself: I’ve just tweaked the temperature control dial in our fridge. And it’s shocking to think that if every household made sure their fridges were no warmer than 5°C, the loss of milk in the UK each year would be cut by 50,000 tonnes. These lost ‘pintas’ cost a remarkable £25 million.