Today, Oxfam is urging shoppers to buy clothes second hand rather than brand new as its new research reveals emissions produced manufacturing jeans owned by UK adults is comparable to flying a plane around the globe 2,372 times or a petrol car travelling more than 21 billion miles.
Buying one pair of second hand jeans a year instead of brand new would lead to a reduction in emissions comparable to travelling 3 billion fewer miles in a petrol car or 365 times less round the world in a plane.
The colossal figures reveal the carbon footprint of making new jeans and are reported by Oxfam to support its annual Second Hand September campaign.
The campaign encourages consumers to choose second hand fashion in September to fight the climate crisis and raise money for the charity’s work helping the world’s poorest communities.
In the UK, on average women own seven pairs of jeans and men six, proving the universal appeal of denim. But each pair carries a carbon footprint. And the research shows if all the jeans in the UK were purchased brand new, the carbon footprint is equivalent to the emissions produced by a coal-fired power station in 18 months.
Oxfam conducted the study to highlight the impact of fashion consumption on people and the planet ahead of its Second Hand September campaign. The campaign encourages fashion lovers to contribute to the circular economy by shopping second hand and donating good quality items to Oxfam shops.
Lorna Fallon, Oxfam Retail Director, said: “The figures are astonishing – who knew making a pair of brand new jeans is like driving 60 miles in terms of global warming? Continuing on this road is just not sustainable for the planet and everyone who lives on it.
“But there’s hope and lots of fun to be had! Shopping second hand is a small and enjoyable choice each of us can make. And together we can have a giant impact on the climate emergency. People who donate to Oxfam shops and buy from our shops both reduce emissions and raise money for Oxfam’s work helping the world’s poorest people access the basics in life like clean water, food, shelter, and the right to make a living. It’s time to practice fun, feel-good shopping with serious intent!’
Oxfam’s sustainable fashion raises crucial funds to help the world’s poorest people, like in East Africa where one person is dying from hunger every 48 seconds caused in large part by severe drought and flooding fuelled by climate change.