Environmental protection issues are discussed both in the media and in private conversations all the time; more and more people become aware that our everyday consumer choices have a huge impact on the future of the world around us. Unfortunately, we still do not take this seriously enough.
Scientists warn that pollution and environmental destruction are reaching critical point, therefore caring for the world every single day should no longer be considered a choice, but a duty of us all.The sad fact that the fashion industry has a very negative impact on the environment is not yet widely known. Let's look at the numbers: the report "Pulse of the Fashion Industry" (The Global Fashion Agenda / The Boston Consulting Group) shows that the fashion industry was responsible for the emission of 1,715 million tons of CO2 in 2015, which accounted for 5.4% of global emission. This means that among the most environmentally harmful industries the clothing production ranks the fifth, together with industrial farming (with energy production (24.9%), agriculture (13.8%), road transportation (10.5%) and oil and gas production (6.4%) ahead of them). Not only the carbon footprint of fashion industry is appalling, the other factors such as use of toxic chemicals, increasing number of textile waste and huge water consumption (79 billion m3 of water in 2015 - more than in electricity production) are also alarming. 
What is unique is the fact that the fashion industry has common areas with literally all of the above mentioned: clothing factories consume a lot of energy (often from "dirty" sources - coal and oil); cotton is an agricultural product; part of the clothing supply is delivered by road transportation; polyester is an oil-based product; leather comes from industrial farming. This only confirms the huge impact of the clothing industry on our planet’s health. Improving the supply chain and reducing emissions would decrease the harmfulness of five other most environmentally-dangerous industries! Boldly speaking – sustainable fashion has a chance to save the world!
WHAT CAN WE DO AS CONSUMERS?
If people want to live more consciously, with respect for the environment, we will have to transform production into a more sustainable one. Unfortunately, due to the complex supply chain, the introduction of noticeable changes (which will actually lead to sustainable development) will take years. It should also be remembered that for producers switching to organic production is extremely costly and time-consuming, although, at the same time, possible and obviously needed. [...] It is difficult to expect a drastic increase in such practices, because switching to the ‘eco’ version and respecting the environment is a process, not a one-off action. It will take a long time. It is a long-term trend that has already begun to be introduced." - we read in the book "Fashionable alternative – about responsibility in the clothing industry." 
So, first and foremost, each and every one of us can contribute to the protection of the environment by making thoughtful choices when buying clothes or shoes. It's up to us how the fashion industry will change!
Let's support companies offering eco-friendly fashion! When buying from them we may be sure that the whole process of clothing production is consistent with the idea of sustainable development and respect for the natural environment, and that all workers have guaranteed decent work standards. These clothes are often more expensive, but they come with guaranteed long use, high-quality materials and sewing and the highest production standards.
Let’s buy items from recycling (for example shoes made from Pet plastic bottles, Pinatex or airbags)!
They are always the most environmentally friendly - they reduce the consumption of primary resources and help to solve the growing problem of waste management (“It is estimated that around 2.5 million tons of textile waste are generated in Poland every year, half of which is recyclable” - Ewelina Rozpara, spokesperson for VIVE Textile Recycling)
Ultimately, the best thing we can do is keeping our clothes in good condition, wearing them as long as possible and buying fewer new items.
2. „Moda na alternatywę czyli o odpowiedzialności w branży odzieżowej” pod redakcją Agaty Rudnickiej
photo: Lu Guang/Greenpeace