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Sewing the gap closed on zero waste

AMSTERDAM: November 3, 2016. Social enterprise Circle Economy has received a €250,000 grant from the C&A Foundation for its 'Circle Textiles Programme'.

Created in 2014, the program is developing a commercial and scalable model for closing the loop on post-industrial, pre-consumer, and post-consumer textiles.

"Thanks to C&A Foundation's generous grant, we can push this ambitious program to the next level and take the bold steps necessary to scale our zero waste mission. We plan to build on the success and expertise of the Circle Textiles Program to date, but also develop new tools for the industry that are critical in engaging companies in closed loop strategies," said Gwen Cunningham at Circle Economy.

CA FoundationThe cooperative will develop a 'Circle Fashion' tool to support global brand decision makers understand the business case and environmental impacts behind closed-loop recycling and sourcing, plus the environmental and economic impacts of textile waste within the industry.

The C&A Foundation, set up by the C&A fashion group, thinks the industry "isn't working for the good of the 150 million people who make our clothes," adding that forced labour is hidden in "complex, murky supply chains".

Executive director Leslie Johnston commented: "We believe that fashion can be a force for good. Circle Economy's pragmatic, tool-based approach will make it easier for the global apparel industry to transition to new, restorative business models."

In December last year the European Commission published its revised proposals to encourage EU Member States adopt a circular economy which it claims will save companies €600 billion, create 580,000 jobs, and reduce carbon emissions by 450 million tonnes a year.

The proposals cover the 'cradle-to-cradle' lifecycle from production and consumption to waste management and the market for secondary raw materials. The goal is to extract the maximum value and use from all raw materials, products and waste.

The EC has made €6.15 billion available in new funding in order to halve food waste by 2030, develop quality standards for secondary raw materials, and promote standards for reparability, durability and recyclability of products.

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