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British Fashion Council launches bold blueprint for circular fashion economy

Tom Bottomley
22 September 2021

The British Fashion Council’s (BFC) Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF) has launched the Circular Fashion Ecosystem Report, presenting a blueprint for a circular fashion economy in the UK.

It seeks to address the fashion industry’s impact on the planet through linear production models, and the report defines the roles that all stakeholders, from academia to consumers, must play, with three main targets to allow for a “viable, resilient and prosperous ecosystem”.

The first target is to reduce the volume of new clothing, the second is to maximise utilisation and revaluation through product circularity, and the third is to optimise sorting methods and materials recovery.

The targets are underpinned by 10 priority actions, including circular design, the use of sustainable fibres and recycling.

The UK fashion market represents one of the largest globally, with revenues of £118 billion, 890,000 workers and contributes £35billion to the UK’s pre-pandemic GDP. Systemic change is needed to address waste across the supply chain, the high volume of clothes bought annually in the UK (a staggering four billion pieces of apparel in 2019) and the percentage that currently is destined for landfill.

The report shows that the UK fashion ecosystem is actually well positioned to move the industry forward to be fully circular.

Caroline Rush, CEO of BFC, said: “The UK has all the ingredients needed to create a blueprint for a circular fashion economy that will deliver significant environmental, commercial and societal benefits.  The mammoth job at hand to put this into action can be supercharged through a Sustainable Fashion Programme that sees, industry, the government and stakeholders all come to the table to play their part beyond their focus of each individual business.

“We are already seeing this with our emerging designers, however with large commercial businesses, re-commerce businesses, academia, innovators, funders, logistics providers, waste management and recycling providers and the broader ecosystem coming together with the government, we have an opportunity to create this target state quicker, and in doing so creating jobs and skills benefiting the UK as a whole.”

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