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Big fashion brands back Bangladesh recycling scheme

By Tess Stenzel

12 Feb 2021

Over 30 fashion brands and manufacturers have joined a new initiative to collaborate on cutting down textile waste and reusing materials to create new products in Bangladesh’s garments factories.

The Circular Fashion Partnership announced this week that it is bringing brands such as H&M, OVS, Marks & Spencer, Berska, Pull & Bear, C&A, Kmart Australia, and Bangladeshi recycling firms and garment manufacturers on board the movement.

“The movement aims to achieve a long-term, scalable transition to a circular fashion system,” stated Global Fashion Agenda in a press release. “The partnership facilitates circular commercial collaborations between major fashion brands, textile and garment manufacturers, and recyclers to develop and implement new systems to capture and direct post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products.”

The partnership seeks to find solutions for the Covid-19 related pile-up of deadstock and excess inventory while finding suitable long-term solutions for Bangladesh’s economy and protecting those who work in garment factories.

Cutting greenhouse emissions

According to 2020 research by McKinsey & Company, the fashion industry produces 4 percent of global climate-warming emissions, while The U.N. environment program in 2019 put the fashion industry’s share of global carbon emissions at 10 percent.

Bangladesh is the world’s second-largest producer of clothes. Its economy depends heavily on the garment industry but lacks the necessary resources to move to a more circular fashion business model.

“The initiative will focus on Bangladesh as it arguably possesses the most recyclable waste of any garment producing country by facilitating a decrease in textile waste and increase the use of recycled fibers, distributing value throughout the fashion value cycle, and generating economic benefits in Bangladesh by accelerating the fiber recycling market,” Global Fashion Agenda added.

What is a circular fashion system?

A circular fashion system keeps materials in the fashion value cycle by recycling and reusing waste textiles to create new products from leftover materials that would otherwise be discarded.

Morten Lehmann, CSO of Global Fashion Agenda, added: “To establish a circular fashion system we need to reimagine the production process so that it appreciates the value of textile waste. It is encouraging to see so many prestigious companies sign up to the Circular Fashion Partnership and, with their help, I am confident that we can demonstrate a strong business model for circularity that can be mirrored by others in the future.”

photos: global fashion agenda