BFC unveils plan for circular fashion economy

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The British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion launched the Circular Fashion Eco-system Report, a UK fashion circular economy project to address the industry’s impact on the planet through models from linear production.

Described as ‘bold and vital’, the report presents a practical approach to create a circular fashion economy in the UK by reducing the volume of new physical clothing by 50%, maximizing use and re-valuation through circularity. products and by optimizing sorting methods and materials. recovery.

These three target outcomes for reducing throughput, increasing use and large-scale recycling combined will result in a “viable, resilient and thriving ecosystem,” the report explains. While securing the future of the fashion economy by creating jobs across the UK and helping to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint and take advantage of natural resources.

The UK fashion market is one of the largest in the world, with revenues of £ 118bn, 890,000 workers and contributing £ 35bn to UK pre-pandemic GDP. The report adds that systemic change is needed to tackle waste throughout the supply chain, as the high volume of clothing purchased each year in the UK stood at over 4 billion pieces of clothing in 2019. , and a high percentage of these are currently destined for landfill.

BFC’s Institute of Positive Fashion calls for radical change in apparel industry to reduce environmental and social impacts

The report adds that the three target outcomes are underpinned by 10 priority actions, involving efforts in many different parts of the fashion value chain. Each area of ​​action is described as being “of equal importance” because they have the potential to amplify the effects of the others.

The 10 priority actions are:

  1. Circular design – creating articles for circularity, using recycled, recyclable and renewable inputs and technology that minimizes the use of materials.

  2. Consumer empowerment – encouraging UK consumers to make less environmentally friendly purchasing choices, to value clothing and to generalize circular behavior.

  3. Circular and sharing business models – allow brands to profit from maximized use rather than consumption.

  4. The demand for circular and sustainable fibers – must come from brands, retailers and consumers.

  5. Post-use Ecosystem – UK to facilitate an integrated and profitable after-use ecosystem of operations.

  6. Sorting and recycling – stimulating investments in efficient textile sorting facilities and the gradual scale-up of open-loop, closed-loop and regenerative recycling.

  7. Improved identification and tracking: Designers, product teams, technology and logistics providers, and resellers need to co-develop and implement identification and tracking methods that facilitate sorting for resale and regenerative recycling .

  8. Modeling of ecosystems – dedicated research and collaborative initiative aiming to map the future material flows envisaged and the actors involved and the economic cases for a transition of the ecosystem to regenerative recycling.

  9. Policy and regulation – foster support and dialogue for effective EPR consultation and development, exploration of preferential incentives and development of standards for labels and raw materials.

  10. Investment in infrastructure – stimulate investment in circular businesses, enabling logistics and platform providers, economics of clothing maintenance, repair and resale, efficient sorting facilities and recycling open loop, closed loop and regenerative.

Addressing these actions will help the industry reduce emissions and waste and the adoption of circular business models like recycling and repair, could lead to hundreds of thousands of jobs per year by 2035, the report adds. Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a statement: “The UK has all the ingredients to create a model for a circular fashion economy that will deliver significant environmental, business and societal benefits. The mammoth work to be done to implement this can be supercharged by a sustainable fashion agenda that sees industry, government, and stakeholders all come to the table to play their roles beyond their every business goal. individual.

“We are already seeing this with our emerging designers, but with large commercial companies, re-commerce companies, universities, innovators, donors, logistics providers, waste management and recycling providers and the As a larger ecosystem coming together with government, we have the opportunity to create this target state faster and in doing so create jobs and skills for the benefit of the UK as a whole. “

BFC calls on government to do more to help industry create circular fashion economy

The BFC is also calling on the UK government to lead in creating policy, putting in place incentives and investing to develop the required innovations and enabling infrastructure. In addition to asking brands and retailers to adopt circular and sharing business models and empower consumers to adopt circular practices.

The report notes that significant research and coordination is needed to maximize collaborative actions and that the accessibility and transparency of information across the ecosystem “needs to be improved.”

Consumers also need to do more, with the report asking shoppers to cut their annual purchases of new clothes by nearly half, replacing them with second-hand, rented, repaired and virtual ones. In addition, more work needs to be done to educate the consumer on clothing care, clothing end-of-life, and recycling. A change in attitude towards circular products and services is also needed, adds BFC, as a better understanding of the value of circular business models will increase demand for a more circular fashion ecosystem.

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