New voluntary agreement seeks to slash the environmental impact of UK clothing

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A new international sustainable textile agreement, joined by household brands including ASOS, Boohoo, John Lewis, Primark and New look, has been launched.

Led by circular economy charity WRAP, the voluntary ‘Textiles 2030’ agreement seeks to slash the environmental impact of UK clothing and home fabrics through practical interventions along the entire textiles chain.

Having secured commitment from more than 18 major brands and retailers, 26 re-use/recycling organisations and 21 affiliates, creators report that the agreement is supported by more than half the UK market at launch, with nearly 60% of clothing placed on the market (by sales volume) by UK retailers coming under the agreement.

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP commented on the announcement: “I’ve been impressed by the way business has committed to reducing the environmental impact of its products and striving for net zero.

“They clearly see this as core to their business models and essential for building back better as they recover from the pandemic.

“We have been working with business to develop Textiles 2030 to drive forward the sector-wide change needed to redress how we use textiles.

“Our research shows that public demand is there for clothes made more sustainably, and not disposable fashion so the time is right for this transformation.

“Textiles 2030 will create a fashion sector fit for the future and lower the environmental impacts of other household textiles.

“This is just the beginning of a decade-long programme and we need more companies to show their commitment to their customers through Textiles 2030.

“With clothing having the fourth largest impact on the environment after transport, housing and food we simply cannot afford for sustainability not to be the next big thing in fashion.”

Environmental targets of Textiles 2030 are to cut carbon by 50%, sufficient to put the UK textiles sector on a path consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, as well as to reduce the aggregate water footprint of new products sold by 30%.

Major household names signed up to Textiles 2030 include ASOS, Boohoo, Dunelm, John Lewis, M&S, New Look, Next, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker, Tesco and The Salvation Army.

WRAP has also unveiled the Textiles 2030 Roadmap, which seeks to direct the actions under Textiles 2030, setting out the water and carbon reduction targets and the key milestones and activities necessary to introduce circular use of textile products and materials at scale.

Roadmap ambitions for circular textiles, which partner signatories will join forces to achieve, include:

  • Design for Circularity: agree good practice principles, including durability, recyclability, use of recycled content and minimising waste, and implement them as appropriate to their business model and customer base, to lower the impact of product placed on market in the UK.
  • Implement Circular Business Models: pilot reuse business models as appropriate to their product ranges, share learning, and develop large-scale implementation to extend the lifetime of clothing in the UK – and decouple business growth from the use of virgin resources.
  • Close the Loop on Materials: set up partnerships to supply and use recycled fibres for new products, accelerating the commercialisation of fibre-to-fibre recycling in the UK.

More information about Textiles 2030 can be found from the WRAP website.