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Report – London’s fashion footprint: An analysis of material flows, consumption-based emissions, and levers for climate action

The fashion industry is the UK’s largest creative industry, but it comes with a huge environmental price. Fashion accounts for around 10% of global emissions—more than aviation and shipping combined.

The industry consumes 98 million tonnes of non-renewable resources every year and the European Environment Agency reports that it is the fourth highest industry in terms of usage of raw materials. Without significant intervention, these impacts are expected to compound as a result of increasing levels of consumption, putting the industry on track to use over a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050.

The sector also plays a huge role in London, a city known globally for its cutting-edge design. Though fashion is a major cultural contributor and a significant employer, the sector is built and reliant on complex, extensive, and often opaque global supply chains.

To better understand the dynamics at play in London’s fashion sector, London’s fashion footprint maps material flows across the city’s fashion supply chain, identifying where carbon hotspots occur and shows that fashion makes a significant contribution to the city’s consumption-based emissions associated with the stuff that we use.

The report also shows how cities and their residents can act to make a difference, highlighting scenarios and London-specific interventions which can help to keep global temperature rises within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels.

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