EFF Logo



Cotton growing uses vast amounts of water, and needs extensive irrigation when grown out of its natural environment. The Aral Sea has shrunk to just 15% of its former volume, largely through cotton farming.

In the production of a cotton T-Shirt approximately 60kg of water is used..and about 45kg of waste water is discharged per kg of output…In the life of a cotton T-Shirt the energy and resources used for washing, ironing, tumble drying accounts for two-thirds of the total energy used in the T-Shirt life. The remaining one-third includes material, production, transportation and disposal. (Well Dressed?, Cambridge University)

Water , including shortage and pollution , is becoming one of the most urgent environmental issues facing the world today. Fashion professionals have a responsibility to minimise water use in their production chains.

Fashion businesses pioneering in the sustainability arena are already monitoring the use of water in their supply chains and setting targets for reduction and pollution minimisation.

Others are looking at material use or development which requires less frequent washing.

Given that most water use occurs during the use phase of clothing, consumers have an important role to play in reducing unnecessary washing and water use.

More information

Useful links