The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today announced it will lead an effort to align the apparel, footwear, and textile industry on a European policy agenda around circular economy. The Policy Hub for Circular Economy brings together industry leaders for the purpose of deepening policy efforts that promote circular practices in the apparel, footwear, and textile sector.

Circularity has become a key concern of businesses in the apparel sector, however, companies face challenges accelerating their efforts as current policies in Europe do not provide enabling conditions. The industry has been missing a joint approach to address the obstacles it currently faces to move towards circularity. The SAC joins forces with the Global Fashion Agenda (GFA) and the Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) to ensure collaboration among industry partners. Together the organizations will kick-off the development of an impactful and effective policy framework. The C&A Foundation will fund the project throughout the next year.

“The transition towards a circular fashion economy is a big challenge,” said Douwe Jan Joustra, Head of Circular Transformation at C&A Foundation. “For governance, the innovation effort of the oncoming decade will be to promote prosperity in a world of finite resources. Coming up with solutions to this challenge leads to a competitive advantage for companies, economies and society. This is where governance can be an important ‘condition for change.’ The Policy Hub can and will be an important partner for the industry and governments as well as the European Union.”

The Hub seeks to promote and demonstrate the value of a European policy framework that accelerates circular economy in the apparel, footwear, and textile industry. The Policy Hub will collaborate with a range of initiatives and stakeholders to support the industry in closing the loop of their business practices.

“At H&M we see great opportunities in closing the loop of our business practices. We believe that only through collaboration across the apparel and footwear industry, and working with policy makers, will we be able to make a meaningful change,” said Pernilla Halldin from H&M Group’s Global Public Affairs Sustainability Team.

“To advance circular practices we first need an aligned approach across the apparel, footwear and textile sectors. Only then can we bring a credible and solid voice to the table,” said SAC Vice President, Baptiste Carrière-Pradal. “By establishing the Policy Hub for Circular Economy in collaboration with two key partners and the generous support of the C&A Foundation, the Sustainable Apparel Coalition will help accelerate the development of policy that supports the circular economy agenda.”

“The Global Fashion Agenda is extremely pleased to be a founding member of the Circular Economy Policy Hub. We have already seen the voluntary commitment of the fashion industry to circular principles. Smart regulation will now be vital to support this progress and ensure the transition to a circular fashion system. By partnering with key industry organizations, we are excited to collaborate and bring a common industry voice to regulators,” said Eva Kruse, President & CEO of the Global Fashion Agenda.

“The ‘make, take, dispose’ days are over. Nowadays, companies need to develop and implement long-term sustainability strategies to meet the growing financial, political and consumer expectations,” said Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General. “However, circularity comes with challenges that a single company – or even an entire industry sector – cannot face on its own. This is why, together with SAC and GFA, we expect this policy hub to be a pragmatic and ambitious cluster that can finally provide holistic policy responses to address the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

Close collaboration among industry stakeholders and initiatives will complement this effort.