Clothing sector on course to meet green targets

09 Nov '15
3 min read

In just two years retailers, brands and organisations from across the clothing supply chain have reduced water impacts by a significant 12.5 per cent per tonne of clothing, against a 15 per cent reduction target by 2020. They are also making encouraging progress to cut carbon impacts, having achieved a 3.5 per cent reduction per tonne of clothing against a 15 per cent reduction target, according to a press release by WRAP, a British charity that advocates sustainable use of resources.

This progress against targets, which was announced today at WRAP's annual conference, has been achieved through the collective action of 82 signatories and supporters of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan's (SCAP) sector commitment - SCAP 2020, which is led by WRAP, the UK's resource efficiency experts.

SCAP 2020 launched in 2013 when WRAP identified for the first time key action areas that could deliver the biggest reductions in the environmental impact of clothing, including: using lower impact fibres; extending the active life of clothes; and increasing re-use and recycling.

Two years on and the sector is really embracing the drive for more sustainable practices and making positive changes to the way it designs and manufactures products. For example, there's a move towards more sustainable fibre choices where recycled material is being chosen over virgin options, particularly for polyester. Similarly for cotton, the industry is moving away from conventional cotton to lower impact cottons like those accredited by the Better Cotton Initiative. Moves like these are contributing to the overall reduction of impact on water.

The level of waste arising has remained stable so far and requires SCAP signatories to work closely with their supply chain. In addition, WRAP is working with industry to reduce waste to landfill by 15 per cent, and progress against this target is being assessed and will be reported on next year.

WRAP's Director Marcus Gover said, “SCAP signatories have made great progress against the targets to date, particularly water. This is a positive indication of what can be achieved and we must capitalise on the momentum we've built. We will be working with the sector to ensure focus is maintained on priority areas. And whilst waste arisings haven't been reduced, they have remained stable and we are encouraging concentrated efforts in this area.”

SCAP continues to attract support and just this week clothing brand George (at Asda) signed up to the commitment, meaning that the signatories now represent over 50 per cent of the UK retail market by sales, volume and value.

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