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I want to encourage all of the stakeholders — brands and consumers — to work together to move the needle, as we look to mitigate fashion and textile waste impact over the next two decades.
On a Friday afternoon last November, the United States was shaken by the Fourth
(NCA). From wildfires in California to crop failure in the Midwest,
the report laid out the devastating impact climate change is having and will
continue to have on the United States. The key takeaway? They are expecting a
severe economic and humanitarian crisis to hit our world by 2040.
The NCA touched on important topics such as coal, energy, forestry,
oil and transportation, but another industry was completely left off the
list: Textile production and waste. While 2018 saw continued awareness and
education on the topic, we need to do more than just talk — we need feasible
to reduce textile waste and increase circularity in the industry.
Last year, I talked about how we are all stakeholders in the fashion
This year, I want to build on that and encourage all of the stakeholders —
brands and consumers — to work together to move the needle, as we look to
mitigate fashion and textile waste impact over the next two decades.
From the natural resources that are used to create our clothing to the number of
textiles that end up in landfills when they could be reused, the fashion
industry has become one of the world’s top polluters.
While the numbers are troublesome and there is more work to be done, 2018 was a
year of progress among brands. To do even more, together, it is vital we
capitalize on a circular
— a common thread between brands and consumers. At the core of a circular
economy is a model that’s focused on durability, reusability and renewability.
Here are a few ways we can level up our efforts:
Influencers in the reuse space need to work together to shift consumer mindsets.
At Savers®, we do this by encouraging people to embrace circular behaviors
such as buying used instead of
and giving their unwanted items a new home, rather than throwing them in the
trash. We must take advantage of the most sustainable items — the ones that
For the consumer, positive impact means taking an active role in supporting the
brands that are working to make a meaningful difference today. The more
consumers reward brands that put an emphasis on circular business practices, the
more brands will want to do the right thing. After all, consumers are a
brand’s single driving force.
In its sustainability trend report, J. Walter Thompson
shared that 90 percent of consumers believe brands have a responsibility to take
care of the planet and its people. This means companies are expected to employ
their resources and innovate together to develop the technology necessary to
make recycled and regenerated fibers a real possibility. Improving society and
doing well go hand in hand, and brands don’t have to sacrifice one for the
other. A collective breakthrough would not only transform the sustainability of
the entire industry, it could also be the single greatest environmental impact
of a generation.
Looking ahead, I’m optimistic that with a greater commitment, we can achieve the
change needed to help improve the conditions of our planet before 2040.
I’m encouraging an open dialogue between brands and consumers to discuss each
other’s challenges, goals and advances. I hope 2019 finds us exploring, learning
and innovating together as we work toward circularity.
Our future depends on it.
Published Mar 4, 2019 7pm EST / 4pm PST / 12am GMT / 1am CET
Tony Shumpert is VP of Recycling and Reuse at Savers.
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.