UK businesses must commit to decarbonising fashion industry, says WRAP

On the back of research by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the sustainability charity has urged UK businesses, academy and industry experts, reuse and recycling organisations and citizens to sign up to Textiles 2030 in order to reduce the carbon footprint of making clothes.

The research revealed that more than half of the UK population considers the environmental impact of clothing to be severe, with around two-thirds (63 per cent) of those surveyed agreeing that sustainability is a major factor in choosing the clothes they wear.

Clothing in a shopTextiles 2030 is a 10-year programme that builds on the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), to which over 80 organisations have committed since 2012. SCAP exceeded its target for water footprint reduction in the fashion industry (18.1 per cent against a target of 15 per cent).

Textiles 2030 aims to reduce the carbon and water footprint of clothing, in line with the international goal of keeping global warming to below 1.5°C. The programme sets out carbon and water footprint reduction targets of 40 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively, as well as a commitment to developing a circular textiles roadmap for the UK by 2030.

Central to the programme is the ‘target-measure-act’ approach, which encourages participating businesses to set targets, measure impacts and track progress on an individual and national level.

Marcus Gover, Chief Executive WRAP, commented: “SCAP 2020 has been an amazing journey and so much has been achieved. I would like  to thank signatories, advisors, supporters, funders and colleagues for their commitment and energy during these last eight years.

“I am hugely impressed by the extent to which we have been able to make such a difference by working together. SCAP 2020 signatories have been the recognised leaders. However, more action is needed by more companies to make clothing more sustainable. That is why we need to continue this work. Textiles 2030 will pick up the mantle.”

Among signatories of the Textiles 2030 agreement is resource management group SUEZ.

John Scanlon, CEO of Suez Recycling and Recovery UK, commented: "A move away from a make-use-dispose culture to a more circular model is only possible when organisations from across the value chain come together, and we’re proud to join many well-known high street brands and charities, to be the first recycling and waste management company to sign up to WRAP’s ambitious Textiles 2030 agreement.

"By working together over the next decade, I’m confident we can build on the progress made so far to transform the UK’s clothing and home fabrics industry to one where products are produced sustainably and designed with end of life in mind, so they can be used for longer and recycled into new products when this is no longer possible, to create a truly circular textiles industry."

Leah Riley Brown, Sustainability Policy Advisor at British Retail Consortium, added: “The British Retail Consortium supports Textiles 2030 as an important step towards decarbonising and accelerating change within the UK fashion industry.

“Alongside our Climate Action Roadmap, both will provide a comprehensive way forward for fashion retailers to deliver an ambitious target to tackle climate change ahead of the Government’s 2050 net zero target.

"Industry-wide collaboration is essential if we are to make crucial, science-based progress to create a more circular economy and combat climate change."