The British Fashion Council’s Institute of Positive Fashion has released the Circular Fashion Eco-system Report, a blueprint for a circular fashion economy in the United Kingdom that addresses the industry's impact on the environment caused by linear manufacturing processes.
The report, which has been described as "bold and vital," lays out a practical approach to creating a circular fashion economy in the UK by cutting the volume of new physical clothing by half, increasing utilization and revaluation through product circularity, and improving sorting methods and materials recovery.
The report explains that combining these three aim outcomes of reducing flow, increasing utilization, and scaling recycling will result in a “viable, resilient, and prosperous ecosystem.” While also helping to future-proof the fashion economy by creating jobs across the UK and reducing the UK's carbon footprint and utilizing natural resources.
With 118 billion pounds in revenue and 890,000 employees, the UK fashion industry is one of the largest in the world, contributing 35 billion pounds to the UK's pre-pandemic GDP.
The research goes on to say that structural change is required to address waste throughout the supply chain, citing the huge volume of clothing purchased annually in the UK, which totaled more than 4 billion pieces in 2019, with a large portion of that going for landfill.
The three objective outcomes, according to the report, are reinforced by ten priority actions that involve efforts from many different segments of the fashion value chain. Each action region is defined as "equally significant" since it has the ability to increase the impacts of the others.
According to the report, addressing these issues will help the sector reduce emissions and waste, and implementing circular business models like recycling and repair could result in hundreds of thousands of employment per year by 2035.
Caroline Rush, CEO of the British Fashion Council, said that the UK has all the ingredients needed to build a model for a circular fashion industry that will provide major environmental, commercial, and societal benefits. The massive task of putting this into effect can be accelerated by establishing a Sustainable Fashion Program in which industry, government, and stakeholders all come together to perform their part beyond their individual responsibilities.
Rush added that they’re already seeing this with their emerging designers, but by bringing together large commercial businesses, re-commerce businesses, academia, innovators, funders, logistics providers, waste management and recycling providers, and the broader ecosystem with Government, they will be able to create this target state faster, creating jobs and skills that will benefit the UK as a whole.
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