Report: Wool production leads to heavy biodiversity losses and the price to pay for the climate

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NEW YORK, new York– Wool production is a key contributor to biodiversity loss and climate change, according to a new report released today by the CIRCUMFAUNA initiative of the Center for Biological Diversity and Collective Fashion Justice.

Shear destruction: wool, fashion and the biodiversity crisis notes that wool is not a fiber simply supplied by nature, but a product of modern industrial, chemical, ecological and genetic interventions that is anything but ecological.

“The industry has thrown wool in our eyes for decades, claiming that wool is a sustainable fiber,” said Stephanie Feldstein, director of population and sustainability at the Center for Biological Diversity and co-author of the report. “Woolen clothing comes at a high price in greenhouse gas emissions, land use, biodiversity loss and pollution. Nothing in wool is durable.

The report finds that compared to other materials used in similar types of clothing, the average climatic cost of sheep’s wool is 3 times that of acrylic and more than 5 times that of cotton grown from conventional way. Wool uses 367 times more soil per bale than cotton, and the chemically intensive cleaning process of mowed wool kills aquatic life and pollutes waterways.

“Sheep pastures may seem innocent and natural, but sheep are introduced, raised and ultimately slaughtered while pastures are degraded and prevented from thriving,” said Emma Hakansson, founding director of Collective Fashion Justice and co-author of the report. . “There is nothing natural about this inefficient, unsustainable and exploitative industry. “

The report also found that despite the pollution caused by slaughter, chemicals used in washing, habitat destruction and greenhouse gas emissions associated with wool, 87% of consumers perceive it as “Safe for [the] environment. ”In an analysis by Collective Fashion Justice of 50 top brands using“ sustainability ”terms to market their wool products, only 28% supported the claim with any kind of citation.

“There is a wave of truly sustainable and inspiring circumfaunal material, but breaking the well-funded mythology of the wool industry is no easy task,” said Joshua Katcher, founder of the CIRCUMFAUNA initiative and co-author. of the report. “We need to have an honest discussion about the disproportionate impact of wool on biodiversity loss and climate change and the transition to innovative, high-tech, plant-derived materials that don’t have such a big impact on species. natives and climate. “

The Center for Biological Diversity and Collective Fashion Justice call on associations, brands and designers in the fashion industry to commit to phase out or reduce the use of wool by at least 50% by 2025, to support material innovation and adopt alternatives that do not depend on fossil fuels. – derived fibers (such as acrylic, polyester and nylon) and recognize the damage to biodiversity caused by wool in their language of sustainability.

The report based its findings on available data from the Higg Material Sustainability Index (MSI), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), reports from Australian and US government agencies, industry sources. and scientific articles.

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