Ecological footprint analysis is another approach to

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Ecological footprint analysis is another approach to environmental sustainability assessment. An ecological footprint is de fi ned as the area of land necessary to support a population inde fi nitely (Rees and Wackernagel 1996 ; Wackernagel et al. 1999 ). In brief, this area includes the land necessary to produce the food, fi bre and other resources humans consume, plus the land necessary to soak up our carbon pollution. Ecological footprints have certain advantages over LCAs, the key one being ease of communication. It is relatively easy to explain to laypersons that their lifestyle requires a certain number of (simply visualised) hectares , compared with the challenge of to a number of (invisible) kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas , which is just one possible LCA indicator. Furthermore, by com- paring an ecological footprint with the area of land available on the planet, an absolute comparison can be made. By making this comparison, the Global Footprint Network has drawn policymakers attention to necessary changes we need to make towards sustainability (GFN 2016 ). Of course ecological footprinting is open to criticism. A key aspect that concerns LCA analysts is that in mainstream ecological footprints, only the impacts of carbon pollution are quanti fi ed. For many engineered systems, a wide range of other contaminants are thought to pose signi fi cant threats to human health and the environment (Peters et al. 2008 ). One way to deal with this would be to broaden ecological footprinting. Another would be to attempt to make comparisons between LCA indicators and global sustainability thresholds. The original focus of the studies that came to be called LCA was at the product scale (particularly food packaging) (Baumann and Tillman 2004 ), which of course means evaluation of product supply chains. Later in this chapter, we examine the potential to scale up the results of product LCA and SLCA to the scale of a whole industry sector and compare the results of this assessment with global sustainability goals. 1.3 Cyclonomy or Bust? Possible Ways Ahead How can the clothing industry change towards sustainability? There are external forces driving minimum standards for certain issues. For example, European leg- islative developments on the management of the risks associated with persistent 4 S. Roos et al.
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chemicals (e.g. the REACH legislation) affect the clothing industry among others. There are a number of initiatives within the industry that are striving towards that goal. Predictably in an industry with such long supply chains, the use of certi fi - cation schemes is growing fast in the clothing industry. There is a strong focus on business-to-business disclosure schemes such as the one developed by Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals, an industrial collaboration (ZDHC 2014 ).
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  • Fall '19
  • Sustainable fashion, Sandra Roos

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