Clothing and textile businesses show progress on the road to net zero

19 October 2021

  • Success and learnings from the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 Commitment published in legacy report as carbon and water reduction targets are achieved and exceeded.
  • SCAP signatories now using over 100,000 tonnes of more sustainable fibres each year.
  • Brands and retailers with over 60% share of the UK clothing market commit to Textiles 2030 in just six months – first progress report shows how the 92 signatories plan to deliver climate goals and a circular economy.

WRAP today publishes the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan final report as the culmination of eight years of collaborative action by sector leaders. In parallel, the Textiles 2030 progress report sets out the practical actions already underway in the successor agreement for the sector to halve GHG emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.  

Key results

The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan 2020 Commitment (SCAP) united fashion brands, retailers, charity retailers, textile recycling companies, academia, governments and other stakeholders to reduce the impact of clothing in the UK. Between 2012 and 2020, this pioneering, industry-led action plan delivered effective environmental and economic outcomes. The final report shows that SCAP exceeded its carbon and water footprint targets, although it struggled to complete the waste element. The most impactful change by signatories was a radical increase in the use of more sustainable fibres, from close to zero in 2012, to over 100,000 tonnes in 2020.


Carbon footprint

Water footprint

Waste Footprint

Clothing in household waste
Target - 15% - 15% - 3.5% -15%
Outcome - 21.6% - 18.2% - 2.1% - 4%
  • Footprint targets are for reductions in the whole-life impact of clothing sold in the UK by SCAP signatories per tonne of clothing sold.

The target to reduce clothing to landfill or incineration by 15% had not been met pre-pandemic; the 4% measured reduction relates to 2017. Progress cannot be reported in the SCAP closing report due to a lack of recent waste data, but will be updated in 2022. However, the target is not expected to have been met in 2020 due to the impacts of the pandemic on collections, reuse and recycling of unwanted clothing.

Improvement actions carried out by SCAP signatories each year, have grown more than 10-fold through the agreement. Actions included switching to more sustainable fibres, low impact dyeing, introducing hire and repair services, collecting clothing for reuse, designing for longer life, and more efficient production. SCAP achieved these results through:

  • Sharing robust evidence – for example, in 2012, the Valuing our Clothes report received worldwide attention for highlighting the impacts of the industry and creating the evidence base for action.
  • Measuring impacts across all clothing sales and across the life cycle – working with WRAP, SCAP signatories developed and agreed a footprint measurement approach and tool that allowed progress to be tracked and effort focused on improvement actions.
  • Through collaborative work to share insights and focus effort – under WRAP’s leadership, SCAP produced the Durability Protocol, the Sustainable Clothing Guide and the Sustainable Design Toolkit – all providing first-of-a-kind guidance to clothing brands on how to design for lower footprint.

Challenges still loom large for the textiles sector, including its contribution to global warming and water scarcity. One of the key issues to unlock carbon savings is creating a truly circular economy for textiles. To do this, the successor to SCAP, Textiles 2030, includes work streams on design for longevity and recyclability, reuse business models, and closed loop recycling of textile fibres.


Dr David Moon, Director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP said: “The learnings and success of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan have provided the foundations for Textiles 2030. SCAP was the first voluntary agreement of its kind to measure and act within the UK textiles sector and the knowledge we have gained from this agreement has underpinned what needs to happen to make Textiles 2030 even more impactful. Sector-wide change is essential if we are to achieve climate targets and a circular economy in materials, so we have been collaborating with businesses, Governments and other stakeholders to develop Textiles 2030. The public, investment managers and policy makers are all demanding practical action, sustainable products and evidence of outcomes.  We need more companies to show their commitment to action through Textiles 2030, continuing and evolving the legacy of SCAP.”


Textiles 2030: UK Sustainable Textiles Action Plan

Launched by WRAP in April 2021, Textiles 2030 is the world’s most ambitious programme for sustainability in clothing and textiles. Over the next decade, Textiles 2030 will slash the environmental impact of UK clothing and home fabrics through practical interventions along the entire textiles chain. With businesses responsible for over 60% of UK clothing sales, many reuse & recycling businesses, government and knowledge partners committed to taking action through the WRAP-led voluntary agreement, there is the real potential for large scale change.

Textiles 2030 is giving business the opportunity to work together to create a truly circular use of textile products and material in the UK.

What Textiles 2030 has achieved since April:

  • 92 signatories have committed to Textiles 2030 in just six months, including brands and retailers, reuse and recycling organisations and affiliates. Major household names include ASOSBoohoo, Dunelm, John LewisM&S, New Look, Next, Primark, Sainsbury’s, Ted Baker, Tesco and The Salvation Army.
  • This means 62% of all clothing put on the UK market is represented by Textiles 2030 signatories who are working towards science-based sustainability targets* to minimise their environmental impact.
  • The agreement is bringing together organisations for action, collaboration and communication via Working Groups and a Signatory Resources Platform.
  • The Metrics Working Group, made up of experts across Textiles 2030 organisations, has begun work to determine the scope, priority features, and improvement actions which will be captured by the Textiles 2030 Footprint Calculator by early 2022.
  • Working Groups have provided policy insights to help inform Defra consultation on wider textiles policy, and specified the evidence and insights needed for the transition to a circular economy, including through customer engagement.

Actions by signatories:

  • Dunelm will launch its first 100% recycled cotton bedding collection for Spring/Summer 2022. This is a huge step forward and shows the progress made to source materials sustainability, focusing on a circular economy.
  • JD Sports will reduce its carbon emissions in accordance with the goals of Textiles 2030, and its corporate targets (aligned to the 1.5 degree scenario within the Paris Agreement). It is a 100% renewable energy business in the UK and intends to advocate for the use of renewable energy across its supply chain.
  • Mint Velvet is continuing to reduce its carbon and water footprint by swapping out conventional materials for more sustainable alternatives and by working with its suppliers on adopting manufacturing processes that are better for the environment.

Textiles Action Week 18th – 22nd October 2021

WRAP is coordinating a week of action by industry, providing an opportunity for businesses to show what they are doing to reduce their impact on the planet. Highlights of the week include:

  • The Change in Fashion and Textiles webinar on Wednesday 20th October introduced by Textiles 2030 ambassador Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE. The webinar will highlight the power of collaboration and action, new insights on what is needed to halve the carbon impact of new products and reduce water footprint by 30%, as well as testimonials from signatories as to why they have joined Textiles 2030.
    • Please sign up for the event here.
  • Textiles Sorting Facility Tours for Textiles 2030 signatories in London, Mansfield and Greater Manchester.
  • Signatory events including a ‘visible mending’ and customisation workshop hosted by Primark and Habits for Life in Leeds on Thursday 21st October.
  • Social media campaign - #SCAP2020 #Textiles2030 #TextilesActionWeek

Textiles 2030 is supported by Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE. The Crossbench peer and Chancellor of the University of Nottingham is an advocate for sustainable textiles and the need to act. Baroness Young said: “There is an urgent need for us to protect people and planet from the damaging and unsustainable way we produce and consume clothing and textiles. Innovative, creative and committed collaboration is the key, and in effect the only way can we succeed in minimising our impact.

“In just six months, Textiles 2030 has united businesses across the UK and worked with them to take the critical steps needed to transform business practices swiftly and permanently and to fulfil climate goals. What WRAP and Textiles 2030 signatories have achieved so far and the plans which influential brands have for the future serve as an inspiration to us all. In the run up to COP 26, environmental sustainability is rightly at the forefront of industry minds. Every fashion and textile business in the UK has to act now to help us avoid catastrophic climate change. Signing up to Textiles 2030 and acting on that commitment is a big, significant step towards achieving that aim.”

Resources and Waste Minister, Jo Churchill, said: “We all know that urgent action is needed to slash the environmental impact of our clothing if we are to meet our ambitious Net Zero target. Leading fashion brands and manufacturers have made solid progress so far, and the Textiles 2030 initiative must build on this momentum, shifting us towards a more prosperous and sustainable fashion industry. 

“There is further to go, which is why, through our world-leading Environment Bill and landmark waste reforms, we will take steps to tackle fast fashion by incentivising recycling and encouraging innovation in new design.”

Notes to Editor

  • *Textiles 2030 environmental targets are:
    • Cut carbon by 50%, sufficient to put the UK textiles sector on a path consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieving Net Zero by 2050 at the latest.                                                                           
    • Reduce the aggregate water footprint of new products sold by 30%.
    • The need for action on textiles the fashion and textiles industry has the fourth largest impact on the environment. Only housing, transport and food have a greater impact on our planet. The greenhouse gas emissions from textile production are currently twice the value required to maintain a 1.5°C warming trajectory by 2030, and 330 000 tonnes of clothing go to landfill and incineration each year.
    • The Textiles 2030 Roadmap directs actions under Textiles 2030. It sets out the water and carbon reduction targets, and the key milestones and activities necessary to introduce circular use of textile products and materials at scale. The Roadmap shows what signatories must do to deliver the targets, with key outcomes by the end of 2022, 2025 and 2030. These actions will transform the UK’s make-use-dispose fashion culture into one where products are made sustainably, used longer and then re-used or recycled. The Target-Measure-Act approach will be used so that textiles businesses set tough targets, measure impact and track progress on both an individual business basis, and towards national targets and public reporting.
    • Roadmap ambitions for circular textiles, which partner signatories will join forces to achieve:
  • Design for Circularity: agree good practice principles, including durability, recyclability, use of recycled content and minimising waste, and implement them as appropriate to their business model and customer base, to lower the impact of product placed on market in the UK.
  • Implement Circular Business Models: pilot reuse business models as appropriate to their product ranges, share learning, and develop large-scale implementation to extend the lifetime of clothing in the UK – and decouple business growth from the use of virgin resources.
  • Close the Loop on Materials: set up partnerships to supply and use recycled fibres for new products, accelerating the commercialisation of fibre-to-fibre recycling in the UK.

Footprint modelling shows that these three actions towards circularity could deliver half of the climate target.

  • Supporting quotes from signatories
    • Rosie Howells, Head of Sustainability at boohoo group plc said: “We are proud to be working with other retailers and experts who share the ambition to make our industry more sustainable. Textiles 2030 is a really important initiative and this week of action will help us to raise awareness of the role we all have to play in reducing our impact on the planet’s resources. We will need innovative and creative solutions to reach our goals and I am excited to see where this collaborative journey takes us.”
    • Dr Charmaine Griffiths, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation said: “This Textiles Action Week we want to encourage others to join the Textiles 2030 initiative, so together we can build a more sustainable and circular UK textiles sector. Although strong strides have been made towards improving practices within the textiles industry, there’s more to do. Our 520 clothing and accessory shops across the UK and online outlets – eBay and Depop – play an essential role in the reuse cycle. We rely heavily on brand partners donating surplus stock as it provides much-needed quality stock for our network of shops. This year, by selling over 7 million pieces of preloved women’s and men’s clothing we will save almost 14,000 tonnes of clothing from going to waste, while raising millions of pounds for life saving research. It is vital we continue to reduce this industry’s negative impact it can have on the environment. We want to continue to collaborate with other fashion and textile brands who can support the British Heart Foundation’s vital work by simply donating their unwanted stock, helping reduce waste and ensuring a circular economy.”
    • Sue Fairley, Head of Sustainability Sourcing and Quality at New Look said: “As a key pillar of New Look’s transformation strategy, we are constantly striving to make meaningful changes to our business operations and products to make them more sustainable. We recognise that textile waste is a huge issue in our industry and one that has grown considerably over the recent years. Whilst there is no single solution to the problem, we believe that, by bringing together stakeholders from across different industries, together we can make the progress we need to help drive circularity within the fashion industry. Joining Textiles 2030 has enabled us to do just that and we are excited to be in a position to help lead the charge and shape the industry to become more sustainable.”
    • Joanne Poynor, Head of Product Legislation and Sustainable Development at Next said: NEXT is proud to be part of Textiles 2030, to support our approach in making a sustainable difference that can be measured and importantly sustained to deliver a reduction in impacts as well as work to embed circularity within our business. As a Textiles 2030 founding partner and a signatory to the predecessor Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, we recognise the value in collaboration with industry partners, sustainability experts as well as academics and government to drive real change to achieve the aims of the commitment and deliver more than any brand could achieve alone. This includes developing real solutions to drive circularity through product design and customer engagement to really close the loop and reuse products or their materials again and again.”
    • Please contact Frances Armitage, Media Relations Specialist: [email protected] Tel: 07971 656 172 for a copy of the SCAP report and if you would like to interview one of WRAP’s spokespeople or Baroness Lola Young about Textiles 2030.
    • Please contact [email protected] to sign up to Textiles 2030 as an organisation.
    • WRAP is a global NGO based in the UK. It is one of the UK’s top five environmental charities and works with governments, businesses and individuals to ensure that the world’s natural resources are used sustainably. It is the charity leading the Courtauld Commitment, the UK Plastics Pact (a world first) as well as Love Food Hate Waste, Guardians of Grub, the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, Textiles 2030 and Recycle Now. WRAP works collaboratively and develops and delivers evidence-based, impactful solutions to reduce the environmental cost of the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the plastic packaging we use. Founded in 2000 in the UK, WRAP now works around the world and is a Global Alliance Partner of The Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Prize.