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Durability standards and clothing libraries for strengthening sustainable clothing markets

Brendan Multala, Jeffrey Wagner and Yiwei Wang

Ecological Economics, 2022, vol. 194, issue C

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to explore the sustainability properties of imposing a durability standard in clothing markets. In turn, our analysis provides economic theory support for clothing libraries as a form of collaborative consumption and as an incentive-compatible way for firms to comply with durability standards. Our insights to economic sustainability complement previous research that focuses upon strengthening environmental and social sustainability aspects of the textile market. We show that imposing a clothing durability standard in the textile industry, along with the credible threat that governments could instead impose Pigouvian taxes on clothing types, creates an incentive for clothing manufacturers to more strongly support clothing libraries. Manufacturer profit may fall less via clothing library participation than under the Pigouvian tax policy, and hence is relatively politically attractive to manufacturers. Environmental quality is lower under clothing libraries than under Pigouvian taxes; however, environmental quality is higher with clothing libraries than under ‘business as usual’ levels of market activity. Hence, we show that a durability standard may be considered a politically achievable improvement in overall (environmental, social and economic) sustainability and that such a standard is a compelling tool for promoting collaborative consumption via clothing libraries.

Keywords: Clothing library; Collaborative consumption; Sustainable clothing; Sustainable textiles; Textile reuse (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107358

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