Carbon footprint of leading European apparel brands 2019

Global climate change has become a dire reality with urgent consequences confronting communities and the planet. Worldwide, the industrial sector is the third main source of global carbon emissions, the leading factor making the planet warmer. In recent years, the fashion industry has become one of the key sectors to have come into focus, due to the environmental impact left by the industry’s manufacturing and operational processes.

Fast fashion’s carbon footprint

Accordingly, many fashion and apparel brands have taken steps to reduce their carbon emissions, which have been exacerbated over the years by the industry’s apparel production that has been growing at an alarming rate. Sustainability figures compiled from the leading Europe-based fashion retailers’ annual reports indicated that the Spanish retailer Inditex Group (parent company to Zara and Mango among others) surpassed other big names of the industry with over 500 thousand tonnes of Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions released during the 2018 financial year. The retailer’s carbon footprint is in line with the company’s production numbers, as Inditex Group is also the leading clothing seller with the largest revenue figure of the Europe-based fast fashion landscape.

Emission scopes

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol classifies emissions into three categories. Scope 1 refers to a company’s direct emissions such as fuel combustion. Scope to 2 refers to energy-related indirect emissions, and Scope 3 includes operational emissions associated with the value chain, e.g. transport and delivery processes. In the present statistic, greenhouse gas releases reported by the online-only retailer Asos included Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions.

Annual total carbon emissions released by leading European apparel retailers in 2019

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Release date

March 2020



Survey time period

2018 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Carbon footprint refers to Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions with the exception of Asos (see footnote).
Results are compiled from companies' annual reports individually, which you can access here: Asos*, Inditex Group**, H&M**, Arcadia Group**, Marks and Spencer***, C&A, Next****, Sports Direct, JD Sports.

* Location based emissions including Scope 1, 2, and 3.
** 2018 figures.
*** Figures for Marks & Spencer indicate emissions from the retailer's overall operations e.g. food and grocery, clothing and home retail. **** Gross figures.

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Statistics on "Fast fashion in Europe"

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