The global fashion industry has a far-reaching impact on the natural environment, from the extraction of raw materials to the production, distribution, wear and disposal of clothes. Across the UK many of our fashion businesses are well placed to respond with speed and innovation to create a more environmentally sustainable industry.
At DHL we have a long-term mission to achieve zero emissions in our logistics operation
by the year 2050, but we know a number of our e-commerce businesses are driving for fashion-forward sustainability. Over the next few months we will be sharing blogs to support and help inspire businesses and consumers to get behind the effort for positive change.
What is the circular economy?
It might be time for your business to embrace an alternative business model known as the circular economy. This new model can help drive efforts to conserve products and resources by designing out of waste and promoting reuse at each stage of the trade cycle.
The current economic model of many fashion businesses is linear and based on ‘take, make, use and dispose’. This model creates gigantic quantities of waste and pollution at every stage of the fashion lifecycle. The circular economy model, although being adopted by more and more conscious fashion brands, is still a relatively new concept in industrial fashion terms, with most business models or solutions addressing or closing loops in just one part of the supply chain.
The circular economy, as opposed to the current linear economy, is based on three core principles:
- Design out waste and pollution
- Keep products and materials in use
- Regenerate natural systems
The ThredUp 2019 Resale Report stated that 96 per cent of fashion industry executives said they wanted to advance their company’s approach to circular fashion.
So, it looks like the trend of conscious and questioning consumers is here to stay and this means as businesses we can think more about how to answer the needs of our customers.
There is still a lot of work to be done by brands in the area of end of life for certain products that were not designed for reuse, recycling or safe disposal. If you are only just beginning your journey to improving your sustainability credentials can you think about any area of your supply chain or product life that you could adopt a circular approach to?
To read more about the circular economy, download the Positive Fashion White Paper produced in collaboration with the British Fashion Council and NGO Julie’s Bicycle.
Circular economy in action
Winner of the DHL Fashion Potential Award 2019, NAECO, currently removes plastic from the ocean to make its own yarn and soft eco-friendly fabric which itself is 100 per cent recyclable. This fabric is used to produce high quality, durable goods and this allows the brand to offer its garments with a 5-year guarantee.
NAECO is an excellent example of how SMEs in particular play a crucial role in demonstrating what can be done differently in a short space of time.
Logistics to help you GoGreen
DHL has been a committed partner to the fashion industry for decades; working behind the scenes of a fast moving and creative industry requires an agile and intelligent approach to delivering global logistics solutions. DHL is also the leading green logistics provider. Our group-wide environmental protection programme GoGreen is an expression of our strong sense of responsibility. If you are looking for advice on how your business can switch to climate neutral shipping, speak to one of our Business Advisors.