Kering is pledging a commitment to circular production by increasing the volume of recyclable textiles collected, reused and recycled by 2020.
The effort, which is part of the fashion conglomerate’s ongoing effort to improve sustainable practices across its brands, was announced at the fifth annual Copenhagen Fashion Summit this month. As part of the pledge, Kering will collaborate with Fashion Positive Plus, an organization focused on increasing the use of recycled materials in fashion that already counts brands including H&M and Eileen Fisher as members. Kering’s involvement could lead to wider scale sustainable practices across its portfolio of 16 brands, which includes Gucci, Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney, the latter of which has already been an active member of FPP.
The first step for Kering will be to identify which materials will fit within a circular framework, a model of production focused on using previously used materials in an attempt to prevent the introduction of new materials into the supply chain. For many companies, shifting to circular production is easier said than done, and requires a significant shift in production and resource procurement to work effectively. However, Cecilia Takayama, director of the Materials Innovation Lab at Kering, said she feels confident that Kering will make significant progress under the initiative by rolling out fitting processes across its brands.
“Creating a real circular economy so that no new resources are used and no clothing ends up in landfills is the future for our industry, and one that is truly sustainable,” Takayama said. “At Kering we are committed to finding innovative technologies and tools to drive these types of game changing solutions. Initiatives like Fashion Positive Plus enable us to work with our peers to pool our collective knowledge and resources to make this a reality.”
The Copenhagen Fashion Summit — created by the Global Fashion Agenda, an organization focused on reimagining fashion design and production — convenes leaders across the fashion industry, in addition to politicians, academics and representatives of non-profit organizations. Part of the agenda this year was a call to action for participating brands and retailers to implement circular practices, which served as a catalyst to Kering’s pledge. The FPP already works with a number of major retailers, including Patagonia, H&M, Nike and Eileen Fisher. It helps these brands integrate recycled resources from its list of 70 certified materials.
The Copenhagen Fashion Summit also coincided with the launch of the Global Fashion Agenda’s “Pulse of the Fashion Industry” report, which includes projected damage to the environment over the next few decades, if the fashion industry continues producing at its current level. The analysis specifically examines areas like water use, energy consumption, chemical output, labor practices, worker safety and ethical practices.
Chart courtesy of the Pulse of the Fashion Industry report
“Today’s linear ‘take, make, dispose’ economic model relies on large quantities of cheap, easily accessible materials and energy,” reads the report. “It is a model that is reaching its physical limits, with the world population expected to exceed 8.5 billion people and global garment production to increase by 63 percent by 2030.”
Despite blips in the past, Kering is cited in the report for “encouraging moves” like adopting clean energy models, using solar panels and implementing LED-certified lighting in retails stores across brands. Kering is also noted for its internal environmental and profits-and-loss program that tracks waste across the supply chain, which it has rolled out in beta stages to fashion schools like Parson’s School of Design in New York City.
Image courtesy of Copenhagen Fashion Summit