Scaling up the shift towards circular production in fashion and beyond

Session 1
Sep 12 '18 8:45am–Sep 12 '18, 10:05am GMT

Exploring ways to scale the adoption of new business models and fast-track innovation and collaboration at the circular production level - in the fashion industry and beyond.


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Sep 12 '18, 10:04am · Report
There are 2 types of circular economy ways: techological (basically recycling synthetic fabrics) and biological (natural biodegradable fabrics). I see quite a bit of funding going into the technical cycle, however, history shows that in 40 years we managed to recycle at best 14% of plastic products (in clothing the % is even smaller - less than 1%), so I am not optimistic the so much needed rapid development in this space is possible. Secondly, the shedding of plastic microfibers - even if we manage to catch them from entering water, how would we manage to capture them(&recycle/dispose safely) from landfills/soil and air. Already there are some research of detrimental respiratory health effects of inhaling plastic microfibers.
I don't think technical way is the way forward..we should get used to the idea of not using this cheap fossil fuel ingredients any more. In circular economy we are all inspired by nature, so let's work WITH IT (natural biodegradable ingredients), not against it
Karan Kumar
Sep 12 '18, 10:01am · Report
Thanks everyone! This was a great coversation :)
Tamara Zwart
Special Guest
Cradle to Cradle Products Innov…
Sep 12 '18, 10:00am · Report
Thanks everyone for this interesting and lively discussion
Ralph Thurm
Reporting 3.0
Sep 12 '18, 9:59am · Report
- A systemic Transformation Journey Program, building the necessary information infrastructure n disclosure accounting data architecture and 'integral' business model design would set the bass to assess and transition into regeneration and potently thriving. It may turn out that circular approaches are supportive, but it's not the end goal. We love to deepen the discussion with C&A Foundation.
Chris Coulter
Special Guest
Sep 12 '18, 9:59am · Report
Thanks Perrine and thanks to all the excellent contributions to this discussion. If you can, please join us now in the other session on stoking consumer demand for circular. The other half of the SDG 12 equation!
Sep 12 '18, 9:59am · Report
Fashion for Good, the answer lies in the word itself. The mindset needs to change that we need to be fashionable that is well dressed etc with the purpose of trying to control the effects of weather on our body as well as the required modesty. While the current mindset is tuned towards vanity. It is a cultural thing that needs to drive towards sustainable practice.
Nikolas Beutin
Special Guest
PwC Europe
Sep 12 '18, 9:58am · Report
Please remember all: we want to change human behavior, humans only change if the see advantages or have to (pressure) ...
Chris Coulter
Special Guest
Sep 12 '18, 10:01am · Report
so true and our next conversation starting right now is on this question. Must get at the messiness of human behaviour :)
Greg Campbell
Sep 12 '18, 9:58am · Report
Just to add that many good concepts and ideas for this industry around this subject are here… SRD’s Fashion and Textile Design / Responsible Apparel / Materials

Summary of Discussion

Question 6: How can an actor like C&A Foundation, and its Strategic Partner Fashion for Good, drive more positive change?

  • Drive prototyping/piloting program
  • Accelerate and scale existing initiatives
  • Longer term finance commitment
  • Raise consumer awareness and what's in it for them 
  • Initiate collaborations - bringing together brands, SMEs, manufacturers & others
  • Focus on a challenge for collaboration
  • Support for transparency/ information sharing
  • Government lobbying/advocating system change
  • Leverge corporate knowledge and connections

Question 5: 
Which actors in the fashion industry do we need to involve in this transition to circular? 

  • Everyone! Industry transformation needed
  • Coalitions - brands are essential in these
  • Larger brands and retailers - they can make it happen
  • Consumers - they need to be engaged and the fashion industry has huge communication power
  • governments - for the initial policy making and for infrastructure
  • NGOs and foundations - supporting disruptive ideas
  • Within companies, beyond sustainability teams - to make circular core to business with economic viability
  • Investors
  • Manufacturers
  • SMEs - to show how it can be done!


Question 4: What can we learn from other industries?

  • Partnerships and collaboration for problem solving (SDG17!) - pre-competitive space
  • Deposits for clothes... (cans/bottles)
  • Business case - built environment
  • Leading not waiting for consumers to respond (automotive, lighting)
  • Learning from individual pilots and new models e.g. printing industry
  • Maximising raw materials (metal industry) and going back to traditional methods
  • Many learnings from glass industry on producer responsibility (EPR schemes) / recycling
  • Putting consumer needs first (Airbnb/uber) 

Question 3: What changes are needed to overcome these barriers?

  • Bolder leadership
  • Disruption - new, innovative circular models from new entrants
  • Education and training of suppliers
  • Capacity
  • Proof of concept
  • Collaboration
  • Regulatory solutions and supporting policies
  • Price incentives
  • Massive investment!


Question 2: What are the barriers to adopting circular product design and / or manufacturing processes in the fashion industry?

  • Consumer behaviour and low demand from them – and willingness to pay more
  • Lack of commitment / motivation / willingness to change from business
  • Lack of openness and transparency across the supply chain
  • Problems with traceability of materials
  • Lack of funding for SMEs
  • Insufficient innovation
  • Lack of collaboration - and whole system re-structure needed
  • Lack of leadership

Q1 Fashion industry - leader or laggard on circular models?

Industry is a laggard – gap between the ‘walking and the talking’

  • Early stages in circularity – the industry is slow to respond
  • Design is moving faster than production
  • Slow on technology and it's still a throw away industy
  • But awareness is increasing and there are some initiatives
  • There’s a sense of optimism and momentum
  • Lots of potential for creativity and inspiration!


Meet our Special Guests

Diana Amini
Global Manager
H&M Foundation
Nikolas Beutin
Customer Practice Leader
PwC Europe
Giusy Cannone
Managing Director
Fashion Technology Accelera…
Chris Coulter
Charline Ducas
Global Circular Economy
Douwe Jan Joustra
Head of Circular Transforma…
C&A Foundation
Edwin Keh
Chief Executive Officer
The Hong Kong Research Inst…
Katrin Ley
Managing Director
Fashion for Good
Cyndi Rhoades
Founder CEO
Worn Again
Harsh Saini
Executive Vice President fo…
Li & Fung Limited
Tamara Zwart
Director of Textiles & …
Cradle to Cradle Products I…
Arthur Ten Wolde
Circular economy expert for…
Ecopreneur EU

Session Moderator

Perrine Bouhana
Associate Director, GlobeSc…
Paris, France


Diana Amini
One concrete example: Last week the H&M Foundation and …
Katrin Ley
Specifically related to disruptive innovation: To drive rea…
Cyndi Rhoades
‘Circular models for product design’ is a bit of an oxy…
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