Oct 1, 2020
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BFC launches first project under IPF eco banner

Oct 1, 2020

The British Fashion Council has unveiled the first project from its Institute of Positive Fashion (IPF), the formation of which it originally announced back in June. The new flagship research drive is called the Waste Ecosystem Project.

The BFC's new project is aiming to identify practical actions to boost fashion's circularity

It’s intended to “lead to a focused action-driven plan, detailing solutions for how the fashion industry can responsibly manage inventory, reduce, and move to circular business operations”. 

As the industry and its ultimate targets, consumers, become increasingly eco-focused, the research will come up with ideas and seek to turn them into concrete actions.

Words such as sustainability and circularity were increasingly being used by fashion brands pre-pandemic, but the coronavirus crisis has heightened awareness of fashion’s more wasteful and damaging features still further and has seen a shift in consumer expectations of how the industry should behave in this area.

The BFC said it wants the project to “fast-track the move to a circular fashion industry in the UK and act as a blueprint to share with other organisations and nations to look at their efforts in creating a circular fashion industry globally”.

It comes as evidence shows the fashion industry accounts for 4% of all global carbon emissions and that radical action is needed to avoid the global textiles industry being accountable for a quarter of the world’s carbon budget by 2050. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has previously said that around 11 million items of clothing go into landfill each year.

This year’s pandemic potentially added to the waste problem with research undertaken for the BFC by Oxford Economics showing that the crisis saw 73% of British fashion brands experiencing cancelled orders from wholesale partners and UK clothes sales falling by 34% in March alone, resulting in an unprecedented inventory crisis.

It all means there’s a need to “be more agile, design out waste and optimise inventory levels”. The new project should help meet that need.

The BFC said that “focusing on collaboration and the creation of a circular fashion industry in the UK, the Waste Ecosystem Project will work with industry, academia, and government” across three areas.

It will look at best practice globally to help the UK fashion industry to become circular. It will set out guidelines and a roadmap for change. And it will work with businesses and government to see how ideas can be put into practice.

The announcement late on Thursday also came with the news that Reckitt Benckiser’s Vanish cleaning brand will support the research, will establish a year-long consumer education programme to embed more sustainable fashion behaviours, and will also sponsor London Fashion Week.

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