Life Cycle Analysis of the Fashion Industry

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Topics: Sustainability
Industrial Ecology Practices in the Fashion Industry

Introduction
The industrial revolution in the 1800s brought a paradigm shift to the way humans interacted with the environment. The increased capability of producing and manufacturing on a large scale, the rise of multiple industries, growing demand and proliferation of hedonistic consumption patterns, has created a culture of surplus, want and waste. (Falasca-Zamponi, 2012) From an environmental point of view, this resource hungry trend is unsustainable and has detrimental ecological impacts, such as pollution and climate change. These problems have highlighted the consequence of our insatiable demand for resources and the need to rethink current practices and thoughts in order to maintain current living standards and ensure future growth. The ideas of environmental management, industrial ecology and ecological footprint have been proposed to allow for a meticulous look to the products that we manufacture and use, with emphasis on measuring the ecological impacts in hopes of reducing them. A multitude of tools have since been created to measure efficiency in hopes to highlight areas for improvement, of which the ISO standard and Life cycle assessment are part of. Undoubtedly, many companies have adopted life cycle analysis (LCA) in order to assess and reduce their product’s impact on the environment.
The fashion industry, at its core, is based on the notion of continual consumption of the ‘new’ and the discard of the ‘old’, especially with new seasonal lines coming out every 3 months. The industry celebrates creativity with the continuous turnover of trends, leading to the “premature product replacement and fashion obsolescence”. This constant change has major negative environmental and social impacts, particularly on those at the bottom of the supply chain. (Allwood et al, 2006; Hethorn and Ulasewicz, 2008) Moreover, delocalised production, often all over the world, is commonly practiced in line with the



References: Allwood, C. K., Laursen, S. E., DeRodriguez, C. M., & Bocken, N. M. P. (2006). Well Dressed? The Present and Future Sustainability of Clothing and Textiles in the United Kingdom, University of Cambridge. Institute for Manufacturing, Cambridge. Ashkin, S. P. (2012). THE CHOICE IS YOURS. Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 46(10), 60-60. Beamon, B. M. (1999). Designing the green supply chain. Logistics information management, 12(4), 332-342. Cheng, J. H., Yeh, C. H., & Tu, C. W. (2008). Trust and knowledge sharing in green supply chains. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 13(4), 283-295. Curwen, L. G., Park, J., & Sarkar, A. K. (2013). Challenges and Solutions of Sustainable Apparel Product Development A Case Study of Eileen Fisher. Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, 31(1), 32-47. Doorey, D. J. (2011). The transparent supply chain: From resistance to implementation at Nike and Levi-Strauss. Journal of business ethics, 103(4), 587-603. EMAS (2011) EMAS-Factsheet. Retrieved from http://ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/pdf/factsheet/EMASiso14001_high.pdf on 22 April 2013 EPA (2013) Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)| Sustainable Technology Research |US EPA Falasca-Zamponi, S. (2012). Waste and consumption: Capitalism, the environment, and the life of things. Routledge. Fletcher, K. (2008). Sustainable fashion and textiles: Design journeys. Routledge. Golden, J. S., Subramanian, V., & Zimmerman, J. B. (2011). Sustainability and Commerce Trends. Journal of Industrial Ecology, 15(6), 821-824. Hawken, P., Lovins, A. B., & Lovins, L. H. (2010). Natural capitalism: the next industrial revolution. Earthscan Publications. Henderson, R., Locke, R. M., Lyddy, C., & Reavis, C. (2009). Nike considered: Getting traction on sustainability. MIT Sloan Management Review. Hethorn, J., & Ulasewicz, C. (2008). Sustainable fashion: why now?: a conversation about issues, practices, and possibilities. Fairchild books. ISO. (2013) About ISO. Retrieved from http://www.iso.org/iso/about.htm on 22 April 2013 Jeffries, E Joergens, C. (2006). Ethical fashion: myth or future trend?. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 10(3), 360-371. Kogg, B. (2003). Greening a cotton-textile supply chain: a case study of the transition towards organic production without a powerful focal company. Greener Management International, 53-64. Kozlowski, A., Bardecki, M., & Searcy, C. (2012). Environmental Impacts in the Fashion Industry. Journal of Corporate Citizenship, 2012(45), 16-36. Kumar, S., & Malegeant, P. (2006). Strategic alliance in a closed-loop supply chain, a case of manufacturer and eco-non-profit organization. Technovation, 26(10), 1127-1135. Lamming, R., & Hampson, J. (1996). The environment as a supply chain management issue. British journal of Management, 7(s1), S45-S62. Levi’s (2013) Sustainability | Levi Strauss & Co. Retrieved from http://www.levistrauss.com/sustainability on 20 April 2013. Levi’s (2013) Values & Vision | Levi Strauss & Co. Retrieved from www.levistrauss.com/about/values-vision on 20 April 2013 Madsen, J., Hartlin, B., Perumalpillai, S., Selby, S., & Aumônier, S McDonough, W., & Braungart, M. (2010). Cradle to cradle: Remaking the way we make things. North point press. Nike (2013) NIKE, Inc. - About NIKE, Inc. Retrieved from http://nikeinc.com/pages/about-nike-inc on 21 April 2013 Nike (2013) NIKE, Inc Nike (2013) Reuse-A-Shoe: Shoe Recycling with Nike and Converse | Reuse-A-Shoe & Nike Grind Retrieved from http://www.nikereuseashoe.com/ on 21 April 2013 Seuring, S., & Müller, M Sustainable Apparel Coalition (2013) Sustainable Apparel Coalition – Home Retrieved from http://www.apparelcoalition.org/ on 22 April 2013

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