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Different shades of blue denim jeans, many of which are left pieces over from sewing repairs.

London signs up to Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular initiative

16 May 2018

LWARB signs up to help drive circular economy practices in London’s textiles sector

The London Waste & Recycling Board (LWARB) has announced today that it is signing up as a participant in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative, which will develop solutions to some of the biggest issues faced by the fashion industry. In signing up, LWARB joins some of the biggest names in fashion to drive momentum towards a circular economy for fashion, first set out in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s 2017 report ‘A new textiles economy: Redesigning fashion’s future’.

A circular economy for fashion could globally unlock a USD 560 billion opportunity – and the implications for London could be huge, according to Dr Liz Goodwin, Chair of LWARB:

A circular economy approach to fashion in London would ensure that clothes are used to their greatest potential throughout their lifecycle, leading to more items being repaired, shared, collected and recycled. Current estimates suggest that net benefits from a circular economy in the textiles sector in London could add over £1bn annually by 2036.

London is a thriving centre of fashion design and innovation and home to a number of well-respected fashion institutions, making London perfectly placed to influence both the design and production of clothes in a way that will have an impact both in the capital city and around the world.

Deputy Mayor for Energy and Environment, Shirley Rodrigues, said:

The Mayor has been clear on his ambition to make London a zero-carbon city by 2050. Textiles are high in embodied carbon and London is a world leader in fashion – so it’s only fitting that London should be at the forefront of circular fibre innovation. The environmental and economic benefits are clear and we hope other organisations join us in this important initiative.

LWARB delivers a range of other textiles-related initiatives across the capital, including:

  • helping boroughs collect more textiles for re-use through the procurement of a London-wide textiles collection contract;
  • building networks with leading fashion colleges to increase understanding of circular economy principles
  • supporting innovation in the sector through investment, working with textiles SMEs and promoting circular business models through awards, events and ‘hackathons’
  • delivering #LoveNotLandfill, a behaviour change campaign to encourage young Londoners to donate more clothes for re-use; and collaborating with retailers to pilot new business models.

By working with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and partners in the ‘Make Fashion Circular’ initiative LWARB will find and build new opportunities to deliver sustainable textiles and circular economy in London.

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