Global Fashion Agenda, a non-profit organization, has published its Scaling Circularity Report in the wake the COP26 conference. This report outlines the investments and opportunities required to scale up circular fashion systems. The report concluded that fashion could be 80 percent more circular by 230 if there were more investments in recycling technologies.
Precompetitive collaborations can also be very important as they have the potential for accelerating the transition to sustainable and inclusive growth. This was confirmed by the study of textile recycling.
McKinsey and Company was GFA’s strategic partner in knowledge. It based its conclusions on independent analyses of the Circular Fashion Partnership, Bangladesh. Reverse Resources SaaS is used by the partnership to trace 1000 tonnes of textile scrap in Bangladesh.
The analysis shows strong support for scaling the model to other markets, with the partnership’s textile-waste model growing at a rate of 2000 tonnes per month by 2021. The case study claims there is a $4.5 billion opportunity. It also highlights the obstacles to scaling systems. For example, formalizing the informal waste management sector or providing alternative methods to existing use-cases of textile waste.
“Textile recycling should be scaled quickly to ensure that the fashion industry remains on a 1.5 Celsius trajectory. This report highlights the opportunity for textile recycling in postindustrial waste. It highlights the power industry stakeholders can work together to accelerate change,” stated Karl-Hendrik Magnus, senior partner and leader, Apparel, Fashion and Luxury Group, McKinsey and Company.
It was also shown that recycling technologies have better environmental outcomes in terms of GHG emissions, water depletion, and land use. These technologies can be more cost-effective than using virgin materials.
“This research shows that recycling technologies are available, have a significant environmental impact, and can be scaled to make economies more efficient. It is important to create conditions that allow for scaling.” Federica Marchionni, CEO of Global Fashion Agenda, stated that she is optimistic about creating a profitable circular economy if there is sufficient investment and supportive policies.
Scaling Circularity emphasizes the importance and transparency of the demand for recycled material, which will increase investment in recycling infrastructure.
Precompetitive partnerships are key to ensuring supply, demand, and investment where it’s needed. This can be done by convening fashion players through the fashion value chain, creating a tracing system of waste streams, and aligning on mutual incentive.
Additional research revealed that current technologies could deliver up to 75 percent textile-totextile recycling into fashion systems. To make this a reality, however, it will take a 5-7 billion dollar capital investment by the industry in recycling technologies by 2026.