Clothes are an everyday necessity, and for many an important expression of individuality. Yet the industry’s current wasteful take-make-dispose model is the root cause of many environmental impacts and substantial economic value loss. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. An estimated USD 500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing that’s barely worn and rarely recycled. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. As well as being wasteful, the industry is polluting: clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. Microfibres are impossible to clean up and can enter food chains.
‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’ presents a positive new vision for a system that works, and summons the creative power of the fashion industry to build it. In a new textiles economy clothes would be designed to last longer, be worn more and be easily rented or resold and recycled, and would not release toxins or pollution. Exploring new materials, pioneering business models, harnessing the power of design, and finding ways to scale better technologies and solutions are all needed to create a new textiles economy.
“Today’s textile industry is built on an outdated linear, take-make-dispose model and is hugely wasteful and polluting. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report ‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’ presents an ambitious vision of a new system, based on circular economy principles, that offers benefits to the economy, society, and the environment. We need the whole industry to rally behind it.” – Ellen MacArthur, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Creating a new textiles economy sets a new level of ambition for the fashion industry, and will require an unprecedented scale and depth of collaboration. Industry leaders including Core Partners H&M, Lenzing, and NIKE Inc., and Philanthropic Funder C&A Foundation endorse the new vision and report, and over 40 influential fashion brands, leading businesses, NGOs, public bodies, experts and the Foundation’s Knowledge Partner McKinsey & Company have contributed to creating it. Now the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is calling on the entire industry to rally behind this new vision and to launch a new wave of cross-industry collaboration and innovation to achieve it.
“What really excites me about ‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’ is that it provides solutions to an industry that is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment. The report presents a roadmap for us to create better businesses and a better environment. It opens up the conversation that will allow us to find a way to work together to better our industry, for the future of fashion and for the future of the planet.” – Stella McCartney
By presenting a clear understanding of the challenges faced and the economic opportunities, as well as practical levers for business, innovation and policy action, the New Textiles Economy report is a vital step in an industry-led approach to develop a global textiles system fit for the 21st Century.