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Visa collaborates with COS and United Repair Centre on new circularity initiative

Chloe Burney
14 July 2023

Visa has announced that COS and the United Repair Centre will be the first partners for its 'Recommerce Behavioural Insights Lab' - a new initiative running experiments to develop how businesses can help consumers engage in a more circular economy.

92% of consumers surveyed claimed they want to be more sustainable, but only 16% were actively taking steps to change their behaviour. Visa’s new initiative will see it partner with leading brands to help bridge this "intention/action gap".

The first two experiments will be in partnership with COS and the United Repair Centre, taking place across Europe. The UK will be one of the first countries to partake in the experiment.

COS will explore the motivations that increase consumer participation in the resale market. Resale is an important part of fashion’s shift to circularity, however, only 47% of consumers participate in the resale economy more than once a year.

United Repair Centre will leverage its repair services to leading European apparel brands. It will explore the barriers that stop consumers from repairing their garments and uncover how to make repairs more accessible to consumers.

Both experiments will test the motivations of customers in a variety of environments, including online and in-store. This aims to provide a comprehensive outlook on how to change behaviours, testing factors such as improving visibility, access, community, reward, ease and affordability.

Katherine Brown, Vice President of Sustainability and Inclusive Impact, Visa Europe: "Over half of Europeans are already regularly engaging in recommerce activities like resale. By uncovering what actually gets shoppers to change their behaviour and by leveraging our data and insights from these experiments with United Repair Centre and COS, we can identify new ways to make sustainable fashion a must-have purchase and accelerate the transition to the circular economy for all."

Mindworks, a leading behavioural design expert, Twig, an innovative circular economy fintech, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation will be joining the Lab as foundational partners to provide industry-leading expertise.

Anna Queralt, Strategic Design Manager at Ellen MacArthur Foundation, said: "This project is absolutely a design-led initiative and an important step in the journey towards bringing together different actors to collectively imagine and test new ways of engaging people and enabling circular economy choices.

"The learnings from this iterative project will sit alongside our Adaptive Strategy for Circular Design to help organisations leverage design as they transition from linear to circular, and will support not only the fashion industry but all actors across different sectors who want to bring their users and customers along on their circular economy journey."

This follows yesterday's news that Patagonia was launching a similar repair project. The outdoor apparel brand is 'putting the power of repair into the hands of customers' with its new online returns portal to encourage the industry and consumers to partake in a circular fashion economy.

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