If the US fashion industry shifts to onshoring and nearshoring it will reap the benefits from both a business and environmental point of view, writes National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO)’s Kimberly Glas in https://www.just-style.com/.
Decisions made decades ago have come back to haunt the fashion industry when it comes to environmental governance. About 30 years ago, free trade dogma took hold in our industry and the halls of government. New trade agreements were negotiated. The World Trade Organisation was established, and China was rewarded with Permanent Normal Trade Relations with the United States. Consequently, business was globalised, while economies became evermore intertwined.
In the case of textiles and apparel, offshoring was all the rage. Many sourcing executives scoured developing countries looking for the lowest-cost producers to make their products with a fierce competition that was a race to the bottom for fast, disposable fashion. But lost in all of this were domestic manufacturers and labour and environmental standards necessary to ensure a sustainable supply chain.
However, globalisation brought unforeseen consequences such as well-documented environmental harm, lax overseas labour standards, and a hollowing-out of the middle class here at home and in developed economies — actual costs with real implications for people everywhere.
The fashion industry — from material sourcing, through supply chains to washing and waste — is estimated to be responsible for 8% to 10% of global carbon emissions according to the United Nations.
But what can the industry do? The entire sourcing system needs to be overhauled. Changing times like those in which we live demands no less.
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