UK fashion designer Stella McCartney backs the Ellen MacArthur foundation campaign to stop the global fashion industry consuming a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050. Going on to say that Clothes must be designed differently, worn for longer and recycled as much as possible to stop the global fashion industry consuming a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050, fashion designer Stella McCartney condemned her industry as “incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment” as she joined forces with round-the-world sailor and environmental campaigner Dame Ellen MacArthur to call for a systemic change to the way clothing is produced and used.

In a report published on Tuesday, MacArthur’s foundation exposes the scale of the waste, and how the throwaway nature of fashion has created a business which creates greenhouse emissions of 1.2bn tonnes a year – larger than that of international flights and shipping combined. MacArthur, who gained the support of industry leaders including the C&A Foundation, H&M, and Nike for her report, is calling for a circular textile economy to be created to make fashion more sustainable.

The report also reveals that:

  • less than 1% of material used to make clothing is recycled into new clothing;
  • the estimated cost to the UK economy of landfilling clothing and household textiles each year is about £82m;
  • a truckload of clothing is wasted every second across the world;
  • the average number of times a garment is worn before it ceases to be used has decreased by 36% in 15 years;
  • half a million tonnes of plastic microfibres are released per year from washed clothes – 16 times more than plastic microbeads from cosmetics – contributing to ocean pollution.

The report calls for four actions to be taken: to phase out substances of concern and microfibre release; increase clothing utilisation, for example by the industry supporting and promoting short-term clothing rental businesses; to radically improve recycling; and to move to renewable materials.

McCartney said the ideas in the report provided solutions for an industry that was incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment.