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Launched in April this year, the 2020 Circular Fashion Pledge is an initiative engaging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to kickstart a circularity commitment. Since then, over 110 SME brands have signed onto the pledge, and are collectively pushing forward the circular fashion movement amidst the pandemic, which has renewed attention on sustainability.
Amid the coronavirus crisis over the past few months, 117 brands have joined the Circular Fashion Pledge community to work together to share resources and operationalise their circularity commitments. Signing onto the pledge requires brands to promise to move forward at least one of three actions by the end of this year.
These include enabling taking back items and allowing customers to resell, increasing the recycled content by 10% for the top five selling items, and improving designs with repairability and durability in mind.
Of the brands signed onto the pledge, 62% have prioritised enabling take-back and resale, 60% are committed to increasing their recycled content and 50% say they will design for longer product lifespan. Over a quarter of the cohort – 26% – have dedicated their company to all three of the commitments.
Throughout the program, the Circular Fashion Pledge encourages SMEs to share with each other their experiences, challenges and successes in order to foster a collective movement towards much-needed industry-wide change.
Fashion has come under far more scrutiny in recent years for its environmental footprint. Currently, global fashion consumption drives over 10% of global carbon emissions, 92 million tonnes of landfill waste annually and 20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide.
And these figures are set to continue growing due to our modern culture of disposability. We now buy 60% more clothing than we did 15 years ago, and only wear it for half as long before throwing it out. Circular fashion options – such as rental, swapping with others, upcycling, recycling and resale – represent key solutions to curb this rate of unsustainable production and consumption and its enormous impact on the planet.
With consumers now becoming conscious of their spending decisions, many businesses – including big fashion labels – are now ramping up their circularity credentials. Recently, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched Circulytics, a digital measuring tool providing brands with a comprehensive report of circularity across its entire operations.
Since its launch in January, Circulytics has already seen over 500 businesses sign up, including 121 companies with an annual revenue of more than US$1 billion.
Calls for companies to prioritise sustainability have only grown in the wake of the pandemic, as global attention shifts towards the linear economic business models that have driven ecological destruction – one of the key root causes of emerging zoonotic diseases, as warned by United Nations experts.
Scientists have reiterated that unless humanity puts an end to deforestation, pollution, carbon emissions, livestock farming and unsustainable production, the world is likely to see even more frequent and deadly disease outbreaks to come.
Lead image courtesy of H&M.