Key challenges for the fashion industry in tackling climate change


  • Matthew Hibberd USI – Università Svizzera Italiana, Institute for Media and Journalism (IMeG),



climate change, global warming, globalisation, modernity, post modernity


The global rise in the earth’s surface temperature in coming decades will bring with it increased instances of flooding, drought and volatile weather patterns. One of the main industries affected is fashion, which is responsible for some 5% of current global carbon emissions (Bauck, 2017). There is common acknowledgement that every stage in the production of garments for the fashion world creates pollution and emission problems: from sourcing and use of scarce water resources in the production of cotton, to farming processes in the production of leather, from the use of industrial dyes and synthetic textile fibres to the need for ships, planes and lorries to transport the final product globally. This article explores the main challenges facing the fashion industry from climate change. The main argument of this essay is that fashion has grown to be a key exemplar industry of global capitalism, often being associated with the positive and negatives excesses of globalisation. It is also therefore seen as one of the key industries responsible for climate change causing much reflection within the industry as to how this key issue should be tackled. On the plus side, the fashion industry can capitalize on its modern high-profile status to bring real attention to climate change issues through publicity and media attention. The global scale of clothing manufacturing and distribution, and the pollution it helps to create, has led many in the industry to seek ways to promote climate change initiatives in the industry. This aspiration, though, is a most difficult one in an industry with complex global production and distribution chains and one which is so embedded in modern consumer culture, often blamed for the worsening environment degradation worldwide.




How to Cite

Hibberd, M. (2018). Key challenges for the fashion industry in tackling climate change. Studies in Communication Sciences, 18(2), 383–397.