Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Circular Fashion Partnership?
The Circular Fashion Partnership is a cross-sectorial project led byGlobal Fashion Agenda, with partners Reverse Resources, BGMEA and P4G, that aims to achieve a long-term, scalable transition to a circular fashion system.The partnership facilitates circular commercial collaborations between major fashion brands, textileand garment manufacturers, and recyclers to develop and implement new systems to capture and direct post-production fashion waste back into the production of new fashion products. In addition, the partnership seeks to find solutions for the COVID-19 related pile-up of deadstock and to engage regulators and investors around the current barriers and economic opportunities in the country.Through collaboration among the participants, the partnership aims to build a successful business model for adopting more circular processes. It plans to facilitate a decrease in textile waste and increase the use of recycled fibres, distributing value throughout the fashion value cycle and generating economic benefits in Bangladesh by accelerating the fibrerecycling market.
What is a Circular Fashion System?
A Circular Fashion System keeps materials in the fashion value cycle by enabling the recycling and reuse of ‘waste’ textiles at scale. This system must replace the traditionally linear model of ‘take, make, dispose’ for a thriving industry that brings prosperity to people and restores our planet.
What is the approach?
The partnership consists out of two workstreams and participants choose to work on either or both.
Workstream one: Circular Fashion Waste Business Model
Scaling up the circular production of new garments made from post-production waste streams such as textile scraps in Bangladesh.
– Stage 1: Traceability and recapturing of waste streams
Manufacturers in Bangladesh work together with partner brands and with support of Reverse Resources to set up segregation of waste cuttings within their facility. Manufacturers sell contamination-free, higher-value waste at a premium price through a streamlined handling process. The waste streams are matched with a recycling solution, offering a ‘one-stop-solution’ with traceability to all involved parties.
– Stage 2: Circulating waste back into the value chain
After the waste streams are rerouted to recycling solutions, project participants will evaluate the opportunity to circulate these waste streams back into production. The material price will be moderate (not exceeding virgin), fully traceable and at the highest achievable quality. Product samples can be developed, and testing performed as per brand participants requirements.
Workstream Two: Circular Fashion Stock Marketplace
– Co-create and implement a Circular Fashion Stock Marketplace solution for deadstock fabrics piled up as a result of COVID-19 in Bangladesh.
Who are the partners?
Global Fashion Agenda leads the Circular Fashion Partnership in collaboration with Reverse Resources and BGMEA and P4G; Cyclo is an affiliate partner.
What are the deliverables?
The business model and project learnings will be presented at the end of 2021 in a ‘Circularity Playbook for Bangladesh’ when the first term of the partnership concludes. This playbook is intended for replication by industry actors and stakeholders within Bangladesh and in other production countries, such as Vietnam and Indonesia. The systems and partnerships developed in 2020/2021 as part of the Circular Fashion Partnership in Bangladesh are intended to continue and scale beyond the project.
Who are the participants?
As of February 2021, the participants are:
Brands: Bershka, Bestseller, C&A, Gina Tricot, Grey State, H&M Group, Kmart Australia, Marks & Spencer, OVS, Pull & Bear, Peak Performance and Target Australia
Manufacturers: Amantex, Asrotex Group, Auko-tex Group, Aurum Sweaters, Beximco, Bitopi Group (Tarasima), Composite Knitting Industry Ltd., Crystal International Group Limited, Echotex, , Fakir Knitwear, GSM, J.M. Fabrics, Knit Asia, MAS Intimates, Ratul Group (Knitwear & Fabric), Salek Textiles, S. B Knite Composite (Sankura Dyeing and Garments) and the Northern Group
Recyclers: Birla Cellulose, BlockTexx, Cyclo, Infinited Fiber Company, Malek Spinning Mills, Marchi & Fildi Spa, Lenzing AG, Recovertex, Renewcell, Saraz Fibre Tech, Usha Yarns Limited and Worn Again Technologies
How can organisations join the partnership?
All brands and manufacturers working in Bangladesh & global recycling solutions are eligible to join the Circular Fashion Partnership. There is no cost for participation, but participants are required to contribute moreover their team’s time and expertise and to collaborate.
E-mail email@example.com to request a Brand / Manufacturer or Recycler Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the activities, roles & responsibilities.
Additionally, GFA is engaging stakeholders in Bangladesh, policy makers and investors. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to express interest and learn more.
What are the benefits?
Benefits for manufacturers:
– Increased earnings of segregated textile waste. Discover the fair market value of textile production waste (cutting clips/ offcuts or yarn waste).
– Learn how much waste could be traced to reuse or recycling to demonstrate circularity to buyers.
– Potential to use traced waste for Higg Index reporting and marketing purposes. Option to purchase quarterly circularity report from Reverse Resources.
– Explore the possibility of reintroducing waste from production to recycled yarns and fabrics, creating an opportunity to offer a circular service to brand customers.
– Establish strategic positioning as leading & proactive manufacturer in the eyes of brands.
– Benefit from press coverage and promotion of manufacturers working within the Circular Fashion Partnership to brands and wider fashion industry.
– Gain insights into business opportunities and networking opportunities for establishing recycling capacity within Bangladesh.
Benefits for brands:
– Improve the recycling market (price, quality, access, capacity, transparency) for production waste generated in the garment factories in Bangladesh.
– Decrease post-production textile waste.
– Discover new opportunities for sourcing high-end recycled materials and move toward their internal goals of circularity.
– On the ground circularity collaboration with manufacturing partners in sourcing country.
– Traceability and infrastructures to scale circular supply chains.
– Potential for consumer-facing traceability of recycled material content.
– Collaboration with other brands and industry engagement of policy and investor communities.
– Potential to build business resilience against issues demonstrated by COVID-19 crisis.
Benefits for recyclers:
– Buying pre-segregated textile waste sourced directly from the manufacturer to enable greater feedstock control, reduce contamination and increase quality.
– Sourcing traceable waste with full background data, to improve their internal processes and sales, whilst enabling brands and manufacturers to demonstrate circularity.
– Exploring the possibility to work with manufacturers and brands to reintroduce recycled yarns made from their production waste back into new products. Creating an opportunity to offer a circular service to brands and other customers.
– Establishing or growing existing recycling capacity and the valorisation of textile waste within Bangladesh. Exploring the opportunities of how such a cross sectorial project can support such business activities.
How does the project address environmental sustainability?
By establishing circular systems in Bangladesh, the project aims to facilitate a decrease in textile waste and increase the use of recycled fibres. Transitioning from virgin to recycled materials reduces the demand of raw materials, CO2 emissions, water consumption, water pollution, land and fertiliser use, and eutrophication related to the production of textiles.
How does the project address human rights, social and labour conditions?
Although the project does not specifically address human rights, social responsibility and labour conditions, it does address systemic change in the fashion industry. Our aim is to identify an inclusive infrastructure for circular fashion in Bangladesh with a business model that distributes value across the different actors and that can offer industry resilience for the future.
The fashion industry has to decouple value from growth to drastically reduce its use of natural resources and GHG emissions. This transition could negatively impact a production country such as Bangladesh that is dependent on the (current system of the) fashion industry for over 11% of its GDP. A new circular system therefore must be developed in close collaboration with all actors and stakeholders, with understanding and mitigation of the potential disruption a new system can cause, for instance for jobs and the informal sector. Upholding standards for the respect of universal human rights for all people employed along the value chain, social responsibility and fair labour conditions are integral to a new fashion system that can thrive while generating prosperity for people and communities and restoring our planet.
Through the collaborative nature of the project, we aim to address issues and integrate solutions at a foundational level. The partnership facilitates collaborations between brands, manufacturers and recyclers and engages stakeholders such as regulators and investors around the current barriers and economic opportunities.
All brand participants subscribe to at least one of the following international frameworks for responsible business conduct:
– UN Global Compact
– UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
– OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises
– ILO decent work agenda
– UN Global Compact
How does the project address the issues arising in the apparel industry in Bangladesh as a consequence of COVID-19?
The consequences of COVID19 highlighted the many systemic failures of the fashion industry. Within the Circular Fashion Partnership, we are seeking long-term solutions for a thriving industry that brings prosperity to people and communities and restores our planet.
Our aim is to build an inclusive infrastructure for circular fashion in Bangladesh with a business model that distributes value across the different actors and that can offer industry resilience for the future. Post-production waste is a low hanging fruit to support the emerging recycling industry in Bangladesh and there’s a significant economic opportunity to start closing the loop at scale.
During the first wave of COVID-19 there was a sizeable overstock and deadstock pile-up in Bangladesh and other production countries. This could happen again if supply chains are disrupted due to further COVID-19 restrictions or for instance consequences of the climate crisis. A long-term and structural solution for inventory / deadstock management, such as real-time inventory systems and online marketplaces, are examples of solutions we are testing scenarios within the partnership.
The initiative is focussing on Bangladesh as it arguably possesses the most in-demand and recyclable waste of any garment producing country, but the majority of its waste is currently being exported. There is a substantial opportunity to make Bangladesh a leader in circularity by scaling the recycling capacity in the country and generating more value from these waste streams.
Exporting of textile waste from Bangladesh (in most cases to India for downcycling) and lack of high-level recycling capacity means a massive resource loss for the country currently. On the same extent it also represents a huge opportunity to demonstrate how waste could be redirected at scale to higher value chains and the country’s total GDP growth could be linked with regenerated revenues from the same resources by closing the loop for the fashion industry. If the same $71 million revenue from selling waste to other countries could be increased by 10-30 times through selling recycled fabrics to global fashion brands, it could become a massive positive success-story for circular economy. This could again be replicated to other major garment and footwear manufacturing countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia.