Researched and written with the aim to set out an environmental roadmap for the UK fashion industry, the paper addresses fundamental issues with customer, brand, retailer and governmental action points. From creating infrastructures to support industry-wide textile recycling to influencing consumer habits and drastically reducing over-production, the CFE seeks to set the UK as a global example of how a circular fashion ecosystem protects both the industry and the planet.
The fashion and textiles industry is the joint third highest contributor to global greenhouse gasses, making up for about 5% of total emissions. The UK population purchases more clothing per person than most European countries. Out of that, over a million tons of clothing is thrown away every year.
Only by striving for the report’s three target outcomes can UK stakeholders reduce their environmental impact.
The report has three target outcomes:
- Reduce the volume of new physical clothing
- Improve clothing utilization in order to increase product circularity
- Optimize sorting methods and materials recovery
These target outcomes demand significant changes in many areas, including material flows, industry operations and consumer practices across the fashion chain and ecosystem.
In order to realize the target outcomes, the report sets out ten priority action areas. These include:
- Circular design
Incentivize designers and manufacturers to create clothes for circularity and utilize technology to minimize the amount of material used.
- Consumer empowerment
Empower consumers to make more sustainable purchasing choices and make reusing clothes mainstream.
- Circular and sharing business models
Encourage brands and retailers to adapt to circular and sharing business models.
- Demand for circular and renewable fibers
Encourage brands and retailers to incorporate more circular and sustainable fibers.
- Enhanced identification and tracking
Co-ordinate designers, product teams, technology and logistics providers, and resellers to streamline the resale and recycling processes.
- Post-use ecosystem
Establish an effective ecosystem for post-use clothing.
- Sortation and recycling
Offer financial support for efficient textiles, sorting facilities and regenerative recycling facilities.
- Ecosystem modelling
Invest research resources into the future of material cycles and regenerative recycling.
- Policy and regulation
Implement policies and regulations at a governmental level in order to streamline the Circular Fashion Ecosystem.
- Innovation investment
Encourage investment in circular businesses in order to mobilize systems that support resale of clothes, regenerative recycling and an economy for maintenance repair.
The target demands radical transformation in multiple areas of the industry. These areas are constantly changing are subject to re-evaluation at any time.