Manufacturing fashion in the UK is greener than offshore

UK fashion manufacturer David Nieper, in conjunction with the University of Nottingham Energy Innovation and Collaboration team, has released a report on the environmental impact of offshore manufacturing.

The team compared the energy and greenhouse gas emissions of David Nieper, who design and make clothes in the UK and sell online and through catalogues, to a clothes retailer that manufactures overseas and sells on the high street.

The report revealed the practice of offshoring manufacturing essentially amounts to offshoring pollution, with two-thirds of emissions from UK clothing occurring overseas.

The report found 47% fewer emissions are created by manufacturing clothes in the UK, in comparison to a similar operation overseas.

The report found the biggest contributing factor to cleaner and more efficient manufacturing in the UK is the lower carbon intensity of the electricity supply network. The UK has far lower carbon emissions per unit of electricity compared to overseas territories and therefore, production in the UK has lower direct carbon emissions.

For example, according to the report – a manufacturer in China would release around 90% more greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) while using the same energy as in the UK; Turkey would release around 70% and Bangladesh uses 24% more.

Renewable energy also plays a key part in keeping energy consumption to a minimum. David Nieper’s solar panels, energy-efficient machinery and LED lighting means the average power required to manufacture each garment has been reduced by 37.5%.

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