“Scaling up circularity and sustainable consumption and production is essential to address the three planetary crises we are facing," the report states

“Scaling up circularity and sustainable consumption and production is essential to address the three planetary crises we are facing," the report states

A series of action agendas have launched to answer the questions of how governments, civil societies, and businesses can adopt a circular economy and ensure a just transition.

Led by the World Economic Forum's PACE (Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy), the Circular Economy Action Agenda aims to promote the transition towards a circular economy. Textiles is one of five publications, in addition to electronics, plastics, food, and capital equipment.

The Agenda sets out three objectives for the industry formulated based on converging visions of a circular economy for textiles: inputs for textiles are safe and recycled or renewable; textiles are kept in use for longer; and textiles are recyclable and recycled at end-of-use.

"Scaling up circularity and sustainable consumption and production is essential to address the three planetary crises we are facing: the climate crisis, the biodiversity and nature crisis, and pollution and waste crisis," says Inger Andersen, executive director of the UN Environment Programme. "The calls-to-action should inspire and redirect the efforts of government, business and finance, and consumers, because at the end of the day, each and every one of us has the power and responsibility to contribute to the transition."

The Action Agenda is the result of collective efforts by working groups made up of representatives from business, government, civil society, finance, and research organizations, collaborating throughout 2020. In total, more than 200 experts from over 100 organisations have contributed via over 80 phone interviews, more than 20 group discussions and substantial written inputs.

The reports integrate all insights, balance different viewpoints, and identify where further alignment is needed.

"We believe that this diversity of viewpoints is crucial for designing and realising a better transition," the report notes.

The agenda sets out ten calls-to-action for stakeholders:

  1. Incentivise and support design for longevity and recyclability
  2. Produce virgin natural fibres sustainably, including land use
  3. Encourage the market to use less clothing, and for longer
  4. Guide and support new business models for environmental, financial, and social triple-win
  5. Where used textiles trade occurs, ensure environmental and socio-economic benefits
  6. Strategically plan collection, sorting, and recycling operations
  7. Increase efficiency and quality in textiles sorting
  8. Make recycled fibres market competitive
  9. Integrate and advance decent work in the transition to a circular economy for textiles
  10. Investigate the socio-economic impacts of a circular economy for textiles

"The transition path to a circular economy is challenged by barriers, many beyond the control of any individual stakeholder," the report notes. "Governments, businesses, civil society, finance institutions, research organisations—let's team up to take actions to move the needle.

"Each of us has a role to play in the calls-to-action, and there are specific actions that we can already take up today. Many leaders across the PACE community and beyond are already taking action. Let's take ownership and do what we can to drive the change. The PACE Secretariat looks forward to hearing from and working with you, to map progress, co-create actions, build new partnerships, demonstrate best practices, share learnings, and drive new commitments throughout the year and beyond to drive textiles system change at scale."

Click here to view the full report.