Fashion giants collaborate on Bangladesh textile reuse scheme

The initiative is being supported by Reverse Resources

Convened through the Global Fashion Agenda, companies such as H&M, Marks & Spencer, Target Australia and C&A have all agreed to improve resource efficiency and waste management in Bangladesh by focusing on textile waste.

The Circular Fashion Partnership will aim to develop systems that capture post-production fashion waste, which will then be used in the production of new textile products.

In addition, the partnership will attempt to find solutions to combat Covid-19 issues in the country, namely the increase in deadstock. Businesses will engage with regulators and investors to create new opportunities in the country.

The organisations are focusing on Bangladesh because they perceive the country to possess the most in-demand and recyclable waste of any garment-producing nation. The garment industry of Bangladesh generates around $5bn in products annually and employs three million workers, of which 90% are women.

The initiative is being supported by Reverse Resources, The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and P4G.

Global Fashion Agenda’s chief executive Morten Lehmann said: “To establish a circular fashion system we need to reimagine the production process so that it appreciates the value of textile waste. It is encouraging to see so many prestigious companies sign up to the Circular Fashion Partnership and, with their help, I am confident that we can demonstrate a strong business model for circularity that can be mirrored by others in the future.”

Closed-loop net-zero

The circular economy is also a key building block of the net-zero movement. A new report released by think-tank Circle Economy tracks the amount of resources used by humanity every year and analyses the proportion which is reused or properly recycled. Last year’s report found that of more than 100 billion tons of extracted materials, less than 9% re-enters the circular economy.

This year, in light of the growing global net-zero movement, the report also outlines the links between linear systems of excessive consumption and climate change. It states that 22.8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted due to the production of new materials and products every year – equivalent to more than double China’s national annual emissions. Key emissions ‘hotspots’ include extraction and manufacturing.

Closer to home, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced plans to fund the creation of a new circular economy hub at the University of Exeter.

Staff at the new facility will coordinate work and enable knowledge-sharing between five R&D centres across the country, where academics and businesses are working to develop solutions for some of the world’s most linear sectors, including textiles and chemicals.

Matt Mace

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