Circular Economy toolkit- A guide to Circular Fashion

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The webinar was held on 7th April by Mr. Pranav Khanna (Business & Creative Head, Frajorden.com). He spoke on the topic of Circular Economy. Basically, circular economy refers to using the available resources to full extent and aims at eliminating waste. Today sustainability is being given a prime importance as consumers and manufactures have realised its importance and demand. The model which was being followed through ages was to produce product that did not have long term utility and thus was not sustainable causing harm to the environment. As being aware seller as well as buyer, producing product having the cause of “reduce,reuse,recycle” is given utmost importance. Thus, the concept of circular economy claims to be saviour in this scenario. Mr. Khanna gave an example that when a company produce a product, its leftovers are assumed to be having no use and being discarded. But company like doodlage use these materials and create something new coming up with the idea of “Turning the leftover fabric into stunning fashion

The circular economy toolkit includes the following concrete toolkit

  • Educational Resources

This toolkit is a carefully curated set of resources that enables you and guide you to look at circular economy with a fashion lens. Circular economy has its own language and to understand that you need to be educated.

Who coined the term circular economy?

The concept ‘circular fashion’ was first coined and used in spring 2014 by two actors, almost simultaneously and independently of each other. One of these was Anna Brismar, owner of the consultancy firm Green Strategy. Another actor that was also first to use the term circular fashion was H&M, specifically its sustainability staff at the H&M’s headquarters in Stockholm. H&M used the term internally for the first time in spring 2014.

Source (https://www.greenstrategy.se/circular-fashion-definition/)

What is circular fashion’circular economy?

Key Takeaways

  • Use mono materials where possible and ensure that products made from multiple materials can be easily disassembled to aid product recyclability.
  • Assess what substances and materials of concern are used in production that cause pollution and/or prevent recycling then work with suppliers to remove them.
  • Consider how other waste in the supply chain from garment off cuts to packaging can be captured then reused or recycled through internal processes or working with partner organisations.
  • Keep garments in use and reuse as long as possible through developing or participating in collection schemes and supporting the development of technologies to recycle used textiles back to ‘good as new’ raw materials.

Source (https://www.commonobjective.co/article/what-is-circular-fashion)

Why we need circular economy/circular fashion?

Fortunately, businesses are increasingly recognizing the value of going circular – a global growth opportunity valued by Accenture at $4.5 trillion over the next decade. CEOs are receiving detailed shareholder questions regarding their circular strategies, specialized private investment funds are being launched dedicated to circular companies, and public-private partnerships are being established to catalyse circular government and private-sector strategies.

 

We urgently need to translate this awareness into action. The latest Circularity Gap report from Circle Economy reveals that, faced with the twin headwinds of increased CO2 emissions and increased resource extraction, the global economy is only 8.6% circular. Just two years ago it was 9.1%. The global circularity gap is therefore widening. This is a major concern because of the pressure that natural resource extraction could exert on biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse, large-scale involuntary migration and failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation, as detailed in the latest World Economic Forum Global Risks Report.

 

With less than 10 years to prevent global warming from exceeding 1.5˚C and only 10 years to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is critical to bring together leaders across industry, government and civil society to shift the global economy more aggressively toward circularity. The Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy (PACE) has grown quickly and has emerged as an important action hub and engine for change. With more than 70 leaders and 20 communities from across the public and private sectors, PACE has become the place to ensure that good words turn into positive actions at scale.

Source ( https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/the-world-needs-a-circular-economy-lets-make-it-happen/)

  • Case studies

From there you want to see how others are doing this to leverage their business.

Traceability Transparency and the promise of circularity  

Organic cotton is a key fibre in the sustainability strategies of fashion brands worldwide. It promotes healthy soils, healthy ecosystems, healthy people, and thriving farming communities. It relies on ecological processes and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse environmental effects, such as synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, or genetically modified (GM) seeds. Consequently, organic cotton sets itself apart as the sustainable staple for the fashion and textiles sector and as an alternative to conventional cotton production, which involves some of the highest use of pesticides and incurs a heavy water footprint. Organic cotton offers a lower ecological impact and by reducing exposure to insecticides, pesticides and other chemicals, improves biodiversity and benefits the health and safety of farmers and their communities. The protection and growth of organic cotton farming is therefore a critical step in turning around the negative externalities of conventional cotton.

Source (https://fashionforgood.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Fashion-for-Good-Organic-Cotton-Traceability-Pilot-Report.pdf)

Closed loop

Overview

The Need – Less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing. As a result, one truckful of clothes is disposed of in landfill every second, representing an annual material loss of USD 100 billion, as well as significant negative environmental impacts associated with virgin material production.

The Solution – Teemill have developed a circular production process that turns old t-shirts into new ones and regenerates natural systems. Their approach starts by viewing the fashion supply chain as a connected system, then applies circular design principles and new technology across the product life cycle.

What makes it particularly smart – By opening up access to its circular supply chain platform, Teemill has allowed tens of thousands of brands to produce t-shirts in real time after they’re ordered, all designed to be sent back and remade when they’re worn out.

Benefits: The Teemill supply chain increases material utilisation, reduces chemical and water inputs and emissions, and shares the benefits with customers and other businesses. It removes barriers to entry in the fashion industry and means anyone with an internet connection can participate and co-create the future of fashion. New brands get the same systems as a mature brand for free, without surplus production.

Source (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/case-studies/an-open-access-circular-supply-chain-for-fashion)

Business model supporting circular fashion

For business models that favour ‘access over ownership’, something that is often called into question is whether customers will be prepared to wear someone else’s clothes, sleep in someone else’s bed, or lend a stranger their car. What about the stories that users don’t add to the history of their jacket? The comparison Reimer uses is one we’re all familiar with, reminding that “when you go to a hotel – you know the bed has been slept in before. Using stuff that others have used is not new!” Sure enough, with paying for performance, as opposed to ownership, taking off in a number of industries, there does seem to be a new type of citizen that’s open to this type of business model.

Getting access to funding can be make or break for a new startup, and those behind Better World Fashion have come up against an unlikely roadblock. In Reimer’s view, too many funding programmes today show a preference towards new developments in technology such as the Internet of Things. Because his company focuses on business model innovation, there’s a misplaced perception that it doesn’t display enough of an innovation leap. This is a shame, as the model actually shows an understanding of materials, manufacturing and business strategy that is at the cutting edge of our understanding of the world in 2016: one of volatile prices, supply risks, environmental constraints, and beginning to chart a course for a circular economy.

Source (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/case-studies/a-model-for-fast-fashion-that-lasts)

  • How to Measure circular economy

You need to set a base line which will enable you to measure your progress as you bring circularity into your business.

Calcilytics- how to measure circularity

Circulytics supports a company’s transition towards the circular economy, regardless of industry, complexity, and size. Going beyond assessing products and material flows, this company-level measuring tool reveals the extent to which a company has achieved circularity across its entire operations. It does this by using the widest set of indicators currently available: enablers and outcomes. Circulytics:

  • Measures a company’s entire circularity, not just products and material flows
  • Supports decision making and strategic development for circular economy adoption
  • Demonstrates strengths and highlights the areas for improvement
  • Provides optional transparency to investors and customers about a company’s circular economy adoption
  • Delivers unprecedented clarity about circular economy performance, opening up new opportunities to generate brand value with key stakeholders

Source (https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/resources/apply/circulytics-measuring-circularity)

Cradle to cradle innovation institute

Global reporting initiative

UL environment

World business council for sustainable development

Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute — Set to launch later this year, the fourth version of the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard will feature an updated Product Circularity category, focused on sourcing, design and systems.

Global Reporting Initiative (PDF) — Launching its updated standard in Q1 of this year, GRI will be the first global standard that includes principles of circularity into waste disclosures, shifting the framing from an unwanted burden to a holistically managed material.

UL Environment — Companies can pursue certification of UL 3600, which measures and reports on the circularity of products, facilities and organizations.

U.S. Green Building Council — In late 2019, USGBC launched a circular economy pilot credit in its LEED rating system, which includes considerations of supply chain circularity, zero waste manufacturing, circular design and closed-loop systems.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development — Set to launch next week at the World Economic Forum, Circular Transition Indicators provides a framework to assess a company’s circularity, and quantify the value of shifting towards more circular approaches.

Each tool grounds a circular economy’s promise in data, breaking intentions and aspirations into the calculable, trackable and comparable bite-sized pieces that make up this new economic model.

At all levels — systems, business and product — the development of specific and actionable metrics is a key accelerator for circularity at scale. Of course, the operative word is actionable. Quantifying circularity proves valuable only to the extent that they align with planetary boundaries and science-based climate targets.

Source https://www.greenbiz.com/article/trying-measure-circularity-here-are-some-tools-consider 

  • Circular business model canvas

Once your base is set, where you are in this paradigm then you will need to translate your business into circularity model for which circular business model canvas will help to do that translation. Also, to share it within your team so that all speak same language and work together.

  • Events

Before implementing it into your business you want to know what’s happening around you. To talk with peers and understand what is really happening across the industry.

https://www.gartexindia.com/

  • India Specific Organization

List of Certain India specific organization is provided because as these organization work with the government to implement standards around the circular economy to see where this industry is moving towards to leverage those areas.

  • Industry leaders

To be updated with latest innovation proceeded by Industry leaders, you get the opportunity to collaborate with them.

  • Educational videos

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/

  • Books

https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications

https://www.circulareconomyclub.com/listings/books/

  • Online courses

Coursera , edx

One of the advantage of this toolkit is that its self paced, you can share it with team members you could even built it as a template as you build circularity through your business.

Circular economy toolkit next steps

  1. Start with your customers- Existing and potential
  2. Study your supply chain for existing capabilities
  3. Conduct an internal workshop on Circular fashion
  4. Do a PEST analysis to understand the micro drivers for Circular Economy
  5. Measure Circularity in your business
  6. Identify focus areas which are aligned to the network
  7. Create your Circular Business models to capture information, material, and process flows
  8. Implement tools and processes to drive Circularity in your business
  9. Audit
  10. Communicate