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28th March 2019, Brussels

Bold policies needed to mainstream sustainable fashion

It is time to move fashion towards a circular model, the report suggests. Waste and pollution from the production of textiles and clothing have become critical global issues. With only 1% of fibres being recycled, the current ‘linear’ model is outdated and unsustainable. There is an urgent need for a strategy to transform industry into a circular model. A new report launched by Ecopreneur.eu, the European Sustainable Business Federation, calls for decisive policy measures to create an enabling framework.

In current model, large amounts of non-renewable resources are extracted to produce clothes that are often used for only a short time, after which they are discarded. It is time to move fashion towards a circular model where clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use so that they can re-enter the economy and avoid becoming waste.

“Ecopreneur recommends to further develop the optimal policy mix into a detailed strategy for the sector’s advocacy and communicate the messages and actions listed in this report in a concerted action,” said Manfred Mühlberger, President of Ecopreneur. “We therefore call on the fashion industry to jointly work on this circular fashion advocacy agenda.”

According Ecopreneur’s new report, Circular Fashion Advocacy, a set of policy instruments to accelerate and mainstream a European circular fashion economy should be based on the following five pillars:

  • Innovation policies – research programmes with subsidies, investment tax deduction, and support for technological development, innovation and small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • Economic incentives – procurement, extended producer responsibility, VAT, and a tax shift to drive market demand for circular products and services.
  • Regulation – establishing and enforcing a common regulatory framework for transparency and traceability, circular design and improved end-of-waste status across the EU.
  • Trade policies – facilitating export of semi-finished products and sorted, reusable textile waste to producing countries, and avoiding negative social impacts in producing countries.
  • Voluntary actions – covenants, commitments and standards are encouraged to engage stakeholders, with legislation standing by in case of lacking results.

“Governmental policies create the rules by which companies and economies operate. Without an enabling policy framework, circular economy will never become mainstream. The intention of this report is to offer other organisations and the industry a baseline of policies from which to build on,” said Douwe Jan Joustra, Head of Circular Transformation at C&A Foundation.

“With the support of C&A Foundation, Ecopreneur is also working to increase its cooperation with NGOs and other stakeholders, expand its European business network and support the fashion industry in creating a European circular economy policy strategy.”

www.ecopreneur.eu

The full report is available here

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