Changing clothes to reduce climate change – Textiles 2030

Textiles 2030: UK Sustainable Textiles Action Plan, the most ambitious ten-year programme for clothing and textiles in the world, officially launched on Monday 26th April. WRAP, the UK’s leading sustainability charity, is behind this vital new agreement for the textiles industry.

Over the next decade, the voluntary agreement will slash the environmental impact of UK clothing and home fabrics through practical interventions along the entire textiles chain.

Textiles 2030 has secured commitment from more than 18 major brands and retailers, 26 re-use/recycling organisations and 21 affiliates. This means that the agreement is supported by more than half the UK market at launch, with nearly 60% of clothing placed on the market (by sales volume) by UK retailers coming under the agreement.

Major household names signed up to Textiles 2030 include ASOS, Boohoo, Dunelm, John Lewis, M&S, New Look, Next, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker, Tesco and The Salvation Army.

Marcus Gover, CEO of WRAP: “I’ve been impressed by the way business has committed to reducing the environmental impact of its products and striving for net zero. They clearly see this as core to their business models and essential for building back better as they recover from the pandemic.  We have been working with business to develop Textiles 2030 to drive forward the sector-wide change needed to redress how we use textiles. Our research shows that public demand is there for clothes made more sustainably, and not disposable fashion so the time is right for this transformation.

“Textiles 2030 will create a fashion sector fit for the future and lower the environmental impacts of other household textiles. This is just the beginning of a decade long programme and we need more companies to show their commitment to their customers through Textiles 2030. With clothing having the fourth largest impact on the environment after transport, housing and food we simply cannot afford for sustainability not to be the next big thing in fashion.”

WRAP also unveils the Textiles 2030 Roadmap which will direct the actions under Textiles 2030. This sets out the water and carbon reduction targets, and the key milestones and activities necessary to introduce circular use of textile products and materials at scale.

The Textiles 2030 Roadmap shows what signatories must do to deliver the targets, with key outcomes by the end of 2022, 2025 and 2030. These actions will transform the UK’s make-use-dispose fashion culture into one where products are made sustainably, used longer and then re-used or recycled. The Target-Measure-Act approach will be used so that textiles businesses set tough targets, measure impact and track progress on both an individual business basis, and towards national targets and public reporting.

Textiles 2030 environmental targets are:

  • Cut carbon by 50%, sufficient to put the UK textiles sector on a path consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest.
  • Reduce the aggregate water footprint of new products sold by 30%.

Roadmap ambitions for circular textiles, which partner signatories will join forces to achieve:

  • Design for Circularity: agree good practice principles, including durability, recyclability, use of recycled content and minimising waste, and implement them as appropriate to their business model and customer base, to lower the impact of product placed on market in the UK.
  • Implement Circular Business Models: pilot reuse business models as appropriate to their product ranges, share learning, and develop large-scale implementation to extend the lifetime of clothing in the UK – and decouple business growth from the use of virgin resources.
  • Close the Loop on Materials: set up partnerships to supply and use recycled fibres for new products, accelerating the commercialisation of fibre-to-fibre recycling in the UK.

Footprint modelling shows that these three actions towards circularity could deliver half of the climate target.

Textiles 2030 is also being supported by Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE. The Crossbench peer and Chancellor of the University of Nottingham is an advocate for sustainable textiles and recognises the need to act. Baroness Young said, “We urgently need to protect the planet from the damaging, unsustainable impact of the way we produce and consume clothing and textiles. Innovation, creativity and commitment, underpinned by collaboration is essential if we are to be successful. By working together, businesses across the UK can take the critical steps needed to transform business practices in the sector for good and achieve our climate goals. With WRAP’s expertise in delivering initiatives such as Textiles 2030, and with the sector’s knowledge and expertise I am excited by the impact we can achieve together. I urge every fashion and textiles business in the UK to sign up to Textiles 2030.”

The launch of Textiles 2030 will be marked by a virtual event to take place on Monday 26th April. It will be hosted by WRAP CEO, Marcus Gover and will feature an expert panel including Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE and Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow MP.

Textiles 2030 builds on the foundation of the SCAP 2020 voluntary agreement (Sustainable Clothing Action Plan) which saw businesses respond to growing public demand for fashion with a softer environmental footprint, by adopting robust measurement and targeted action. SCAP was successful in helping signatories achieve and surpass the water and carbon targets.

The UK’s Textiles 2030 is the first national agreement in what will become a global network of initiatives, under the new Textiles Action Network, to reduce the environmental impact of clothing around the world.

WRAP, in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and supported by the Laudes Foundation, has developed a set of globally relevant targets and will launch the second commitment, in Denmark, in summer 2021. These initiatives will deliver the first ever readymade plans to achieve global circular economy targets on clothing by co-ordinated national action. The plans can be used by individual nations and tailored to suit their circumstances, whilst still directing action towards global targets.

Further details and joining information can be found here.

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