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Today Global Fashion Agenda released the Year Two Status Report, an annual assessment of the progress that brands and retailers have made in reaching the targets of the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment. Launched in 2017, the 2020 Commitment urges brands and retailers to take action on circularity to accelerate the industry’s transition to a circular fashion system. It is signed by 90 fashion companies, representing 12.5% of the global fashion market.

The Year Two Status Report shows that signatories have reached 45 (21%) of the 213 targets set, highlighting the ambitious nature of many of the targets. Although significant progress has been made, some targets take longer to implement. Brands must urgently accelerate their efforts and seek further collaboration if they are to achieve their remaining targets by June 2020.

Signatories set targets across four action points. The list below indicates how many targets have been set and reached for each point.

Action point 1: Implementing design strategies for cyclability: 87 targets set, 24 reached

Action point 2: Increasing the volume of used garments and/or footwear collected: 52 targets set, 12 reached

Action point 3: Increasing the volume of used garments and/or footwear resold: 27 targets set, 4 reached

Action point 4: Increasing the share of garments and/or footwear made from recycled post-consumer textile fibres: 47 targets set, 5 reached

Progress was most prominent within the “Implementing design strategies for cyclability” action point which notes the importance of creative departments and designers in influencing the environmental impact of a product and ultimately how sustainable it is. For example, signatories such as ASOS, Nike and Target set their focus on training employees in various departments in circular design and on integrating circularity in design briefs.

Roadblocks to progress

As of July 2019, 79% of the initial targets are still outstanding. The Year Two Status Report indicates that the majority of signatories find addressing action point 4, “Increasing the share of garments and/or footwear made from recycled post-consumer textile fibres”, the most challenging. To achieve the remaining targets, signatories emphasise the need for industry-wide standards, best practices, legislation and supportive regulatory frameworks.

Eva Kruse, CEO & President, Global Fashion Agenda, says: “It’s promising to see that the 2020 Commitment has triggered many brands to take action on circularity. However, we need to move faster; if we don’t work together to establish a strong ecosystem of collaboration, we will not achieve all of the 2020 Commitment targets and the impact of the fashion industry on the planet will continue to grow.”

The Year Two Status Report includes brand case studies by ASOS, Eksempel, Filippa K, Guess, H&M, Loomstate, MUD Jeans and Nudie Jeans, as well as statements by representatives of BESTSELLER, Dhana Inc., GANNI, KappAhl, Mara Hoffman, Nike, Norrøna Sport, Suitsupply and VF EMEA.

The road ahead

Despite the encouraging progress, the fashion industry is still far from being sustainable and circular, as highlighted by the Pulse of the Fashion Industry 2019 update. Governments and policymakers must play a strong role in creating a supportive regulatory framework.

Today, select fashion leaders, policymakers and organisations that are key actors in the fashion system will convene in Brussels for a roundtable event. Attendees will include representatives from fibre manufacturers, brands, recyclers, cities and more. They will reflect on the outcomes of the Status Report and explore potential partnerships that can help drive circularity in the fashion and textile industry.

Global Fashion Agenda also collaborated with Sustainable Apparel Coalition and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry to launch a Policy Hub for Circular Economy in the Apparel and Footwear Industry. The Policy Hub will create an aligned proposition on policies for circularity with inputs from a range of stakeholders engaging in the topic.

Jonas Eder-Hansen, Public Affairs Director, Global Fashion Agenda, says: “Policymakers are increasingly looking towards the fashion and textile industries for good examples and innovative approaches to transitioning to a circular economy. This report provides a rich evidence base for policymakers, bringing forward key learnings on concrete circular fashion actions. It can hopefully serve as inspiration for smart policy initiatives that can help support industry progress.”

In the third and final year of the 2020 Commitment, Global Fashion Agenda will continue to support signatories in reaching their targets, with a particular focus on addressing key challenges.

Read the full Status Report