Benetton Group is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at Benetton Group.

The importance of a circular fashion system for Benetton Group

 

The opening sentence of Benetton Group’s manifesto is ‘Fashion is not everything’ – the company believes in more than just designing clothes, but also in a future that is sustainable, circular and regenerative.

Following this philosophy, Benetton Group has embraced different systemic initiatives aimed at a significant shift from a linear to a circular business model. It has introduced a strategy, as opposed to a single project, as it recognises that reaching this objective requires a structured approach rather than an occasional effort. The company has involved its stakeholders, instead of proceeding alone, based on the belief that all actors, from suppliers to final consumers, should contribute to make change happen.

Circularity, recycling and designing for durability are the Northern star in Benetton Group’s journey. It has adopted a strategic and pragmatic approach, leveraging on the skills and competences of its team and applying a new circular vision to its business, suppliers’ conduct and consumers’ habits. At the core of the company’s holistic strategy is its commitment to long-term sustainability.

This approach requires a shift in the way the company designs clothes – intentionally prioritising mono-material products that it finds to be more easily recyclable with the current state of technology. Regarding materials selection, Benetton has increased the recycled content of its products whilst maintaining a strong commitment towards the adoption of natural fibres.

Benetton Group’s B-long project is an investment in the durability of its products – ensuring they meet the highest quality manufacturing standard. The company engages with its consumers through B-care, an initiative aimed at teaching citizens how to take care of their clothes, so that they can last longer.

Benetton Group’s Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

Benetton Group is a partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, supporting the development of textile recycling in Bangladesh, using waste from production processes to make new products. Whilst the company recognises that key barriers exist, such as scaling suitable technologies to recycle polyfibre materials, the availability of adequate waste recycling vendors and the lack of concrete policies, Benetton Group believes that we need to start reimagining the entire production process in order to recognise the value of textile waste.

The Circular Fashion Partnership facilitates commercial and circular collaborations between textile industries, fashion brands and recycling experts in Bangladesh, with a goal to generate economic value in the country by boosting the market for recycled fibres. In 2021, some of Benetton Group’s suppliers joined the initiative and, after training, began collecting cotton production waste for subsequent re-sale and recycling.

Nicoletta Sartori Head of Sustainability, Benetton Group
"Working towards a circular fashion system is rooted in our history. Our commitment to using high-quality, mono-fibre garments has been a pillar of our strategy since the beginning of Benetton’s entrepreneurial history. In the past we were also among the first companies to test new strategies to extend a product’s life-cycle, such as a collection service for second-hand garments, back in the Nineties. Today, we apply the same philosophy to the challenges that our industry is currently facing, as proud members of the Circular Fashion Partnership."

About Benetton Group

Benetton Group is a world-renowned fashion company, present in the most important markets globally with a network of about 4000 stores. Benetton prides itself on being a responsible group that plans for the future and lives in the present, with a watchful eye to the environment, to human dignity, and to a society in transformation.

Benetton Group is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

Usha Yarns Limited is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at Usha Yarns.

The importance of a circular fashion system for Usha Yarns

 

According to Usha Yarns, circular fashion is the only way out of the complex web of resource scarcity, landfills, pollution and plastic waste in this age of increasing global prosperity and fast fashion. As the importance and acceptance of recycling grows in the fashion industry, the company finds itself very much centre stage in the think of the action.

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

For Usha Yarns, it is clear that scaling effective circular systems cannot be achieved without collaboration and alliances. Today, it recognises the desperate need for a much deeper collaboration between all stakeholders. According to the company, The Circular Fashion Partnership creates the groundwork for kickstarting and accelerating the cooperation between stakeholders in order to achieve the goals of a circular textile value chain.

Usha Yarns’ Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

As the demand for recycled textile materials grows, Usha Yarns has perfected its products and has furthermore embarked upon scaling up. It has initiated a circular partnership programme to connect with local garment producers and brands to support with the recycling and traceability of their waste.

Anurag Gupta Managing Director, Usha Yarns Limited
"We are thrilled to be part of Circular Fashion Partnership journey with immense opportunity of knowledge sharing, collaboration and learning provided to us by way of engaging with many brands and manufacturers seeking circularity solutions."

The Circular Fashion Partnership has given Usha Yarns a platform to network with brands, manufacturers and solution providers to collaborate and work together in a global space to overcome the challenges of transitioning to a circular economy.

About Usha Yarns

Usha Yarns Limited has a legacy of more than two decades in learning, developing and producing recycled textiles. Today, the company has three spinning plants in operation spread across 20 acres within the proximity of Chandigarh. The plants are modern and equipped with the best recycling technology driven by trusted brands like Rieter, Truetzschler, Oerlikon and Schlafhorst. The company has a monthly capacity to produce more than 1,000 tonnes of regenerated yarns in different solid and mélange colours, certified by Global Recycling Standards (GRS). The products are thoroughly examined on each quality parameter of global standards to ensure the complete satisfaction of customers. The company is an emerging brand in circular textiles, known for offering unique values like 100 per cent recycled content, big lot sizes, traceability, no colour variations and fine quality for both hosiery and woven applications which sets it apart from competitors

 

Usha Yarns is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

C&A is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the Circular Fashion Partnership has made an impact at C&A.

The importance of a circular fashion system for C&A

 

C&A’s vision is one of a restorative circular economy where nothing is wasted in the creation or disposal of clothing. The company believes that a circular fashion system presents an opportunity for the industry to re-invent itself and right its wrongs: using materials that are safe, renewable and restorative, focusing on physical and emotional product durability and ultimately closing the loop on textile-to-textile recycling. For C&A, a circular fashion system presents the opportunity to eliminate the concept of waste entirely.

Martha Willis Senior Manager, Sustainable Materials and Circular Innovation, C&A
"At C&A, we’re committed to connecting 7/10 products to a principle of circularity by 2028, including those made from recycled materials. The Circular Fashion Partnership is enabling us to establish a flow of high-quality recycled materials in our products and giving us the opportunity to collaborate across the supply chain to tackle barriers that still exist in circular systems."

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

The team at C&A understand that a circular flow of materials is a key principle of the circular economy, yet they recognise significant technical barriers that exist in textile-to-textile recycling. In turn the company believes that we need investment in innovative solutions to accelerate recycling processes that preserve fibre quality, alongside establishing transparent high-quality waste flows. For C&A, policy is an important lever here, to present the concept of waste as a valuable resource and to support the development of infrastructure for the trading and recycling of waste.

Moreover, the company has identified the urgent need for mindset shifts in order to transition away from embedded industry practices that don’t support a circular economy. For C&A, increased collaboration and transparency along the entire value chain is a must.

C&A’s Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

By 2028, C&A is committed to connecting 7 out of 10 of its products to principles of circularity. Alongside circular product design and new business models, a key pillar of this goal is to focus on scaling high quality recycled materials within its supply chain. During the first phase of the Circular Fashion Partnership, C&A piloted the Reverse Resources platform with key suppliers in Bangladesh to trace clipping waste from garment manufacturing to recycling partners. The company is now in the second phase of the Circular Fashion Partnership, where it has scaled its programme of garment manufacturers, using the Reverse Resources platform to trace their waste.

The Circular Fashion Partnership has allowed C&A to test the hypothesis of a circular material loop, within a localised system. On one hand, it has demonstrated how the organisation can establish a transparent supply of high-quality post-industrial waste into C&A products. On the other hand, it has highlighted to the company the barriers and complexity – even in a localised system – that still exist within the industry to closing the material loop. C&A recognises that without further cross-sectoral collaboration, carving the way to a circular economy will not be possible.

About C&A

With over 1,300 stores in 17 European countries and more than 25,000 employees, C&A is one of Europe’s leading fashion retailers. Every day, C&A welcomes about two million visitors to its stores in Europe and offers quality fashion at affordable prices for the whole family. For further information, please visit our website: https://www.c-and-a.com

 

C&A is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

BESTSELLER is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at BESTSELLER.

The importance of a circular fashion system for BESTSELLER

BESTSELLER believes that transitioning to circular fashion systems presents enormous potential for the company to lower its impact and become less dependent on virgin resources. This will require replacing the traditional linear model of take-make-waste with circular solutions that safeguard the world’s finite resources and eliminate waste. To be able to grow as an organisation, BESTSELLER recognises the need to rely more on circular fashion systems in the future to decouple turnover from its overall impact.

The BESTSELLER Sustainability Report 2021 outlines its ambitions to scale its circular systems, with the goal to phase out single use virgin plastic wherever possible by 2025. Its business model will be based on design principles that prioritise efficiency and the reuse of resources at every level, from fibres to water and chemicals to post-consumer, in order to minimise waste and keep resources in use.

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

Based on learnings from the Circular Fashion Partnership, BESTSELLER identified that the key barrier to scaling effective circular systems in Bangladesh is the informal waste system. The company identifies that this needs to be addressed to complement its efforts and recognises the need to work together as an industry to build an infrastructure for pre-consumer waste which is inclusive of all stakeholders in the supply chain, without neglecting anyone. The purpose of this would be to make the supply chain more transparent and ensure that waste goes back into new products.

BESTSELLER’S Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

As part of the Circular Fashion Partnership, BESTSELLER has been – and still is – engaging with suppliers and recyclers to increase the use of pre-consumer waste – making sure that it ends up in new products. Together BESTSELLER wants to increase the mix of materials currently being used for recycling. Today, it identifies a high focus on only 100 percent cotton waste but wants to challenge the status quo and find a lasting destination for mixed materials as well.

Additionally, BESTSELLER – together with the manufacturers – makes sure that there are clear business incentives for the segregation and sorting of waste and supports the work to engage with the informal sector within circular fashion systems in Bangladesh.

Alexander Granberg Sustainability Project Specialist, BESTSELLER
"The Circular Fashion Partnership has been a perfect example of showing that when we as an industry join forces, agreeing on one agenda, we can drive real change. It’s clear that we need to collaborate on practical matters, and we believe that the potential within CFP is huge. We’re excited to take it to the next level."

About BESTSELLER

BESTSELLER is an international family-owned fashion company with a strong foundation. The company has more than 18,000 dedicated employees globally and  provides fashion clothing and accessories for all ages, genders and occasions.

BESTSELLER’s ultimate ambition is to bring ‘Fashion FWD’ until it is climate positive, fair for all and circular by design, and sees collaboration as the key to finding solutions and making lasting changes. With sustainability as a prerequisite for ongoing business success, BESTSELLER is investing in innovation and working in partnerships across the value chain.

For more information, visit bestseller.com

BESTSELLER is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

Peak Performance is a Supporting Partner of the Circular Fashion Partnership, a cross-sectorial project to support the development of the textile recycling industry in Bangladesh by capturing and directing post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. Below we learn how the partnership has made an impact at Peak Performance.

The importance of a circular fashion system for Peak Performance

 

Peak Performance recognises the inflection point the fashion industry finds itself at – a pivotal moment of re-evaluation on how resources and products are considered. For the organisation, wasting finite materials is no longer an option – neither for people nor for the planet, and it acknowledges that the only way to stay within the planetary boundaries is to shift towards circularity.

The brands Sustainability Performance Report 2021 reiterated its devotion to reaching 100% circular product by 2030. Transitioning to a circular fashion system gives Peak Performance the opportunity to keep doing business without relying on nature to pay the price for it. The team at Peak Performance understand the complexity of this transition and the effort that is needed from growers, manufacturers, designers, end users, and everyone who is directly and indirectly involved in the process. They believe that the only way to succeed in this shift is by working together and educating everyone, including the end-user.

Sara Molnar Brand President, Peak Performance
" We need to think like one organism – evaluate every cell of the supply chain without forgetting our promise to the end consumer to make products that last and reimagine a healthy thriving fashion system."

Barriers to scaling effective circular systems

When we spoke to Peak Performance, they outlined three key barriers to scaling effective circular systems that must be addressed to complement their efforts:

  1. Transparency

For the brand, full supply chain transparency is key, both to understand the challenges but also to be able to communicate to and educate the end consumers. To address this, there needs to be a mindset shift around the value of resources and how we use them by implementing circular design practices within the product development process.

  1. Collaboration

The brand recognises that the research gap is still rather big, but that it will play a crucial role in the future. Accordingly, Peak Performance recognises that collaboration within the industry is imperative to push the limits of technological innovation. That’s precisely why it invests in projects like the Circular Fashion Partnership which provide a platform for sharing successes and mistakes and supporting each other.

  1. Waste handling

Handling, collecting and sorting post-consumer waste is another part of the challenge. However, this opens opportunities for new business models, which is something the brand will continue to explore going forward.

 

Peak Performance’s Circular Fashion Partnership Activities

Peak Performance has been a part of our Circular Fashion Partnership alongside various fibre recyclers and over 20 other brands sharing the passion of innovation, creativity, and new solutions. The result for Peak Performance was a t-shirt using around half of fibre-to-fibre recycled cotton – a great achievement in increasing the usage of circular materials. This is just the beginning as the brand seeks to continue this work.

Peak Performance will stay on as a Supporting Partner and is looking forward to the extension of program to Vietnam where a pre-feasibility study on synthetic material post-production waste has just been completed. Peak Performance believes synthetics are a massive part of the industry and has a goal to enable people to stay active, making this an exciting project with important findings for them.

The brand is delighted to be able to show progress in this field as it believes this is the future. Having some of its suppliers onboard to strengthen its collaboration and move forward together is something the organisation is proud of. Peak Performance testified just how much inspiration projects like this give its long-term partners and suppliers, as well as its own teams within the organisation. For the brand, this is a business opportunity with expansion in the right direction for the future.

About Peak Performance

Founded in 1986, Peak Performance was born out of a vision for stylish, functional, durable, timeless and high-quality skiwear. Now the brand is a frontrunner in designing innovative products for both a dynamic city life and outdoor activities such as skiing, running and golf.

 

Peak Performance is one of Global Fashion Agenda’s Supporting Partners for the Circular Fashion Partnership. Read more about the Circular Fashion Partnership and its various partners here

Today fashion is primarily produced in a linear system, of “take, make, dispose”, with 73% of the world’s clothing eventually ending up in landfills.1 While some brands have initiated the process of redesigning their product lifecycles, complexities around changing the linear model have slowed down the movement towards circularity. Unless the whole industry acts now, the linear model risks pushing past planetary boundaries. As guided in Global Fashion Agenda’sFashion CEO Agenda – Circular Systems, the industry must first develop a fuller understanding around the impact of choices made during the product creation phase. This includes, but is not limited to, designing for durability, disassembly and recycling and increasing the share of recycled fibres in products.2

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation currently leads international efforts in this space and is committed to the creation of a circular economy that tackles some of the biggest challenges of our time, such as climate change and biodiversity loss. The Foundation’s Fashion Initiative brings together leaders from across the fashion industry to drive international efforts to stop waste and pollution through the creation of a circular economy. This system means  designing products (apparel, footwear, accessories) that are used more, made to be made again and are produced from safe, recycled, or renewable inputs.

To demonstrate the possibilities of circular design for the fashion industry, in February 2019 Ellen MacArthur Foundation initiated The Jeans Redesign.

THE JEANS REDESIGN – DESIGNING FOR A CIRCULAR ECONOMY, TODAY.

Through the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project, participating brands have put more than half a million pairs of circular jeans on the market demonstrating momentous possibilities for the wider fashion industry when it comes to circular design.

For decades, the denim industry has been responsible for a significant amount of waste and pollution, as it requires a large amount of resources during production, such as pesticides, water, and energy. The iconic design and construction of jeans is also traditionally difficult to remake and recycle after use, all in all presenting a challenging but opportune starting point to address the flaws of the current linear economy.

The Jeans Redesign guidelines, created by the Foundation  with input from over 80 denim experts, provides minimum requirements for durability, traceability, and recyclability, while using safe materials and processes to ensure jeans are fit for a circular economy.

To date, 94 participants representing of brands, retailers, garment manufacturers, and fabric mills are working towards The Jeans Redesign guidelines and common definitions with many going beyond the requirements  to collaborate with other businesses, innovate for new technologies, and invest in knowledge, capacity, fixed assets, inventory, and procurement. The success of The Jeans Redesign has also ignited discussions around developing other products in line with circular design principles. For example, some participants are investigating solutions for garments including chinos, jackets, t-shirts and accessories being designed in the same way.

Whilst the number of redesigned jeans is just a small part of the total market, the insights gained can go a long way in informing bold action towards creating more products in this way providing a clear picture of the current landscape of solutions, barriers, and innovation gaps for the industry to act on now. The insights outlined also highlight the need for business alignment with policymakers on common criteria necessary to scale a circular economy for fashion.

 

THE JEANS REDESIGN – NEXT STEPS

In July 2021, The Jeans Redesign guidelines were updated to take into account what is needed to accelerate progress at speed and scale to create a circular economy for jeans, and account for changes in the innovation landscape of the fashion industry. As The Jeans Redesign continues, participants will take bold action to apply the guidelines across a greater proportion of their denim collections and organisations are encouraged to join current participants on this journey and work together towards the updated guidelines.

Find out more about The Jeans Redesign here.

 

CALL TO ACTION

Transitioning to a circular economy is a critical step on the pathway to reach science-based targets and reduce carbon by 45% by 2030. According to the Fashion On Climate Report, one in five garments must be traded through a circular business model by 2030 if we are to meet the Paris Agreement, demanding industry players to rapidly increase the pace of transformation to a circular fashion system.3 To understand how you can take action and be a part of this journey to achieving a circular economy visit the Fashion CEO Agenda – Circular Systems.

 

REFERENCES

1 Global Fashion Agenda. (2021) Fashion CEO Agenda 2021.

2 Global Fashion Agenda. (2021) Fashion CEO Agenda 2021.

3 Global Fashion Agenda. (2020) Fashion On Climate.

Ahead of Earth Day, we wanted to highlight some small steps that you can take to be a little bit kinder to the planet.

Whilst a huge proportion of responsibility resides within organisations to carry out business more sustainably, citizens can use their purchasing power to send a strong signal to the industry.

It is empowering to know that we can all participate in the climate movement, but to do so sustainability itself must be sustainable – meaning that it is accessible, enjoyable and enriching. And it can be.

By changing our behaviours, we can show companies that the demand is shifting to more sustainable expectations.

Continue reading to see just some of the actions you can take today, and read our citizen’s guide to conscious consumption here.

 

Buy less

Take time to appreciate the clothes you already have and avoid impulse purchases based on the latest micro-trends.

Clothing consumption is set to rise 63% by 2030, (Greenpeace) but today we wear our items 40% less than 10 years ago. (Ellen MacArthur Foundation)

Buy better

When you do need to buy something new, look holistically at brands efforts towards both social and environmental sustainability. Every time you opt for one garment over another, you incentivise brands to continue with the practices behind the item.

Shop second-hand

Supporting a circular fashion system is a great way to be more responsible. You can find unique pieces on a budget in charity shops, vintage stores and on resale sites.

Take care and repair

Repairing clothing is crucial to extending the lifetime of the garments already in your wardrobe. If clothes stayed in active use for nine months longer (extending their average life to around three years), this would reduce their carbon, water and waste footprints by 20-30% (WRAP, Valuing Our Clothes: the cost of UK fashion (July 2017))

Rent your clothes

Have an occasion coming up that you want to dress up for? Renting not only saves money but allows people to indulge in trend-forward pieces without having to toss them aside after an event.

Use a washing machine filter

Scientists estimate that textiles produce 35% of the microplastic pollution in the world’s oceans. Use a filter when washing clothes to capture microfibres and prevent them.

Wash your clothes at a lower temperature

As well as keeping your clothes in better condition, by turning down your washing temperature to 30° you could use 60% less energy than if you wash it at 60°.