On one hand, climate experts believe that the burning of organic material is a suitable replacement for fossil fuels. On the other hand, others believe it is a temporary solution that delays progress towards a more sustainable and renewable energy planet.
Today, one of the main objectives of the fashion industry is to reduce emissions and meet pending deadlines for climate targets. So, fashion brands are turning to biomass or different organic materials such as wood or agricultural waste for energy, in order to stop using fossil fuels on its production chain. Still, scientists are worried it’s not the best path for a more sustainable future, because it can delay decarbonisation for years or even decades.
We can’t deny this commitment is a positive sign because coal is no longer being an only energy option for the fashion industry. Fashion brands are starting to apply a phasing out fossil fuels goal or even starting to see clean renewable energy options such as wind and solar.
Unfortunately, this commitment has a dark side and scientists are inquiring some fashion brands to reconsider biomes in their supply chains because deforestation in many areas is threatening the livelihoods of Indigenous people, damaging wildlife habitats, and competing or taking away land use for farming.
In a recent Stand Earth’s report, known as Biofuel or ‘Biomass Burning’: The Fashion Industry’s False Phase-Out’, the corporation wrote on the continued reliance of biomass by industry leaders and the risks associated with the utilization of the non-fossilised, biodegradable material.
In this statement and according to Stand Earth, biomass has been positioned by fashion players or brands as a low-cost alternative to fossil fuels, and is often used as a means to call for a reduction in their carbon emissions within their supply chains. In other words, advanced green-washing.
The solutions seem explicit.
The fashion industry needs to invest and venture in decarbonization of their supply chains by increasing in renewable energy from solar or wind through on-the-spot of infrastructure, power purchase agreements, shifting to electric boilers, and promote enterprises for a clean energy grid to power them, and innovating with dry processing technologies to reduce their energy consumption.
While brands must continue to phase out fossil fuels such as coal, it is clear the use of biomass is a false solution. In order to reduce their emissions and fight climate change, fashion brands must commit to a change of 100% clean and renewable energy in their supply chains by 2030.
There is no option or solution that includes Biomass.