Where does your T-shirt come from? It’s a question that apparently can be answered with an awkward neck twist and a glance at the label. But the real answer is way more complex.
Even producing a single T-shirt relies on coordinating an array of interconnected supply chains, usually spanning multiple nations. This globalised system is a marvel of human ingenuity and logistics.
But it also can obscure the true carbon emissions of the products we use, raising serious questions about their sustainability. And it enables wealthier countries to effectively outsource their emissions to less wealthy ones via “carbon colonialism”.
Let’s say your T-shirt’s label reads: “Cambodia”. It’s fair to assume that this clearly indicates its origin. But that’s not the whole story.