Top Brands Make Inventory Go Up in Flames


How would you feel if you found out that major fashion brands—think Nike, Burberry, Urban Outfitters, even Walmart—were destroying millions of dollars worth of merchandise per year? The idea puts most people into disbelief, but is unfortunately a very true reality; H&M alone has destroyed 60 tons of new and unused clothes since 2013. According to industry expert Timo Rissanen, this wasteful strategy stems from pressure to constantly rotate new merchandise. For luxury brands, especially, the incentive is to create more consumer allure through scarcity. Most of the destruction by burning, which offloads tons of carbon into the atmosphere—harming not only the environment, but also the garment workers, most of whom are women, tasked with the job.


For Further Reading:

Eager to learn more about how fashion is harming the environment—and what we can do to stop it? Read this lengthy breakdown from the UK’s Independent.


Discussion Question:

How do you think that governmental bodies should go about regulating the fashion industry’s environmental practices? Do you think they have a right to at all? Who does that responsibility fall on?


Action Item:

One of the best ways to lessen your fashion environmental footprint is by avoiding fast fashion, but there are other ways to cut back as well. Challenge yourself to avoid buying polyester garments—the fabric’s production, which involves oil, is toughest on the atmosphere.


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