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The four major sustainability challenges of the Swedish apparel sector

What needs to be done to make fashion greener, according to expert Sandra Roos.


In a recent article published by Journal of Cleaner Production, the environmental challenges of the Swedish apparel sector are investigated from an industry sector approach. Looking not only at the product but the social aspects of sustainability, the study aims to assess what interventions and actors can contribute the most to reaching targets for environmental and social sustainability.


We ask the corresponding author of the article, Sandra Roos of Mistra Future Fashion, an experienced researcher in the field of environmental management and chemicals, about the most important findings.


What is the current sustainability performance of the Swedish apparel sector?

– The Swedish apparel sector has currently four major sustainability challenges:

  1. The suppliers’ use of toxic chemicals in the textile manufacturing, with associated emissions of these toxins,
  2. use of conventional cotton which is a major cause behind water depletion in water-scarce areas,
  3. the suppliers’ use of non-renewable energy in the textile manufacturing: yarn spinning/weaving/dyeing, and
  4. the supplier’s low wages to the textile workers.

What types of interventions are most important to make significant change?

– Practical interventions that lead to reduction of the environmental footprint – in contrast to management systems. Reduce the use of water, substitute toxic chemicals, change to renewable energy.

What are your hopes for the Swedish apparel sector 20 years from now (when it comes to sustainability performance)?

– In 20 years, I hope that we will see transparent documentation of the textile supply chains, including their chemicals suppliers. I hope that customers’ willingness to pay for good products will increase when they understand the many process steps involved in making a textile, and the environmental impact that these steps have.

Sandra Roos

What other says

  1. Hej Filippa!

    tack för att ni tar ansvar,
    vill så gärna läsa Sandra Roos artikel men kommer inte åt den
    sharing is caring

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