post Stella McCartney supports circular textiles economy with Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Lending her voice to promote change in the fashion industry, Stella McCartney co-hosts the launch of The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report, ‘A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’, held at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Pictured above: Ellen MacArthur & Stella McCartney

The newly-released report outlines and projects an ambitious vision and optimistic future for the fashion industry; one that is based on a circular economy to benefit the economy, society and crucially the environment.

The textiles economy operates in an almost entirely linear way, meaning large amounts of natural resources are used to make clothing that after comparatively little use ends the cycle in landfill or incineration. The report outlines its primary goal; “clothes, textiles, and fibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy afterwards, never ending up as waste.” In other words; a restorative and regenerative circular economy.

The findings of the report reveal that every second the equivalent of one garbage truck is burned or landfilled while the recycling of clothing material back into new clothes is less than 1%. While around 12% of clothes get recycled into other materials.

In order to realise the aspirations of the report for a new textiles economy, we need to gain the backing of the fashion industry to design clothes that are worn more frequently yet last longer; ensure clothing can be recycled with greater ease and ensure no toxins or pollution are released into the environment. Through harnessing the influence of design, exploring new materials, pioneering business models and innovating technologies, we can reach our goal of creating a new textiles economy.

At Stella McCartney we are dedicated to supporting sustainable and restorative solutions in our supply chain, working towards a new textiles economy to effect change and reimagine the fashion system. We have started work with innovators such as The RealReal, a leader in luxury consignment – our first step in making sure that our products do not end up as waste. We are also continuing our work to change the perception of recycled fabrics. Read more about our collaboration with The RealReal and our recycled fabrics >

In 2013, we started using an Environmental Profit and Loss, a form of natural capital accounting, to measure and manage the impact of our business and supply chain on the environment. It is a tool that helps us identify and account for the value of natural capital to our business and the impact that we have on that natural capital through the operation of our business and production of our products. Read our latest EP&L report here >

“Every free single industry sharing this Earth needs to look at itself and be responsible, mindful and at the same time still have a healthy business at the end of the day. What is really exciting about this report is that it’s providing solutions to an industry that is incredibly harmful to the environment, these are problems that people are not even aware of.” – Stella McCartney

We are proud to be able to be able to say the following thanks to our work on sustainability:

  • As of today, 90% of all the natural materials we use are traceable at least to country of origin.
  • All of our viscose comes from traceable and sustainable forests that have been verified to be free from ancient and endangered forests. The majority of our viscose comes from a supply chain that we developed which allows us to have full traceability and control all the way to the forest (FSC certified forest in Sweden, viscose filament made in Germany and viscose fabric made in Italy).
  • By 2019 we aim to have introduced our first products made from recycled cellulose (cellulose / viscose coming from waste cotton textiles instead of pulp from trees).
  • 62% of all the cotton that we use is organic.
  • Our wool is sourced from a small group of hand selected farms that are both sustainably managed and work to the highest levels of animal welfare.
  • In 2016, we stopped using virgin cashmere due to its exceptionally high environmental impact and have been supporting restorative grazing projects to reverse the desertification that has occurred in Mongolia due to cashmere production. Until we are able to source cashmere from sources that are verified to be restorative we will continue to use reengineered cashmere.
  • Over the years we have developed an unparalleled portfolio of leather alternatives, materials that are made in Italy and use recycled polymers and water-based coatings.
  • We already use a high quality of regenerated nylon and recycled polyester throughout our collections and we aim to be using only regenerated or recycled versions of these materials by 2020.
  • We will become a zero-industrial waste business by 2020, meaning that none of the offcuts or other waste created during manufacturing will go to landfill. Instead we will ensure that all ‘waste’ materials are regenerated or recycled.

Find out more about The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the report here >

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