Is Climate Change Burning Up the Fashion Retailing Industry?

by Joshua Dorman

The impacts of climate change are well and truly numerous, even wreaking adverse effects upon an industry that has outlasted everything from drastic shifts in consumer tastes to epic financial downturns: fashion. Dr. Steven J. Hausman, a data scientist and president of Hausman Technology Presentations, recently observed that the climate of 2016—the hottest year on record according to NASA—has had a “direct effect on fashion and apparel retailing.” And indeed it has, with the effects of the phenomenon being felt by the likes of fashion giants Levi Strauss & Co., VF Corp., L’Oreal, and many others.

One particularly salient ramification of climate change on the fashion industry is that shifts in weather patterns have begun to affect consumer browsing patterns. Owners of boutique fashion houses have started noticing that when temperatures reach between ninety and one hundred degrees Fahrenheit, people tend to remain cooped-up inside their air-conditioned homes. The result: a severe decrease in browsing time and, in response, plummeting sales revenue. Continue reading

Climate Change: The Cause of Another Great Recession?

by Joshua Dorman

Hedge fund managers and investors are becoming increasingly worried about a possible second Great Recession caused not by mortgage-backed securities or the fall of major banks, but by an event seemingly unrelated to finance: global climate change. Katy Lederer (2016) attended the seventh annual Investor Summit on Climate Risk last year, a convention designed to tackle the issue of financing the transition to renewable energy that was established at the Paris Climate Talks and discusses the hypothetical effects of a prolonged shift away from fossil-fuel investments. At the summit, approximately five hundred financial professionals with a net sum of twenty-two trillion dollars under management convened in New York City to address this growing threat to the world economy. Under the façade of thousand dollar suits, diamond-studded cufflinks, and wine-and-cheese Hors d’oeuvres, the collective outlook was not an optimistic one. One analogy was repeatedly mentioned: the economic impact of remaining invested in fossil fuels was likened to the collapse of the economy when the housing bubble burst in 2008. Continue reading