Kyra Elston, Communications Business Partner, WRAP
Following on from the success of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP), which ran from 2012 to 2020, WRAP launched the UK’s Textiles 2030 last year – an award-winning voluntary agreement for the UK fashion and textiles industry.
Textiles 2030 builds on the 10+ years of experience developed through SCAP and was the catalyst behind WRAP’s Textiles Action Network; an international framework to unite businesses and governments across the globe to work towards shared ambitions for a circular textiles economy.
Since the launch of Textiles 2030, we have been encouraged by the level of commitment from businesses across the UK textiles sector to change, with more than 100 businesses – representing over 62% of all clothing products placed on the UK market – signing up to the voluntary agreement in its first year and pledging their commitment to ambitious carbon and water targets, while collectively helping to deliver the UK’s circular textiles roadmap.
In 2022, WRAP’s work has transcended the boundaries of the United Kingdom, with the Textiles Action Network welcoming Denmark’s Lifestyle and Design Cluster onto the framework – who are representing the interests of the new Danish industry collaboration on textiles. This year we have also been supporting the Catalan government to launch an agreement for its textiles sector to help it transition to circularity.
Further afield in Australia, WRAP is working as part of a consortium, led by the Australian Fashion Council, to develop Australia’s National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme. In a commitment to our work in the region, we recently opened our Asia-Pacific office in Adelaide – cementing our first official step in becoming a truly international NGO as we continue to tackle textiles consumption and promote circularity globally.
In the UK, WRAP published the Textiles 2030 Circularity Pathway last year which outlines some of the key issues that need addressing, and milestones that need to be reached, in order for the UK fashion and textiles industry to progress towards circularity this decade. This includes agreeing on good practice design principles, scaling up the use of different circular business models and setting up partnerships to supply and use recycled fibres.
Understanding the impacts of these different actions will be crucial if we are to ensure that the industry is taking the most significant and progressive steps.
Internationally, one of the biggest challenges the textiles industry faces is how to overcome cross-border issues, the global nature of the supply chain and the silos of the industry.
Another challenge is the gap in data and standards to allow the sector to quantify impact savings related to circularity, and therefore, identify the opportunities for accelerating progress. WRAP has been working with stakeholders in the UK over the last year, through Textiles 2030, to gather the necessary data, evidence and insights to allow the UK industry to act on the facts and have greater clarity on its carbon and water impacts.
For us, transformation means moving away from the linearity of the fashion and textiles industry and breaking down the traditional silos that exist.
We need governments across the globe to start taking action and we need brands and retailers, reuse and recycling organisations, service providers, research organisations, industry bodies and innovators to share knowledge, expertise and co-collaborate on a wider scale.
WRAP’s world-leading initiatives are already bringing together key parts of the industry to share learnings and resources and tackle often complex challenges in a non-competitive space; harnessing all the ingenuity and out of the box thinking residing in the sector.
However, we know that the greater our engagement with the industry, the bigger and more impactful our collective efforts will become in tackling the climate crisis. That is why we are inviting governments, businesses and citizens across the globe to work with us and take action. If you want to be part of the solution and learn more about our textiles initiatives in the UK and internationally, visit WRAP’s website.