The findings of Kearney‘s 2023 CFX report underline the urgent need for greater environmental responsibility within the fashion industry. The report, now in its third edition is described as an objective benchmarking tool for fashion companies to assess their sustainability practices and identify areas for improvement.

Despite the Fashion Pact initiative launched in 2019, Kearney says the industry still lags behind in its sustainability efforts, with the average CFX score for the 200 global brands analysed stagnating below three (2.97) on a circularity scale going up to 10.

“Consistent with our 2022 results, brands are not extensively activating any of the seven circularity levers; rather, all are operating in the 2% to 6% range. Beyond this, they are failing to educate consumers not only about the importance of sustainability, but about actions such as recycling, upcycling, and renting apparel,” explained report co-author and Kearney partner Brian Ehrig.

He added: “More than a third of consumers remain unaware of these options. There is so much more to do, and brands can be upping their game.”

The report also highlights the lack of consumer knowledge surrounding sustainable fashion choices based on a recent survey of American, French, and Italian consumers conducted by the Kearney Consumer Institute (KCI).

The top 10 performers in the 2023 CFX index remained the same as last year with the exception of one new entrant – Madewell.

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By GlobalData

Top 10 fashion brands in the Kearney 2023 CFX Circular Fashion Index

  1. Patagonia
  2. Levi’s
  3. The North Face
  4. OVS
  5. Gucci
  6. Madewell
  7. Coach
  8. Esprit
  9. Lululemon Athletica
  10. Lindex

However, Dario Minutell, co-author and Kearney principal expressed his concern about the industry’s stagnation in sustainability efforts overall.

He said: “Brands are still showing low scores across geographies and market segments. Only 19 of the 200 global brands we looked at scored above five out of 10, and only the top three scored above seven in any area. This year’s CFX shows that concrete action is required to close the gap and move the industry toward greater sustainability and circularity.”

Last year 150 global brands were assessed from 20 countries, over six categories, including luxury, premium and affordable luxury, mass market, fast fashion, sports, outdoor lingerie and underwear with Patagonia, The North Face and Levi Strauss & Co., topping the list of the most circular fashion brands.