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New report urges brands to include suppliers in industry’s move to circularity


In a recent report, Forum for the Future and leading fashion manufacturers Cobalt Fashion, Ramatex Group and Yee Chain International have called on brands, retailers and other stakeholders to include suppliers in the industry’s drive to transform the design, marketing and use of apparel.

Making the leap to circular fashion highlights that mass apparel and footwear manufacturers representing the core of today’s high-production, low-cost fast-fashion system are uniquely placed to develop and implement innovative circular solutions at scale. Through their position in the industry — guiding sourcing and supply decisions, and creating products sold in retail — manufacturers have enormous potential to shape the fashion sector up and down the supply chain.

However, the report argues that, while significant progress has been made on the fashion industry’s environmental and social sustainability performance, initiatives continue to be driven by individual actors and a growing number of collective efforts — such as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation's Make Fashion Circular initiative, which has attracted dozens of major brands and industry players; startup accelerators such as H&M’s Global Change Award and the Fashion for Good-Plug and Play Accelerator; and the 110 small and medium-sized apparel brands that signed on to the 2020 Circular Fashion Pledge earlier this year — and a compliance-focused approach to manufacturing innovation; rather than broad adoption of game-changing textile-recycling technologies; exploring and scaling the circular potential of supply chains for materials such as man-made cellulosic fibers — the second-biggest cellulosic fiber group in use, after cotton; and re-examining design processes to eliminate waste.


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