Lack of environmental awareness and preference for variety leading causes of waste in fast-fashion production
Can fast-fashion be sustainable? Researchers, including Javad Nasiry, Associate Professor at McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management, think yes. By identifying why the fast fashion business model creates waste and whether regulators can establish incentives for consumers and manufacturers are steps to reducing waste.
Recently, the apparel industry has come under scrutiny for creating a waste problem with dire environmental consequences. In the absence of economically and economically viable recycling options, fast-fashion manufacturers pump out low-quality clothes produced in high volumes that are worn only a few times and then discarded—with little to no consequences to manufacturers.
The researchers put forth policy contributions, ranging from sustainable disposal of leftover inventory to production tax to incentivize both manufacturers and consumers to be more waste conscious.
"In order to devise effective policies to curb the environmental impact of the apparel industry, it is important to identify the source of the problem in the supply chain," explains Professor Nasiry. "Manufactures, consumers, and regulatory bodies can then take an informed approach to recognize the environmental impact of fast fashion and to design an ecosystem to reduce waste, incentivize innovation, and create new business models to manage waste."
The research was published in Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.
More information: Xiaoyang Long et al, Sustainability in the Fast Fashion Industry, Manufacturing & Service Operations Management (2022). DOI: 10.1287/msom.2021.1054
Provided by McGill University