The fashion industry could become 80% circular by 2030 if there is increased investment in existing recycling technologies and infrastructures. It demonstrates that pre-competitive collaborations can play a critical role in accelerating the industry’s transition to sustainable and inclusive growth. This is what a report from the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), Copenhagen/Denmark, written with GFA’s Strategic Knowledge Partner, McKinsey & Company, concludes in the aftermath of COP26 (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 26th Conference of the Parties). GFA has published Scaling Circularity – a new report which reveals the opportunities and investment required to scale circular fashion systems.
The findings are based on independent analysis and learnings from the Circular Fashion Partnership in Bangladesh – a cross-sectoral project to scale post-industrial recycling and capture textile value domestically in Bangladesh.
The research focuses on textile recycling and explains that major recycling technologies deliver better environmental outcomes across GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, water depletion and land use. Plus, all technologies have the potential to be more cost effective than using corresponding virgin materials if they are scaled.
Current technologies have the potential to deliver 75% textile-to-textile recycling into the fashion system, and a further 5% recycled feedstock from other industries. The research indicates the business case for investing in recycling infrastructure is attractive if there is greater transparency of the demand for recycled materials and the consistent supply of traceable high-quality feedstock. Through convening influential players throughout the fashion value cycle, developing traceability of waste streams and aligning on mutual incentives, pre-competitive collaborations play a unique role in assuring supply, demand and attracting commercial investment where it is needed.