Make Fashion Circular
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation is a charity which seeks to inspire decision makers across business, government, and academia to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy.
What’s the ambition behind Make Fashion Circular?
Launched in May 2017, Make Fashion Circular brings together leaders from across the fashion industry, including brands, cities, philanthropists, NGOs, and innovators. It is leading international efforts to stop waste and pollution in fashion by creating a circular economy for the industry, where products (apparel, footwear and accessories) are used more, are made to be made again and are made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs.
Why is today’s textile industry problematic?
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation report, A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future, identifies the fashion industry’s current take-make-dispose model as the root cause of its environmental problems and economic value loss, including:
- Resource use. 53 million tonnes of clothing are produced annually. More than 97% of the fibre consists of virgin - mostly non-renewable resources, including oil to produce synthetic fibres, fertilisers to grow natural fibres, and chemicals to dye textiles.
- Economic value. Every year, the industry misses out on billions of dollars through clothing that is barely worn, discarded too early and not recycled. For example, more than 73% of used clothes are incinerated or disposed of in landfills leading to USD100 billion worth of materials being lost each year.
- Climate change. Global emissions from the clothing industry amounted to 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 in 2015. This exceeds the combined footprint of all international flights and maritime shipping.
- Environmental pollution. Textile production not only has a negative impact on the factory workers and their local environment, using plastic-based textiles, such as polyester, also contributes significantly to plastic microfibres leaking into our oceans.
- Societal impacts. People producing clothes often suffer poor working conditions, including long working hours, hazardous work environments and low pay.
How will Make Fashion Circular transform the textiles industry?
Make Fashion Circular unites 60 key stakeholders, including fashion brands, municipalities, NGOs, and innovators behind a shared vision, to radically redesign the fashion industry. Projects to date include WearNext and the Jeans Redesign.
For the Jeans Redesign, Make Fashion Circular brought together over 80 denim experts from across the Denim industry, to co-developed a list of guidelines to ensure jeans can be made for a circular economy. Launched in 2019, it now brings together over 50 leading brands, who thereby commit to:
- Eliminating harmful chemicals from their production process;
- Produce more durable garments;
- Design jeans in a way that they can easily be turned into new clothing.
Make Fashion Circular brings together industry leaders including Burberry, Gap Inc., H&M Group, HSBC, Inditex, PVH and Stella McCartney as Core Partners and is made possible by Laudes Foundation, the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery and the MAVA Foundation.
Please see here for the full list of participants.