Co2-absorbing apron”: environmental protection or public relations?

The fashion industry, along with fast fashion culture in modern society, has become a major concern for the environment and climate. According to Reuters, the fashion industry is responsible for approximately 10% of global carbon emissions. Consequently, major fashion players are facing significant public pressure to address environmental concerns.

In response to these heavy criticisms, the fashion company H&M has sponsored a research project involving an apron capable of absorbing CO2, developed by the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel (HKRITA). The purpose of this project is to minimize the negative impact of the fashion industry on the climate.

According to technical information from HKRITA, this invention is developed through a chemical process. A solution containing amino acids is used to treat cotton and fabric fibers to create a material with CO2-absorbing properties. After usage, the apron is heated to around 30-40°C to release the stored CO2, which can then be used to “feed” plants. Additionally, it’s claimed that this apron can absorb as much CO2 as one-third of what a tree consumes in a day.

All this information can be used to create a narrative for the media: H&M is an environmentally-conscious brand, acknowledging its environmental impact and investing in a CO2-absorbing apron. However, is this truly a meaningful environmental initiative from H&M?

❓❓❓Several questions arise: How many people use this apron every day? Does the apron manufacturing process generate CO2 emissions? How much of the emitted CO2 can be offset by the absorbed CO2? Why invest in developing a fashion accessory rather than investing in production technology or emissions reduction technologies?

❌Developing a material that absorbs CO2 is an intriguing idea. However, from the perspective of H&M, is this merely a PR stunt to appease public opinion?

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