On average, it takes 10,000 litres of water to produce 1 kilo of cotton, or 2,500 to 3,000 litres for a standard T-shirt (250 to 300 grams of cotton). That’s a lot of water consumption for such a small piece of fabric! 4% of the world’s drinking water is used to produce our clothes. The water used to prepare cotton is unhealthy and discharged into the environment, polluting rivers and the air.
“As reported in the 3rd Global Climate Action Report by Sector (Climate Chance, 2020), the production and use of clothing emit around 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Boom! This statement is a blow. “This is primarily due to the carbon intensity of synthetic fibres (around 60% of fibres produced – the vast majority of which are polyester), which is much higher than that of cotton: 11.9 compared with 4.7 kgCO2e/kg (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). In fact, their production is based on the transformation of 48 million tonnes of oil per year, and therefore accounts for almost half of the emissions calculated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation report (530 MtCO2e in 2015, or 44% of emissions)”. The many other manufacturing stages (production of raw materials, transformation of fibres into yarn, manufacture), distribution and the way we consume fashion (rate of purchase, use/maintenance of garments, end of life) are all other greenhouse gas emitting factors”. (
We should be favouring clothes made from hemp, a very hard-wearing material, bamboo, wool or linen, which require much less water and produce less carbon. Petroleum-based materials should also be avoided. It’s better to turn to second-hand materials.

The powers of hemp | ARTE Regards:

Fast fashion | Les dessous de la mode à bas prix | ARTE: