Fashion sector to cut impacts

6th March 2014

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  • Mitigation


Christopher Hinchcliffe

High street chains, supermarkets and fashion labels have pledged to reduce the environmental impacts of the clothes they manufacture by 15% by 2020.

Twelve UK firms, including Stella McCartney, John Lewis and Sainsbury's, have agreed to cut the carbon emissions generated and water used throughout the lifecycle of their clothes, as well as reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by 15% on 2012 figures.

The companies, which represent 40% of the UK's clothing sector, are signatories of Wrap's sustainable clothing action plan (Scap). If the scheme's new targets are met, the firms will be saving more than 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 and 420 million cubic metres of water each year by 2020.

The signatories have also agreed to reduce the waste generated during the manufacture of their clothes by 3.5%, which, Wrap claims, equates to 16,000 tonnes annually.

The scheme aims to encourage clothing makers to use "lower-impact fibres", such as organic cotton, work to extend the life of clothes, and encourage consumers to recycle and reuse garments. According to Wrap, retailers can achieve payback on setting up clothing buy-back schemes in two years.

Launching the Scap 2020 targets, Liz Goodwin, Wrap's chief executive, said: "By working across the lifecycle and mobilising industry and consumer action, we can achieve amazing results."

Meanwhile, budget fashion chain Primark and luxury designer Burberry have become the latest labels to pledge to remove all hazardous chemicals from their products and manufacturing processes under Greenpeace's "Detox" campaign.

The commitment requires firms to remove the chemicals from their supply chain by 2020, and ensure that all manufacturing facilities and suppliers are disclosing data on discharges by the end of 2014.

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