Long supply chain between buyer contractor and many

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long supply chain between buyer, contractor and many subcontractors isolates management from distant workplaces, so that even if consumers demand better conditions for garment production, their implementation is challenging. 1.2 The Idea of Sustainability Assessment There are several analytical dif fi culties associated with the desire to create a sus- tainable clothing industry. As suggested in the previous section, long supply chains are one of them. The idea of life cycle thinking is intended to deal with this dif fi culty, by ensuring that analysts consider the entire life cycle of a product, from cradle to grave. Environmental LCA is a tool based on this thinking, and the ISO standard for this method (ISO14040) (ISO 2006 ) provides a fundamental basis for attempts to apply it to fashion products and the clothing industry. LCA is a globally used and accepted method for assessing environmental impacts of a product s life cycle from cradle to grave, including raw material extraction, material processing, product manufacture, distribution, use, disposal and recycling (European Commission 2014 ). This extended conception of the technical system under study means that it is in principle able to avoid suboptimisation. In other words, an LCA should be able to tell you if a garment is achieving better environmental performance by minimising impacts during production, but at the expense of greater impacts at its end of life. LCA has another particular characteristic that aids its use in sustainable devel- opment it has a broad conception of the environment. While a water footprint may be a useful proxy for several kinds of impacts on human health, resources and the environment, LCA can employ a larger suite of indicators re fl ecting a technical system s impacts via climate change, stratospheric ozone layer depletion, tropo- spheric ozone pollution, land use change, energy consumption, toxic emissions and more. This breadth in the conception of the environment in LCA means that the risk Will Clothing Be Sustainable? Clarifying Sustainable Fashion 3
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of problem shifting is reduced. In other words, if you have carbon compensated a garment but that means greater water consumption, an LCA should tell you this. Social LCA is an attempt to ensure that (for example) working conditions in the clothing industry can be evaluated in a framework consistent with life cycle thinking (Muthu 2015a , b ). As a scienti fi c fi eld, it is relatively recent compared with environmental LCA. A recent review of SLCA selected 2006 as a starting point (Garrido et al. 2015 ) and the UNEP/SETAC guidelines for SLCA were only published in 2009 (UNEP 2009 ). On the other hand, the original ISO standard for environmental LCA was fi rst published in 1997. SLCA has been used in several industries, but at the time of writing there were no published peer-reviewed SLCAs of the clothing industry.
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  • Fall '19
  • Sustainable fashion, Sandra Roos

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