The shaping of environmental impacts from Danish production and consumption of clothing

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The article analyses environmental impacts from production and consumption of clothing in Denmark based on 10 business case studies, an ethnographic study of clothing practices among a group of young women, and a statistical analysis of clothing consumption. The environmental strategies and impacts are shaped by the businesses' on-going interpretation of external pressures and opportunities, transnational outsourcing of production to newly industrialised countries, changes towards ‘fast fashion’ and lower retail prices. Differences are identified with respect to whether and when companies take and embed environmental initiatives. The companies make environmental demands to suppliers in newly industrialised countries to different degrees. Some companies cancelled eco-labelling, because it was too demanding to manage, while some fashion companies recently launched eco-labelling, because they see a need to show environmental commitment publicly. The fast changing fashions and low price strategies encourage increased clothing consumption among young women, unused clothing in their wardrobes and frequent changes of clothing during the week. Concerns about environmental impacts are limited. The dominating business strategy of only few eco-labelled products seems to have had limited impact on these women's practices, and thereby on the environmental impacts from Danish consumer choices in general.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEcological Economics
Pages (from-to)164-173
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

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