LONDON, November 28


  • Ellen MacArthur and Stella McCartney co-host today the launch of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new report A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future in London.
  • The report finds that the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned every second, while less than 1% of clothing is recycled into new clothes. If nothing changes, the fashion industry will consume a quarter of the world’s annual carbon budget by 2050.
  • The report lays out a positive vision for a ‘new textiles economy’, in which clothes are designed differently, worn longer, and recycled and reused much more often.
  • Industry leaders including H&M, Lenzing, and NIKE Inc., endorse the new vision and report, which over 40 organisations have helped create.
  • The authors are calling on the entire industry to innovate and collaborate towards the vision, and unlock an economic opportunity worth USD 500 billion to business and society.

Clothes are an everyday necessity, and for many an important expression of individuality. Yet the industry’s current wasteful take-make-dispose model is the root cause of many environmental impacts and substantial economic value loss. Every second, the equivalent of one garbage truck of textiles is landfilled or burned. An estimated USD 500 billion value is lost every year due to clothing that’s barely worn and rarely recycled. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. As well as being wasteful, the industry is polluting: clothes release half a million tonnes of microfibres into the ocean every year, equivalent to more than 50 billion plastic bottles. Microfibres are impossible to clean up and can enter food chains.

‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’ presents a positive new vision for a system that works, and summons the creative power of the fashion industry to build it. In a new textiles economy clothes would be designed to last longer, be worn more and be easily rented or resold and recycled, and would not release toxins or pollution. Exploring new materials, pioneering business models, harnessing the power of design, and finding ways to scale better technologies and solutions are all needed to create a new textiles economy.

“Today’s textile industry is built on an outdated linear, take-make-dispose model and is hugely wasteful and polluting. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s report ‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’ presents an ambitious vision of a new system, based on circular economy principles, that offers benefits to the economy, society, and the environment. We need the whole industry to rally behind it.” – Ellen MacArthur, Founder, Ellen MacArthur Foundation


 “What really excites me about ‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’ is that it provides solutions to an industry that is incredibly wasteful and harmful to the environment. The report presents a roadmap for us to create better businesses and a better environment. It opens up the conversation that will allow us to find a way to work together to better our industry, for the future of fashion and for the future of the planet.” – Stella McCartney


Creating a new textiles economy sets a new level of ambition for the fashion industry, and will require an unprecedented scale and depth of collaboration. Industry leaders including Core Partners H&M, Lenzing, and NIKE Inc., and Philanthropic Funder C&A Foundation endorse the new vision and report, and over 40 influential fashion brands, leading businesses, NGOs, public bodies, experts and the Foundation’s Knowledge Partner McKinsey & Company have contributed to creating it. Now the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is calling on the entire industry to rally behind this new vision and to launch a new wave of cross-industry collaboration and innovation to achieve it.

By presenting a clear understanding of the challenges faced and the economic opportunities, as well as practical levers for business, innovation and policy action, the New Textiles Economy report is a vital step in an industry-led approach to develop a global textiles system fit for the 21st Century.



About the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was created in 2010 to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The Foundation works across five areas: insight and analysis, business and government, education and training, systemic initiatives, and communication. With its Knowledge Partners (Arup, IDEO, McKinsey & Co., and SYSTEMIQ), and supported by Core Philanthropic Funders (MAVA, SUN), the Foundation works to quantify the economic opportunity of a circular model and to develop approaches for capturing its value. The Foundation collaborates with its Global Partners (Danone, Google, H&M, Intesa Sanpaolo, NIKE, Inc., Philips, Renault, Unilever), and its CE100 network (businesses, universities, emerging innovators, governments, cities and affiliate organisations), to build capacity, explore collaboration opportunities and to develop circular business initiatives. By establishing platforms such as the New Plastics Economy initiative, the Foundation works to transform key material flows, applying a global, cross-sectoral, cross value chain approach that aims to effect systems change.

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About the Circular Fibres Initiative

The Circular Fibres Initiative brings together key industry stakeholders to build a circular economy for textiles, starting with clothing. Participants in the Circular Fibres Initiative will work together to define a vision for a new global textiles system, which will address the significant drawbacks of the ‘take-make-dispose’ model currently dominating the industry. The new system for textiles will be based on the principles of a circular economy, generating growth that benefits businesses, society and the environment, while phasing out negative impacts such as waste and pollution – an economy fit for the 21st Century.

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