In order to be sustainable, the fashion industry has to tackle several challenging social and environmental issues across its value chain. One of the most urgent and significant challenge is that of ensuring human rights and non-hazardous work conditions in its own operations and in all tiers of its global supply chain. The environmental impact of the fashion industry is also considerable.
For instance, it takes 3,781 litres of water to produce a pair of jeans and deliver the final product to the store. The global fashion sector, mainly the apparel and footwear industry, produced more greenhouse gases than France, Germany, and the UK combined in 2018, which amounted to 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions or approximately 4% of total global emissions. While local sourcing is a way to reduce downstream emissions, embedding circularity in its distribution with give-back, re-use, recycling, and reverse logistics mechanisms, help to reduce upstream emissions. Globally, while the fashion market is a $2.5 trillion dollar industry, the global ethical fashion market size is expected to grow from $6.93 billion in 2021 to $7.57 billion by the end of 2022. In the Middle East, there is a growing awareness of social and environmental sustainability among consumers.
About 75 percent of Middle Eastern consumers said they buy from companies that are environmentally conscious, compared with 54 percent globally. Sustainable fashion is indeed transitioning from being a luxury commodity to becoming more mainstream.