One-third of fashion brands ‘fully circular’ by 2027

A major new study with input from board directors in the UK, US, and Australia has revealed increasing internal expectations on transitioning to low waste processes. 


Conducted by Aquapak Polymers Ltd, a firm that produces polymer-based material technologies, the research has found that 12% of c-suite fashion professionals expect their company to be ‘fully circular’ within the next year or two. This increases to 34% in two-three years, and 31% for three to four years. One-fifth predict they will reach the goal by 2029. 

With approaches including sharing, leasing, reusing, refurbishing, and recycling materials, it is hoped the concept of a ‘circular economy’ can help sectors such as fashion apparel to reduce environmental impact. Both industries are notorious for the high quantity of waste involved in production, including over-production leading to unsold items, the seasonal natural of ‘trends’ and fast fashion, and ecologically damaging processes involved in actually making the clothing. For example, the use of chemically-manufactured dies and plastic-derived textiles. 

The results of the survey also revealed that more than half of respondents considered their brand to be a market leader on sustainability (54%), which suggests a high level of confidence among professionals that effective steps are being taken. 39% said their company was average at this and simply ‘following the leaders’, and just 7% said their business was a ‘laggard’ and ‘playing catch up’ on the environment.

While this sounds reassuring, it’s worth noting that the fashion industry is currently the second biggest polluter in the world by sector – only oil companies have a worse impact on the planet, suggesting a disconnect between the perception of sustainable action on the part of those responsible for them, and the actual effectiveness of those measures. Nevertheless, 49% of those in the study believed sustainability was highly important to the success of their business, however only 21% said their approach to this was ‘excellent’. 

‘Our study shows that the circular economy and sustainability are priorities for boards and senior executives in the fashion industry, although only half think that their business is at the vanguard of change when it comes to innovation and market-leadership. There has been an acceleration in new technologies in the sector, so the opportunity for brands to step up and lead the industry is there for the taking,’ said Mark Lapping, CEO of Aquapack.

‘Aquapak is already working with several early-adopter fashion companies who are determined to drive a significant change in the industry by embracing upstream innovation in packaging. These businesses are proof that new materials work and can make the difference that consumers are now demanding to see from fashion brands,’ he continued.

More on fashion and sustainability: 

Manufacturer Climate Action Program launches for textile and apparel industry

Organisations invited to commit used workwear for groundbreaking polyester recycling

Fashion industry’s stark environmental impact stitched up in new report

Image: The Blowup



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top