Today’s episode is all about the (horrible and awful) global fashion, textile, and clothing industry. Here are some highlights (lowlights?):
- 1 in 6 people around the world currently work in some part of the fashion industry, making it the largest labor force on earth.
- It is a $3 trillion annual industry that currently produces over 80 billion new pieces of clothing per year, which far exceeds either necessity or demand. This is a production increase of 400% in the last two decades.
- As late as the 1960s, 95% of clothing purchased in the United States were made within the country. Now, this number is just 3%, with the other 97% being outsourced to majority nations with low-wage economies.
- 80% of the people who work in the fashion industry are women.
- Fewer than 2% of textile workers are paid a livable wage.
- The average American throws away 82 pounds of textile waste each year, which creates 11 million tons of waste from the United States alone. 85% of this waste will never be recycled or reused.
- The fashion industry is also the second most polluting industry on earth, contributing 10% of total global greenhouse emissions, and producing 20% of the world's wastewater.
There is no upside to our current system of clothing and textile production, and we do not have to buy into it. Instead, we can make intentional lifestyle choices that have a direct and positive impact on the world’s poorest people. It’s a simple way to do some true global good, which is what this podcast - and this episode - is all about.
Today's Resource Room Highlight: The True Cost