Measuring Fashion report tells the story of the industry’s environmental performance


In the face of climate change, resource depletion and shifting consumer expectations, fashion brands are increasingly coming under pressure to drive meaningful change and to back up their sustainability stories with facts. To encourage a more resilient future for fashion, Quantis and ClimateWorks, an NGO mobilizing philanthropy to solve the climate crisis and ensure a prosperous future, performed a study looking at the entire value chain of apparel and footwear. The results are out in our new report, Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study.

+ It’s time for fashion to set bold goals
+ Guided by the first science-driven study of fashion’s global impact
+ Using robust data to drive clear actions

The report highlights the key findings of the first in-depth, science-based study investigating the environmental impacts of the global apparel and footwear industries, and delivers guidance and insights for brands and businesses committed to making changes to reduce their impacts.

In-depth look at 5 key indicators

This groundbreaking study aims to put brands on the right path by providing a credible and current snapshot of the industries’ environmental hotspots across the value chain. These metrics will help guide decision-making at companies committed to setting truly sustainable goals, to making science-driven decisions, helping implement effective and meaningful actions. Understanding environmental impacts, particularly on climate, is also necessary for fashion brands committing to the Science-Based Targets initiative to get their business aligned with the global objective to limit warming to 2°C.

The Measuring Fashion study is the first-of-its-kind for three reasons:

1+  Based on industry specific impact data from the World Apparel & Footwear Lifecycle Assessment Database, which makes it comprehensive, robust, and up-to-date;

2+  Uses a multi-indicator approach to assess 5 different impact areas – Climate Change, Resources, Freshwater Withdrawal, Ecosystem Quality and Human Health – to ensure a balanced assessment on multiple fronts; and,

3+  Provides an outlook of the evolution of impacts across time (both past and future) and connects this with specific levers for change across the value chain.

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“We knew fashion’s impact was major, but we didn’t have the exact science-based metric view of what this really meant. This study enables us to answer some of these outstanding questions, bust some of our collective assumptions, and to provide guidance to those committed to act.”

Annabelle Stamm, Senior Sustainability Consultant, Quantis

“Clothing is a major part of our day-to-day consumption and we all know that fashion is getting faster and cheaper. But few consumers realize how much their new shirt or pair of shoes impacts their carbon and water footprint. This new research from Quantis and ClimateWorks Foundation reveals the most environmentally intensive links in apparel supply chains. These results can help brands, manufacturers and consumers make smarter choices about how to get on a more sustainable path.”

Helen Picot, Buildings and Industry Portfolio, ClimateWorks Foundation

"What we know is only valuable when it rubs up against what other people know. This report is an invaluable resource for making change."

Debera Johnson, Executive Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design accelerator, Pratt Center for Sustainable Design Strategies

"You have to have good information to make sound decisions. This report provides a great perspective on ways that we, as a textile community, can take action. We can’t allow ourselves to be overwhelmed to paralysis; every small decision and individual action adds up. This will require new business thinking and engagement. Let’s make the wisest choices!"

La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange


Join experts from ClimateWorks Foundation, Quantis, and the NRDC as we look at this ground-breaking study and how it could change the future of fashion,

Grab your seat for our “WEBINAR > Measuring Fashion: a look at how the global apparel and footwear industries size up to their environmental impacts”

March 28th at 5 pm CET /4 pm GMT/  11am EST / 8am PST

Thank you to the steering committee + contributors

A steering committee of industry leaders and experts contribute to the Measuring Fashion: Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study by providing their valuable feedback and input. Members included: Jason Kibbey, CEO, Sustainable Apparel Coalition; Debora Johnson, Executive Director, Brooklyn Fashion + Design Accelerator, Pratt Center for Sustainable Design Strategies; Megan McGill, Program Manager, C&A Foundation; La Rhea Pepper, Managing Director, Textile Exchange; Linda Greer, Senior Scientist, NRDC.

The Measuring Fashion study was based on the data from the World Apparel & Footwear Lifecycle Assessment Database (WALDB). ClimateWorks Foundation and Quantis extend our thanks to key WALDB members for their contribution: Hugo Boss, Legero, Swiss Federal Office of the Environment, Sustainable Apparel Coalition, LVMH, Texaid, IKEA and Cotton, Inc.

A big thanks to the talented teams that shared their expertise for this study: ClimateWorks Foundation’s Lina Fedirko, Helen Picot, and Prodipto Roy; and Quantis’ Pauline Chrobot, Mireille Faist, Lori Gustavus, Amanda Martin, Annabelle Stamm, Rainer Zah, and Michèle Zollinger.


Access the 7-page report Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study

For more details on the study and methodological considerations, access the full study or contact study technical lead Michèle Zollinger. 

Talk to Quantis about your brand’s commitments and environmental performance. Contact Quantis DACH Director and sustainable apparel expert Rainer Zah.

Quantis team