Global warming 'bigger problem than economy'

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The Independent Online

Climate change is a bigger problem than the struggling British economy, a Government minister said today.

Sustainability Minister Lord Hunt spoke on the first day of London Fashion Week as he launched an action plan to to make the clothing industry less damaging to the environment.

"We are facing big issues about the economy at the moment but the really big issue we face at the moment is climate change which can have a devastating impact on all of us," he said.

"The clothing industry is responsible for lots and lots of greenhouse gas emissions."

Lord Hunt said today's launch was "the start of a great movement towards sustainable clothing".

"It's going to be great for the fashion industry, great for the climate and for anyone who's in the supply industry in developing countries to those working in retail.

"We believe customers want sustainable clothing and we want to give them as much as possible."

Lord Hunt spoke before fashion week's Estethica catwalk show of ethical designer fashion which is marking its third year.

British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman said: "When we launched this in 2004 it was the world's first showcase for ethical fashion.

"It has grown from 13 designers to 37 and has grown in profile and reputation."

The designers included in the Estethica section of the fashion week exhibition use either organic, fair trade or recycled materials.

Design house Noir and Bllack Noir provided the autumn/winter 2009 looks for the catwalk show.

Noir founder Peter Ingwersen said: "Estethica provides a fantastic platform for ethical brands to communicate with one voice.

"We all look to inspire the industry and consumers that sexiness, luxury and fashion, corporate social responsibility and ethics can work in harmony together without compromising look and style."

The UK's clothing and textiles sector produces around 3.1 million tonnes of CO2, two million tonnes of waste and 70 million tonnes of waste water per year - with 1.5 million tonnes of unwanted clothing ultimately ending up in landfill, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.