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The Ellen MacArthur Foundation collaborates with H&M & Stockholm Resilience Centre in textiles research project

April 04, 2017

A new, collaborative project between H&M Group, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Stockholm Resilience Centre is launched today. The three-year research project will aim to define a new vision for producing and using textiles within a circular system, that has a positive impact on natural resources. It was announced by H&M Group CEO Karl-Johan Persson today, at the launch of the company’s latest sustainability report in Stockholm.

Peachesh via Visual Hunt /  CC BY
Peachesh via Visual Hunt / CC BY

As the demand for resources expands in line with global population growth, today’s linear system, based on a take-make and dispose model, is approaching its limits. In the case of textile fibres, awareness is growing of the industry’s negative impacts. With just 20% of clothing currently collected after use, it is becoming clear that our inherently wasteful system will not support growth in the long term. 

This collaboration will apply circular economy principles to determine a new vision for meeting growing demand, while ensuring that the industry's impact on climate change, fresh water use, and other key variables remains within ‘planetary boundaries’. By applying this circular vision to textile fibres, the project will identify new opportunities to capture value that is lost in our current system, while generating positive impacts. It is hoped that the methodology, once developed, would be applicable to other industries.