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WRAP’s New Circularity Plan Takes Aim at Climate Change

Though the year 2020 marks the end of one sustainability initiative, the move to a more environmentally friendly fashion industry is far from over.

On Tuesday, U.K.-based sustainability non-profit Waste & Resources Action Program (WRAP) announced the Textiles 2030 initiative, a 10-year voluntary program that aims to transform U.K. clothing and textile businesses and reduce their impact on climate change.

With a focus on circularity, the program centers on a Target-Measure-Act approach, which as the name implies requires clothing and textile businesses to make clear goals, measure their impacts and track their progress through public reporting.

Goals of Textiles 2030 includes reducing the sector’s carbon emissions by 40 percent and water usage by 30 percent. It also aims to deliver a textiles roadmap for the U.K., all while keeping on track with wider sector targets under the BRC Climate Action Roadmap, the Paris Agreement and the UN Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action.

And though the program won’t officially launch until April, it has already garnered the support of many U.K.-based organizations such as The British Fashion Council, Institute of Positive Fashion, John Lewis & Partners, Next, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker, Textiles Recycling Association, Tesco and more.

These efforts specifically aim to fill in the gaps from Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 (SCAP 2020), which WRAP launched in 2012 to cut carbon, water and waste by changing the way the industry designed products and incorporating re-use and recycling measures. The agreement encompassed 140 members across the industry, including brands and retailers such as Asos, Arcadia Group, Marks & Spencer, Next and Primark.

While the program exceeded its carbon and water targets by 16 and 20 percent, respectively, it fell short of its waste goals. By the end of 2019, the program recorded a  negative 2.3 percent reduction in waste per ton of garments against a negative 3.5 percent target. The issue of waste, however, may be easier to tackle now that post-pandemic consumers are growing more aware of their impact on the environment. WRAP data found that consumers are now taking the issue more seriously, with 63 percent considering aesthetics and durability the top factors in their purchasing decisions.

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This data makes some hopeful that the new program will be a success.

“The climate emergency is intensifying, and our resources are limited,” said Marcus Gover, WRAP’s chief executive. “We need fast, effective action more than ever. Our research shows that people understand this, and want sustainable clothes [rather than] disposable fashion. Textiles 2030 is about transforming textiles, and taking up where SCAP 2020 left off—creating a fashion sector fit for the future.”

In addition to these efforts, WRAP is also working with partners on a global initiative it calls the Circular Clothing Action Plan. Developed in partnership with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and supported by the Laudes Foundation, the program aims to achieve global circular economy targets that will be adopted by nations around the world.