Home > Apparel > Sustainable ClothingSustainable Clothing November 15, 2021Catherine SalfinoApparelFiber PreferencesSustainability ustainability is important to 8 in 10 consumers when purchasing clothing. While they continue to prioritize traditional purchase drivers such as comfort and quality, sustainability can be a differentiator to set a brand apart from others. With rising awareness of key environmental issues affecting the textile industry, such as microplastics waste, sustainable clothing is more important than ever. Brands can tap into consumer environmental concerns by using natural ﬁbers such as cotton and by communicating their impact on the issues consumers care about.SSUSTAINABILITYSUSTAINABLE CLOTHINGIMPORTANCE OF SUSTAINABILITY ON CLOTHING PURCHASESPercent who say sustainability is an important purchase driver. (+ increase from 2017 research) COTTON INCORPORATED’S | SUPPLY CHAIN INSIGHTSKEY INSIGHTSBrands can market sustainability by connecting its beneﬁts to primary purchase drivers comfort, quality, and durability.Brands have an opportunity to build on emerging awareness of microplastic waste in the world’s oceans to promote more sustainable ﬁber options.Cotton and other natural ﬁbers are consistently understood to be more sustainable than manmade ﬁbers.WHY IS SUSTAINABILITY IMPORTANT?CLOTHING PURCHASE DRIVERSPercent who say sustainable clothing is:are likely to look for clothing made from natural ﬁbersComfort, Quality, & Fit+15% +7%88%86%84%81%70%70%63%INDIA CHINA MEXICO ITALY GERMANY U.K. U.S.55%FunctionsBetter59%HigherQuality58%Better ForMy Health57%Better ValueFor My Money76%90% +Durability, Price, ClothingMaterial, Softness, & Style80% - 89%Sustainability, Color, PerformanceFeatures, & Laundering Instructions70% - 79%icroplastic waste is an issue of critical importance to the textile industry. When clothing and other textiles are washed, they shed microﬁbers that enter our waterways and, eventually, the world’s oceans. When those textiles are made from manmade ﬁbers such as polyester and nylon, they become microplastic waste that inﬁltrates our oceans. Consumers are taking note of this concern, as awareness of the issue has nearly doubled since 2017. Following research ﬁndings on biodegradability, consumers who are aware of microplastic waste are more likely to perceive cotton as safe for the environment, while perceiving polyester as harmful.Cotton degrades 95% more than polyester in wastewater and continues to degrade over time, unlike polyester whose degradation plateaus after the time tested. MCOTTON AND MICROPLASTICS2Percent of ﬁbers biodegraded after 243 days in wastewater.Learn more aboutSustainable Cotton Innovations athttp://cottontoday.cottoninc.comAWARENESS OF MICROPLASTIC WASTEAWARENESS AND PERCEPTION OF FIBER SUSTAINABILITYPercent of consumers who say ﬁber is safe for the environment.88%COTTON38%POLYESTERCOTTON POLYESTER76%4%201727%45%2021IMPACT OF MICROPLASTIC WASTE31.4 million trillion plastic ﬁbers currently in the world’s oceans1/2 million tons of plastic microﬁbers from laundry yearlyBy 2050, there will be more plastic than ﬁsh in the oceans4INFO: [email protected] LIFESTYLEMONITOR.COTTONINC.COMSource: CCI & Cotton Incorporated’s 2017 & 2021 Global Sustainability Survey, a survey of 6,000 consumers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Italy, Mexico, India, and China. Additional Sources: 2Marine Pollution Bulletin. (2019). Microﬁbers Generated from the Laundering of Cotton, Rayon and Polyester Based Fabrics and their Aquatic Biodegradation. 3U.N. Environment Programme. (2019). Fashion’s tiny hidden secret. 4World Economic Forum, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and McKinsey & Company. (2016). The new plastics economy: Rethinking the future of plastics.©2021 Cotton Incorporated. Sustainable Clothing – Supply Chain Insights Here's How Recycled Denim Helps AmericaWhat's the Modern Recipe for Holiday Shopping?