10 Tips To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If you have been following us for a while, chances are high that you are familiar with the term 'carbon offsetting', a buzzword that has been flying around for at least a decade but only really took off last year.

Unfortunately, many people are overwhelmed by the topic because the process of calculating one's carbon footprint can be very technical, and we don't blame you! 

We will explain how adopting a more conscious lifestyle can lower your environmental footprint on the planet significantly, particularly when making fashion choices, whether that is for you or your little ones.

What Is A Carbon Footprint

CO2 (carbon dioxide) is a greenhouse gas (GHG) that is emitted in the process of making a product or delivering a service. While CO2 accounts for almost 80% of all GHGs and can almost entirely be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels, individuals like you and me also contribute to global warming, from the meat we eat to the Insta posts we publish, practically everything we do has some negative effect on the climate or the sustainability of our planet.

In addition, another 10% of GHGs identifies as methane, a toxic gas that gets released in landfill (where most of our fashion ends up due to the lack of recycling and up-cycling solutions). 

Put simply, a carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions. Every single choice you make, from the moment you wake up, contributes to your environmental impact in one way or the other.

The average carbon footprint for a person in the United States is 16 tons, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average is closer to 4 tons. To have the best chance of avoiding a 2℃ rise in global temperatures, the average global carbon footprint per year needs to drop under 2 tons by 2050.

Lowering individual carbon footprints from 16 tons to 2 tons doesn’t happen overnight! By making small changes to our actions, like eating less meat, taking less flights and choosing organic clothes over polyester, nylon and others made from plastics derived by fossil fuels, we can start making a big difference.

Calculate your individual carbon footprint here.

The Problem With Fast Fashion

The current state of the fashion industry can be described as an environmental and social emergency. Nearly 20 percent of global waste water is produced by the fashion industry, which also emits about ten percent of global carbon emissions – that is more than the global aviation and shipping industry combined.

In addition, the textiles industry has been identified as a major contributor to plastic entering the ocean, which is a growing concern because of the associated negative environmental and health implications, for animals and humans alike.

According to the 2020 McKinsey Fashion On Climate Report, the sector was responsible for some 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions in 2018. To set that in context, the fashion industry emits about the same quantity of GHGs per year as the entire economies of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom combined.

Despite efforts to reduce emissions, the industry is on a trajectory that will exceed the 1.5-degree pathway to mitigate climate change set out by the Paris agreement many counties have signed and committed to. To reach this pathway, fashion would need to cut its GHG emissions to 1.1 billion metric tons of CO2 by 2030 (that is 50% less). But the growth calculations show that the industry is set to overshoot its target by almost twofold if no urgent action is taken by business and consumers.

How You Can Make A Difference

The fashion industry as a whole has a lot of work to do, but progress is happening. An increasing number of brands are becoming carbon-neutral, meaning they offset their carbon emissions associated with the sourcing, production and shipping of their products.

However, the onus is on fashion leaders to move from a moderate decarbonisation trajectory to a significantly more ambitious one. With that challenge in mind, it has never been more important to explore the emissions status quo and to understand in detail how various decarbonisation scenarios may play out.

For consumers, buying a pair of carbon-neutral sneakers won't solve the problem of climate change, but it is a start. By continuously supporting businesses that follow circular fashion models, meaning they offer repair, recycling or up-cycling services, or buying second-hand are a few simple choices that make a big difference in terms of our impact.

Here are ten things you can do reduce your footprint:

  1. Buy from Climate-Conscious or Carbon-Neutral Brands 
  2. Buy GOTS Certified Organic Baby Clothes Made From Natural Fibres, Not Fossil-Fuels
  3. Start Thrifting and Buy Second-hand Clothing to Keep Waste out of Landfill
  4. Support Local: Cut down on Emissions Associated with the Travel of Your Clothes
  5. Be Conscious and Buy Less 
  6. Cold-Wash your Clothes
  7. Air-Dry your Clothes
  8. Create a Capsule Wardrobe (check our blog for tips)
  9. Download the GoodOnYou app For More Free Education
  10. Tell Your Friends and Family: Share This Blog with Your Networks

Know Better, Be Better

When COVID-19 erupted last year, it highlighted the interconnectedness of our lives and the inherent uncertainty surrounding global economies, businesses and humankind. Similarly, the protests associated with the Black Lives Matter movement have increased the pressure to solve social issues that pervade large parts of society and the fashion industry. This turbulent year has heightened awareness of the many challenges the fashion industry is facing, including in supplier relationships, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, employment structures, overproduction and wastage.

Like Maya Angelou would say "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better". Education around the topics of sustainability, carbon impact, and social responsibility is critical to drive positive change and become part of the solution, for businesses as well as consumers. We all have a role to play and are responsible for our actions, so let's start today.

At Indie & Isaac, we take sustainability very serious. 

Our shop only holds very limited stock as we have partnered with sustainable fashion brands that understand the importance of small scale production to cut down on textile waste. We are proud to be small and we’re motivated to learn along the way to become the best sustainable version of ourself. We see our journey toward sustainability as an open and honest conversation with our suppliers, retailers, and most importantly, you.

Learn more on our website or contact us at hello@indieandisaac.com