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At Copenhagen Fashion Summit 2017, Global Fashion Agenda called on the fashion industry to take action on circularity by signing a commitment as a concrete way to turn words into action. The aim was to increase the number of fashion brands and retailers taking action on circularity in order to accelerate the industry’s transition to a circular fashion system.

To set a direction for this transition, Global Fashion Agenda outlined four immediate action points

1) Implementing design strategies for cyclability

2) Increasing the volume of used garments and footwear collected

3) Increasing the volume of used garments and footwear resold

4) Increasing the share of garments and footwear made from recycled post-consumer textile fibres


By June 2018, the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment (2020 Commitment) had been signed by 94 companies, representing 12.5% of the global fashion market. The companies have committed to take action on one or more of the above action points and to annually report on the progress they are making in implementing their targets. Their commitment illustrates the will to create change, highlighting the urgency and strategic importance of transforming current linear business practices.


Fashion is primarily produced in a linear system of take, make, dispose, with 73% of the world’s clothing eventually ending in landfills or being incinerated. Currently, less than 1% of the material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing, and less than 15% of clothes are collected for recycling (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). If the fashion industry does not start acting now, the linear model will soon reach its physical limits. According to current forecasts, the world population will exceed 8.5 billion people by 2030, and global garment production will increase by 63%.


The Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2017 report showed that most fashion brands have yet to realise the opportunities that accompany an increased focus on the end-of-use phase of the value chain. An accelerated effort is needed to capture important resources from being wasted and to meet future resource demands. If today’s textile collection rate tripled by 2030, it could be worth more than EUR 4 billion for the world economy. This figure merely represents the value of those products that would not end up in landfills. If the industry were to find a way to collect and recycle all fibres, it would boost the value to EUR 80 billion (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2017). Besides, the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2018 report shows that investments in resource efficiency, secure work environments and sustainable materials boost profitability by up to 1-2 percentage points in EBIT margin by 2030.


Global Fashion Agenda is using its platform to drive action among fashion brands and retailers, a stakeholder group that plays a central role in the fashion value chain, influencing both how a product is made and used. Their commitments have the potential to drive concrete change by signalling to industry stakeholders that circularity is high on their corporate agenda. Brands and retailers can play an important role, but to establish a systematic shift we also need the wider ecosystem, including governments, value chain partners and investors to play their part.


The 2020 Commitment covers four key issues:

1) Taking action: Getting fashion brands and retailers to take action on circularity to increase the  industry’s overall performance at the end-of-use phase of the value chain

2) Knowledge sharing: Sharing advice, best practices, lessons learned and solutions to support brands in the transition

3) Policy engagement: Engaging with policymakers to co-develop the wider framework necessary for a circular fashion system

4) Industry alignment: Providing the platform, network and advocacy to ensure that circularity gets lifted, communicated and implemented in the broader fashion industry

12.5% of the global fashion market have committed to circularity


The signatories have set their individual targets for 2020 with the minimum requirement of setting a target within one or more of the four action points. Global Fashion Agenda and BSR have provided guidance to signatories on setting targets; however, it is up to the individual companies to set their own strategy and ambition-level.



The targets set for 2020 are divided between the four action points, with most targets being set within circular design (58%), while the amount of companies that set garment collection (49%) and recycling (46%) targets was fairly even. The fewest targets were set within reuse (24%).

Out of the 94 signatories, the following 17 companies did not meet the minimum requirements for the 2020 Commitment: 
Arvind, Bonagrew, Dedicated / Tshirt Store AB, House of Fraser, MA RA MI, Mokacioccolatah, NYLSTAR, reflect, Sab Soleil, Salt Gypsy Pty Ltd, Shannon South, Star Sock, The Fifth Collection, Tom Cridland, Virtu, Weyler’s Legacy and Wtree Inc.



Our 2020 Commitment publications include: the annual status report, knowledge sharing and policy engagement.


To keep track of the signatories’ progress in implementing the 2020 Commitment, Global Fashion Agenda will publish an annual status report. The aim of this report is to provide an overview of how far companies have come since signing the 2020 Commitment but also to share experiences on working with circularity in the fashion industry.

Download the year one status report - July 2018 


Global Fashion Agenda facilitates knowledge sharing activities to support signatories in defining their circular strategies and overcoming barriers. This primarily involves sharing best practices and key learnings between signatories and bringing together industry experts to explore solutions. Since circularity is still a new topic in the fashion industry, sharing experiences and tools is an important part of accelerating the transition.

During the first year of the commitment Global Fashion Agenda has developed a toolbox for each of the action points.



To learn more about designing for circularity, download the Circular Design Toolbox


To learn more about garment collection, download the Garment Collection Toolbox


To learn more about the resale of garments, download the Resale Toolbox 


To learn more about textile recyling, download the Textile Recycling Toolbox 


Global Fashion Agenda is engaging with policy makers to co-develop the wider framework necessary for a circular fashion system. A policy brief was developed to inform EU policymakers about the challenges and opportunities for fashion brands in transitioning to a circular fashion system and recommends specific actions for regulators and authorities.

Download the Policy Brief here


Five leading apparel organisations have partnered to call on existing and forthcoming EU policymakers to rethink tools to establish a circular fashion system.

In a unique collaboration between EURATEX (European Apparel and Textile Confederation), Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), Global Fashion Agenda (GFA), International Apparel Federation (IAF) and Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC), the manifesto stresses the need for the industry to rethink its business model and for policymakers to think beyond existing policy tools that are rooted in a linear economy to resolve the most significant circularity issues for the fashion and textile industries.

The manifesto aims to accelerate urgent collaboration between the fashion and textiles industries and policymakers. A representative part of the fashion and textile industries is already engaged and committed to this journey, and policymakers have started to scrutinise industry practices; however, the infrastructure and tools to support a scaled circular system are currently inadequate. Businesses of all sizes must work with policymakers and regulators to establish a common framework and clear standards throughout the value chain. Efforts thus far have not achieved enough momentum or results.

The organisations behind the manifesto have committed to developing a European vision for textiles in a circular economy, and they will be expanding on the points outlined in the manifesto. This is the beginning of a new approach. Central EU institutions will have new leadership this autumn, making now the time to act to fully realise the opportunities of a circular fashion system. Ultimately, the loop is global, not just regional. To establish a circular economy, a joint global approach to circular fashion is needed.

Download the Policy Manifesto here



Should you have any questions regarding the 2020 Commitment, please contact commitment@globalfashionagenda.com