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Shock tactics

8 March, 2024

As we’re bombarded with facts, figures and statistics about the climate crisis, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and even numb to what they are telling us. However, some cut through, they speak to the heart and inspire us to see things differently.  

That’s how we felt when we saw a statistic about Shein’s (the Chinese fast fashion giant) contribution to global carbon emissions. A study by Teenage Lab by Pixpay published in 2022 found that Shein accounts for 22% of CO2 emissions of teenage girls in France, calculated by their typical ‘pocket-money’ spending habits. Although not a recent finding, we’re reminded how important shocking statistics are to better understanding the contributors to global emissions, and where to direct remedial climate action. In this specific example, it’s a reminder of the impact of fast fashion, the power of consumer spending habits, and the responsibility that large corporates bear; with the world’s top 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions… another shock statistic in case you weren’t already convinced.  

We also like an example from OVO back in 2019. Each UK adult sending one less ‘thank you’ email a day would save over 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – the same as 81,1522 flights to Madrid or taking 3,3343 diesel cars off the road. Admittedly in the five years since this stat was published, internet search engine providers have made positive in-roads to procure more renewable energy, so the emissions savings may be somewhat lower today, but you get the point.  

A wake-up call to change our behaviour is often needed. These examples cut through the complexity to show something simple yet powerful: these aren’t just numbers, they’re a call to rethink how we live and work for the planet’s sake. But the question is, are they shocking enough for you to take action? 

By Budd Nicholson

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