McKinsey report: Biodiversity as next frontier in sustainable fashion

A new McKinsey report released in July points towards the fact that the apparel industry should radically reduce the industry’s contribution to biodiversity loss.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, sustainability remains top of mind for consumers, investors, and regulators—in fact, engagement in sustainability has deepened during the crisis. For example, two-thirds of apparel shoppers say that limiting impact on climate change is now more important to them since before COVID-19.1

But while much has been written about the fashion industry’s impact on climate change, less well known and well covered is the industry’s heavy footprint on biodiversity. Broadly defined as the variety of all life forms on earth, biodiversity matters. We rely on it for food and energy, and we depend on its irreplaceable role in sustaining air quality, providing fresh water and soil, and regulating climate. And yet biodiversity is declining at a faster rate than ever before in human history.2 One million species, between 12 percent and 20 percent of estimated total species, marine and terrestrial alike, are under threat of extinction.

The apparel industry is a significant contributor to biodiversity loss. Apparel supply chains are directly linked to soil degradation, conversion of natural ecosystems, and waterway pollution.

In an article, McKinsey experts examine the apparel industry’s largest contributors to biodiversity loss, how companies can strategically mitigate that loss, and what brands can do to boldly lead the industry’s biodiversity efforts.

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Text from: Sandra Wirsching, European Biotechnology Magazine, 12 August 2020