Major clothing retailers sign environmental footprint commitment

Companies representing more than a third of UK clothing sales have signed a commitment to measure, report and lower their environmental footprints.


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Among the companies to have signed the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) 2020 Commitment are John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

To help organisations measure their overall carbon, water and waste footprints, WRAP, which co-ordinates SCAP, has developed a spreadsheet-based ‘footprint calculator’. It will enable companies to consistently quantify and report the total global impacts of the clothes they make, sell and recover.

The organisations will focus on a number of areas including the use of lower-impact textile fibres, extending the active life of clothing, recovering material which currently goes to landfill, and providing more information for consumers.

WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin said: “The fact that 22 organisations have already signed a commitment that explicitly sets out their determination to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of clothing is very encouraging.”

According to WRAP, clothing contributes about 5% of the carbon footprint and between 6-8% of the water footprint of all the UK’s goods and services.

It also accounts for more than 1 million tonnes of wasted materials, making it the most significant category for consumption impacts after food and drink, housing and transport.

Goodwin added: “SCAP is an opportunity for all players in the sector to work together to reduce these impacts, making individual changes for a common good.”

Lord de Mauley, Defra’s Resource Management Minister said he hoped that other UK organisations would join the signatories in the coming weeks.

He said: “By working together in this way, government, industry and third sector can deliver real economic benefits, and reduce carbon, waste and water impacts.”

Conor McGlone

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