The fashion industry is the second-most polluting industry on the planet, behind only oil. One of the best things that you as a shopper can do is just to be aware of things that make a difference, like only buying what you need.
The good news is that the fashion industry is recognizing that there is a problem and—slowly—designers, manufacturers, and stores are changing their ways based, in part, on pressure from consumers. Big changes that many brands are making include looking at how they source materials, evaluating the sustainability of their supply chains, and adopting renewable energy.
Green is the New Black: Sustainability is Becoming a Fashion Buzzword
In the fashion industry, “going green” or being sustainable has long had a deeply unfashionable connation. When high fashion companies like Gucci and Louis Vuitton began transitioning to more sustainable materials and processes, they mainly kept quiet about it.
But, fortunately for all of us consumers, even they are starting to speak up. Before the Paris Climate Talks, seven large clothing manufacturers, including the Gap and H&M urged action to mitigate climate change. Slowly, sustainability is becoming a hip buzzword in the fashion industry.
Green and Chic: Brands that are Greening the Retail World
Two companies in particular, Patagonia and H&M, are leading the charge toward clothing companies powered entirely by renewable, clean energy.
Since its creation in 1973, Patagonia has emphasized environmental sensitivity; an ethic that their customers are eager to display. On their website, Patagonia states that “we try to stay focused on specific things Patagonia can do to reduce, neutralize, or even reverse the root causes of climate change,” including generating and using renewable energy.
In fiscal year 2015, Patagonia says they generated 203,502 kilowatt-hours using on-site solar arrays and purchased 980,112 more kilowatt-hours of green, clean energy. They intend to continually increase the amount of renewable energy they generate and consume. Patagonia also recently created a $35 million fax equity fund to help homeowners in a handful of states purchase residential solar energy systems.
“As a company, it very much aligns with the DNA of what we do, and that’s [to] use business to inspire and influence environmental solutions,” says Phil Graves, Director of Corporate Development at Patagonia, as told the Guardian. “We’re very passionate about moving away from fossil fuels and finite resources in every aspect of our supply chain.”
A less outdoorsy clothing company making changes is H&M. Like a number of other clothing and retail companies, H&M has pledged their intention of using 100 percent renewable energy. They’re well on their way to reaching that goal. In 2016, the company sourced more than 90 percent of its energy from renewable sources.
Their end goal is even loftier than that: by 2040, H&M plans to be climate-positive by 2040. ‘Using less energy and increasing our economic output is a fundamental part of our strategy, says H&M’s global sustainability business expert, Pierre Borjesson. “H&M has already reduced carbon emissions by 77 percent since 2013.
Other companies, including some other less well-known brands, are following in their footsteps. Sustainability, carbon-neutral operations, and 100 percent reliance on clean energy are lofty goals, and every little step in the right direction helps.
If you’re interested in learning more about what the fashion industry is doing about its sustainability and renewable energy practices, follow Fashion for Good.
Here at CleanChoice Energy, operating our business as a force for good is baked into who we are as a company. In fact, when we launched our operations, we decided to obtain B Corp status, which means we’re part of a community of companies that are actively making positive impacts on the environment and their communities.
CleanChoice Energy’s mission is to make clean energy accessible to all. As a green energy electricity supplier, we help customers switch to 100% renewable energy from wind and solar power. Learn how you can make the switch to clean energy today!