ROME, Oct 14 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From using custom-made, biodegradable fabrics and ‘living’ clothes that photosynthesize to polyester created from planet-warming carbon dioxide, European start-ups are on a quest to transform one of the world’s most polluting industries: fashion.
The business is responsible for 10% of global carbon emissions, more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined during the pre-pandemic period, said the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
A sizable chunk of fashion’s emissions – up to 40% – come from the manufacture of polyester, the most-used fabric, said Benoit Illy, co-founder and CEO of French start-up Fairbrics.
“If we can bring emissions from polyester to zero or negative value, we can significantly reduce industry emissions,” he said in a telephone interview.
Illy and co-founder Tawfiq Nasr Allah, both chemists, aim to replace existing polyester-producing processes, which use fossil fuels, with