Two dozen of Britain’s leading apparel retailers, charity shops, and clothing recyclers have pledged to measure and report the waste, water, and carbon footprints of their wares, with an eye on reducing their environmental impact by 2020. The 22 companies that signed the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 commitment on Thursday, including bold-face names such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco, the Salvation Army, the Textile Recycling Association, the British Retail Consortium, and the Department of Environmental, Food, and Rural Affairs, together account for more than one-third of garment sales in the United Kingdom. Still other are expected to sign the in the weeks to come.
IT TAKES AN INDUSTRY
“The fact that 22 organizations have already signed a commitment that explicitly sets out their determination to reduce the carbon, water, and waste footprints of clothing is very encouraging,” Liz Goodwin, chief executive of Waste & Resources Action Programme, the England-based organization that coordinated the effort, says in a statement. “We know that overall, clothing contributes around 5 percent of the carbon footprint and between 6 to 8 percent of the water footprint of all the UK’s goods and services. It also accounts for more than 1 million tons of wasted materials, making it the most significant category for consumption impacts after food and drink, housing, and transport.”
WRAP developed a system that will allow companies to quantify the total impacts of their clothing in a consistent manner.
To facilitate the effort, WRAP developed a spreadsheet-based “footprint” calculator that will allow companies for the first time to quantify and report the total impacts of the garments they make, sell, and recover in a consistent manner. The data will serve as a baseline for signatories to identify not only targets for carbon, water, and waste savings to be delivered by 2020, but also the steps that need to be taken to achieve them.
“I am very pleased to see so many leading U.K. organizations signing up and making this important commitment towards reducing the environmental impacts of clothing,” says Rupert Ponsonby, Lord de Mauley, resource management minister at DEFRA. “By working together in this way, government, industry, and third sector can deliver real economic benefits, and reduce carbon, waste, and water impacts.”
SCAP 2020 SIGNATORIES
BCR Global Textiles
British Retail Consortium
Centre for Sustainable Fashion, London College of Fashion
East London Textiles
Global Organic Textile Standard
Lawrence M. Barry & Co.
Marks and Spencer
Next Best Clothing/Bags2school
Salvation Army Trading Company
Textile Recycling Association