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Sustainable clothing business models

What can my organisation do?

Clothing production has approximately doubled worldwide between 2000 and 2015, outpacing GDP growth during that period.

in 2015 global production of textiles reached 1,715 million tonnes of CO2e3. The waste from discarded clothes (pre and post-consumer) can sit in landfills for 200 years if made from non-biodegradable fabrics – which most clothes are. 

The industry needs to change, business models need to innovate, and clothing companies in 2030 will have to look very different if sustainability and equity are to become the new normal.

For clothing companies to be competitive in 2030 they will have to adapt. They must prioritize business models that can meet demands of customers without damaging communities and the environment.

Retailer clothing take-back guide

Guidance designed to help retailers, brands and their re-use/recycling partners either set up from scratch, or improve on a clothing take-back scheme.

Read the guide

NEW REPORT

Changing our clothes

Consumption of clothing is outpacing utilization; we are buying more clothes and wearing them less. New business models offer a shift away from the traditional ‘linear’ approach to a ‘circular’ model. For clothing companies to be competitive in 2030 they will have to adapt. They must prioritize business models that can meet demands of customers without damaging communities and the environment. 

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Case study

Shwopping. Ordinary Clothes Made Extraordinary.

M&S and Oxfam launched a partnership to incentivise customers to donate unwanted clothes to Oxfam shops, receiving an M&S spend and save voucher. In 2012, the scheme, branded Shwopping, was extended to include donation boxes in all M&S clothing stores and selected Simply Foods.

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Financial viability - resource efficient business models

This report explores new, innovative business models of clothing retailing which may be better suited to an economy where businesses and consumers are facing the impact of resource constraints and higher raw material costs – models which extend the life of clothes and increase the proportion of garments which are re-used instead of being discarded prematurely.

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The REBus project

The Resource Efficient Business Models (REBus) project was set up to assist organisations of all sizes and functions in the transition to a more resource efficient economy. It provided the resources to trial new procurement systems or invest in alternative supply chains, and clearly demonstrated the business case for following a circular path. 

Of the many pilot projects completed there were learnings from a number of clothing and textiles organisations which are available below.