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May 31, 2019

Industry-wide push for EU circular policy change

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is to lead an industry-wide effort to kick-start a European policy framework that accelerates the circular economy in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) is to lead an industry-wide effort to kick-start a European policy framework that accelerates the circular economy in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry.

The new ‘Policy Hub for Circular Economy’ will collaborate on a range of initiatives and hopes to align stakeholders on the development of an impactful and effective policy framework.

The C&A Foundation will fund the project throughout the next year, while the SAC is joining forces with the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) to ensure collaboration among industry partners.

Circularity has become a key concern of businesses in the apparel sector, but according to SAC, companies face challenges in accelerating their efforts as “current policies in Europe do not provide enabling conditions.”

Instead, “the industry has been missing a joint approach to address the obstacles it currently faces to move towards circularity.”

“The transition towards a circular fashion economy is a big challenge,” says Douwe Jan Joustra, head of circular transformation at C&A Foundation.

“For governance, the innovation effort of the oncoming decade will be to promote prosperity in a world of finite resources. Coming up with solutions to this challenge leads to a competitive advantage for companies, economies and society. This is where governance can be an important ‘condition for change.’

“The Policy Hub can and will be an important partner for the industry and governments as well as the European Union.”

Pernilla Halldin from H&M Group’s global public affairs sustainability team, adds: “At H&M we see great opportunities in closing the loop of our business practices. We believe that only through collaboration across the apparel and footwear industry, and working with policy makers, will we be able to make a meaningful change.”

While SAC vice president, Baptiste Carrière-Pradal, notes: “To advance circular practices we first need an aligned approach across the apparel, footwear and textile sectors. Only then can we bring a credible and solid voice to the table.”

“We have already seen the voluntary commitment of the fashion industry to circular principles. Smart regulation will now be vital to support this progress and ensure the transition to a circular fashion system,” agrees Eva Kruse, president and CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda.

“By partnering with key industry organisations, we are excited to collaborate and bring a common industry voice to regulators.”

And for Jérôme Pero, FESI secretary general, “The ‘make, take, dispose’ days are over. Nowadays, companies need to develop and implement long-term sustainability strategies to meet the growing financial, political and consumer expectations.

“However, circularity comes with challenges that a single company – or even an entire industry sector – cannot face on its own. This is why, together with SAC and GFA, we expect this policy hub to be a pragmatic and ambitious cluster that can finally provide holistic policy responses to address the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Earlier this month several of the groups behind the ‘Policy Hub for Circular Economy’ also called on European Union policymakers to establish a circular fashion system, adding current tools to scale change are “inadequate.” Their concerns are set out in ‘A Manifesto To Deliver A Circular Economy In Textiles’: Industry groups target EU leaders with new Manifesto on Circularity

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