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January 24, 2020

New tool helps shoppers calculate their fashion footprint

A new tool has launched to help consumers discover the carbon impact of their wardrobes – as well as outlining steps they can take to lighten their fashion footprint. 

By Beth Wright

A new tool has launched to help consumers discover the carbon impact of their wardrobes – as well as outlining steps they can take to lighten their fashion footprint. 

Developed by online resale store ThredUp, the ‘Fashion Footprint Calculator’ asks users to answer 12 questions such as ‘How often do you buy clothing (new and used)?’, ‘How many items of clothing do you buy in a year?’, and ‘How many clothing items do you rent per year?’

Based on the responses, the tool – which has been launched in partnership with actress Emma Watson – calculates fashion footprints on a scale of low to high using a carbon study commissioned by independent research firm Green Story. It also explains what each individual fashion footprint is equivalent to in terms of number of flights, and how many pounds of carbon emissions a shopper’s fashion habits contribute annually.

Users can also compare their rating with the average consumer who contributes 1,6202 pounds of carbon emissions a year.

In addition, the Calculator suggests ways shoppers can reduce their fashion footprints with links to sustainable clothing brands and retailers, and a discount off a first order with ThredUp, which claims to be the world’s largest consignment and thrift store.

Watson took to Instagram to announce the tool’s launch:

#ad Our closets impact the planet and climate more than you might realize, which is why I am proud to partner with @thredUP to launch their new Fashion Footprint Calculator (link in bio!) They created an easy to use tool, and I’m so excited to help people discover the carbon impact of their wardrobes, and steps you can take to lighten your fashion footprint. They’ll tell you what your fashion footprint is equivalent to a number of flights, exactly how many pounds of CO2 it produces and how you fare compared to an average consumer. Small changes, such as thrifting instead of buying new, supporting sustainable brands, and air-drying your clothes, can make a HUGE difference. My friends at @goodonyou_app are also included in the directory at the end of the quiz, where you can get more info on the impact of your fashion choices. Also, if you don’t know @thredUP, they are one of my favourite online thrift stores. They make it incredibly easy to find any brand and style secondhand at up to 90% off est. retail, from high street brands to some of my favourite designers. I love their mission to inspire us to think secondhand first and create a more circular fashion future. (P.S. they are just shipping to U.S. and Canada currently, but the Calculator is available to everyone!) Find out your fashion footprint by clicking the link in my bio, or heading to thredup.com/quiz to make a difference for the planet! #fashionfootprint ??????

A post shared by Emma Watson (@emmawatson) on

The tool comes amid calls for the fashion industry to take steps to reduce its own carbon footprint, which has led to a plethora of sustainability-focused initiatives springing up across the global apparel and textile sectors. 

Despite the commitments from industry players, an investigative report by international environmental organisation Stand.earth last year found pledges from many of the top companies fail to meet the climate pollution reduction standards called for by the UN Paris Agreement.

This is largely because they lack key commitments to transition factories and other parts of global supply chains away from coal and other fossil fuels and on to renewable energy, according to the ‘Filthy Fashion Climate Scorecard’ report.

Meanwhile, new analysis from non-profit CDP this week has found clothing brands and retailers need to be more forthcoming with data regarding their efforts to tackle climate change.

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