Fashion industry closing in on carbon and water reduction targets

Water impacts in the clothing supply chain have been reduced by 12.5% per tonne of clothing since 2013, while carbon impacts have also been cut by 3.5% per tonne, WRAP has announced.

The sector has seen a growing trend in acquiring more sustainable fibre choices

The sector has seen a growing trend in acquiring more sustainable fibre choices

WRAP has led a coalition of 82 signatories and supporters from retailers, brands and organisations across the sector to commit to 15% reductions in water and carbon use and waste sent to landfill by 2020. The collective action forms part of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) sector commitment launched by the charity in 2013.

Marcus Gover, director at WRAP, said: “SCAP signatories have made great progress against the targets to date, particularly water. This is a positive indication of what can be achieved and we must capitalise on the momentum we’ve built. We will be working with the sector to ensure focus is maintained on priority areas. And whilst waste arisings haven’t been reduced, they have remained stable and we are encouraging concentrated efforts in this area.”

SCAP 2020 was launched after WRAP identified and segregated key areas across the sector that could account for the biggest environmental reductions. These include the sourcing of primary materials, extending the life of clothing and implementing and encouraging reuse and recycling.

Since the launch two years ago, the sector has seen a growing trend in acquiring more sustainable fibre choices, while recycled materials are being incorporated over virgin options. An example of this is the sector’s use of cotton, which has seen as switch to sources accredited by the Better Cotton Initiative, improving water use as a result.

The SCAP project now represents over 50% of the UK retail market after clothing brand George (at Asda) signed up this week. To help newly signed brands, WRAP provides a range of guidance tools including a soon to be published Sustainable Clothing Guide. The charity also encourages new signatories to work with supply chains and consumers (notably through the Love Your Clothes campaign) to reduce water consumption and carbon emissions.

Looking good

The news comes just a day after luxury goods firm Kering released a new report urging the fashion industry to strengthen its supply chain resilience. Kering, which owns brands including Gucci, Saint Lauren and Stella McCartney claimed the industry is particularly sensitive to climate risks because it relies on scarce high-quality raw materials.

But work is being done in improve the resilience of the industry. Last month, Primark joined the Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) committing it to enter sustainability data into a series of online tools which then generate standardized performance scores.

Swedish clothing chain H&M recently announced a new €1m grant for pioneering ideas which 'close the loop' on discarded clothing, encouraging recycling and reuse.

The UK’s ongoing success in the clothing sector will pave the way for a new European-wide programme the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) which was announced last month and will mirror the aims and goals suggested by WRAP.

Matt Mace


fashion | retail | Reuse | supply chain | water | WRAP


Water | Waste & resource management | Energy efficiency & low-carbon
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