By renoon

Why are your fashion brands turning carbon neutral?

Carbon neutrality is the new fashion must-have. What do scientists, environmentalists and brands have to say?

Carbon neutrality is the new fashion must-have. What do scientists, environmentalists and brands have to say? Is going carbon neutral going to solve our problems? 

Know your thing

This is the guide you need, so next time you read “we are carbon neutral” from a fashion brand you will know your thing.

Photo: Gabriela Hearst show SS20, a Sheep Inc wool jumper and Ganni 10%: this is the big share the fashion industry accounts for in the global greenhouse gas emissions (according to the United Nations). If it continues like this, it could use more than 25% of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050..Brands are recognizing this fact and acting for a change.

What does “carbon neutral” mean?

Just because we exist, we emit greenhouse gases. Among them, CO2 is the most known. Going carbon neutral actually means balancing out what was emitted to make it equal to 0. There are 2 ways to do it:

#1Reducing emissionsThis means that actually what is reduced has never been emitted at all.

#2Offsetting emissionsThis means that after CO2 and other gases are emitted they are compensated by brands who donate money to causes that balance things out.

What is the difference between reducing and offsetting?

Well, the first one is always the most preferred one because it means that the brand as a whole or some of its collections are not emitting at all those gases.

But of course, some emissions happen in the making of a product (remember: we emit just by existing). These emissions can be offset. 

However, it is important that brands do not only commit to donate and balance their pollution out. This is very true also because experts states that there are many ways in which offsets can go wrong and become ineffective or even harmful to communities. 

Sometimes: offsets = pay to pollute

If offsets are so risky, why is it still important for brands to do them?

Even though offsets should be handled with care, the money they provide to farmers and other private landowners can actually make a good difference allowing for more regenerative agriculture practices. 

In the end, according to experts our world is not going to be saved by offsets. But that’s not a reason to totally do away with them. An offset is one step… It’s a way of starting to move the needle in the right direction.

Want to dig deeper? You can read more on fashionista.com –>

What to do in practice?

Ask brands to be more transparent on their practices. What do they mean with carbon neutral? Are they just paying off entirely their emissions for their collection or are they actually taking steps to reduce the carbon emissions?

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