The fashion industry accounts for 10% of all global carbon emissions. That’s more than the maritime and the shipping industries combined and according to statistics from UNEP, if the industry continues as is this rate will jump to 50% by 2030. With many fast fashion brands feeding our addiction to overconsumption and cheap products, the industry as a whole is now being hit with the much-needed pressure to make impactful changes to their supply chain in order to reduce their environmental impact.
But imagine this, what if brands did more than just reduce their environmental impact? What if they could actually give back to replenish Mother Earth? This is where regenerative agriculture comes into play. The new, old practice has been slowly seeping through the food and fashion industry for the better, and for those who want a little regenerative agriculture 101, we highly recommend watching the documentary “Kiss the Ground”, narrated by Woody Harrelson.
So what exactly is regenerative agriculture? It’s a system of farming practices and principles that mimic Mother Earth’s natural process, encouraging the land to thrive in its most natural form, relying on ecological processes and cycles instead of human input. Imagine all of the farms you’ve seen with acres of overgrazed bare soil or rows of single crops which are stripped barren when out of season. This isn’t how our land would look in its natural form and in this state, can’t effectively absorb carbon. With regenerative agriculture, farms would look the complete opposite with lush fields always covered with sprouts, animals grazing more freely, and an abundance of diverse crops. This technique puts a focus on soil health by utilizing the power of photosynthesis in plants to draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide back into the Earth and therefore helping reverse our climate crisis.
"Agriculture really represents the best chance that we have of mitigating and ending the climate crisis," said Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario at the National Retail Federation in January. "The science is saying that if we converted all industrialized agriculture to regenerative, organic practices, we could sequester all the world's carbon."
For the fashion brands that have a budget for sustainability, regenerative agriculture really should be considered. While time-consuming, taking years to be regenerative, and costly to invest in these farms, the environmental benefits should really be enough for those bigger brands to take a leap towards giving back to the Earth, what already has been taken,