Sustainability & Responsibility
Apr 09, 2018

VF EMEA Commits to 2020 Circular Economy Targets as Part of the Global Fashion Agenda

VF EMEA Commits to 2020 Circular Economy Targets as Part of the Global Fashion Agenda®

VF believes apparel and footwear companies must play a leading role in moving the fashion industry toward a more circular and sustainable system. That is why we are proud to be a signatory to the Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment letter, which we signed during the May 2017 Copenhagen Fashion Summit. As part of the initiative, VF has publicly committed to making progress on at least one of the four action points identified in the Global Fashion Agenda’s scope of the agreement by November 2020. Those four areas include:

  • Implementing design strategy for cyclability;
  • Increasing volume of used garments collected;
  • Increasing resale of used garments; and
  • Increasing use of recycled textile fibers.

The initiative, which comprises 64 companies representing 7.5 percent of the global apparel market, presents a shared vision for the future of the apparel industry in which garments and footwear are “designed, collected, reused and recycled for their maximized use.” This work falls squarely in line with VF’s global commitments outlined in our Made for Change sustainability strategy. Circular Business Models are a key pillar of this strategy, which calls for reducing the amount of raw materials needed to make our products and designing products with longer life-cycles, all while creating new revenue opportunities for our business.

As part of the Global Fashion Agenda commitment, VF set specific targets for 2020 in Europe related to design for cyclability and collection volumes:

(Source: GFA)

VF EMEA and our European-based brands are already working in this field. One example of circular design comes from a capsule collection created by British designer Christopher Ræburn for Eastpak®. The limited edition “REMADE” line of backpacks is crafted from 100 percent re-used and recycled British Military and Border Force uniforms. The line demonstrates the benefits of a sustainable design process while embodying Eastpak’s® outdoor spirit and military heritage. Moreover, in the following months, we will strengthen our takeback programs available through our The North Face® and Timberland® stores. In 2017 alone, we collected more than 4,000 Kgs of clothing and footwear in more than 150 stores throughout Europe. These takeback programs are important to VF’s effort to transform the apparel industry from linear to circular by creating a readily available flow of recyclable and recycled raw materials.

To further strengthen our commitment to the circular economy model, VF entered into a partnership with the Dutch non-profit Circle Economy in February 2018 to develop the Circle Fashion Tool. The tool, developed in partnership with the C&A Foundation, German linen maker, Auping, and the Turkish denim maker, Orta Anadolu, is aimed at improving decision-making for brands as they evaluate the end-of-life options and circular opportunities for their excess textile products. It will allow brands to weigh the practical applications as well as the environmental and economic impact of various circular programs by:

  • Sharing insights on how brands can monitor textile waste streams, set smart targets, benchmark performance and track progress over time;
  • Educating brands on circular opportunities available to them and assess which would most fit their business; and
  • Connecting brands with relevant partners to operationalize selected circular opportunities.

(Source: Circle Economy)

VF is using its scale to help lead the apparel and footwear industry in the transition from linear to circular. By joining the Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment and developing the Circle Fashion Tool, we are identifying the best practices that will galvanize more apparel brands to join the circular movement and render our industry more sustainable.

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