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UK manufacturing is greener than offshore production - report

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today Oct 15, 2019
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Manufacturing fashion in the UK can be a much greener option than sending production abroad, a new study from UK-based online/catalogue brand David Nieper claims.


David Nieper


The company, which targets the 50+ market, bases all of its production in Britain and makes a big deal of this in its marketing. It worked with the University of Nottingham energy innovation and collaboration team to look into the issue.

The conclusion they came up with was that two-thirds of emissions from UK clothing happen overseas, but this isn't simply an issue of moving the pollution somewhere else as it's claimed that 47% less emissions are created by manufacturing clothes in Britain.

The University looked at the energy and greenhouse gas emissions for the David Nieper manufacturing operations and compared them to those of a fashion retailer manufacturing offshore but selling through physical shops in the UK.

The company’s manufacturing process is geared towards sustainability with the firm using solar panels, energy efficient machinery and LED lighting. That reduces the amount of power needed to make each garment by almost 38%. The ‘green’ credentials of its products are also helped by the UK's electricity supply network having a lower carbon intensity per unit of electricity compare to those in countries such as China, Bangladesh and Turkey.

The report claims a manufacturer in China that uses the same amount of energy as in the UK would actually release around 90% more greenhouse gas emissions. This was the highest figure of any of the countries looked at (Turkey and Bangladesh coming in at 70% and 24% more respectively).

Other issues supporting the concept of keeping production closer to the eventual point of sale is that of greenhouse gasses produced by transportation over long distances. Air freight is responsible for more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions involved in fashion production and the report said that manufacturing in China, for instance, can mean transporting goods almost 22,000 km.

The study comes after the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s Fixing Fashion report showed that fashion and textiles produce around 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent a year.

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