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UK Clothing Industry Signs Green Commitment

WrapTesco, Marks & Spencer and the UK government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are among the High Street retailers, charities, recyclers and other major players in the clothing sector that have signed a commitment pledging to cut their carbon, water and waste footprints by 2020.

Working on behalf of the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan, the Waste & Resources Action Plan has developed a spreadsheet-based footprint calculator that enables companies to quantify and report the total global impacts of the clothes they make, sell and recover, in a consistent way. This baseline data for 2012 will help signatories identify and agree upon targets for carbon, water and waste savings, to be delivered by 2020, and identify next steps to reach the goals.

Arcadia Group, ASOS, British Retail Consortium, Centre for Sustainable Fashion, Clothes Aid, Defra, I&G Cohen, John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Next, Sainsbury’s, Salvation Army Trading Company, Tesco and the Textile Recycling Association are currently signed up. Other organizations are expected to sign the pledge over the coming weeks.

The organizations will focus on a number of areas including the use of lower-impact textile fibres, extending the active life of clothing, recovering material that currently go in the trash, and providing more information for consumers.

Clothing contributes around 5 percent of the carbon footprint and between 6 and 8 percent of the water footprint of all the UK’s goods and services, according to the Waste & Resources Action Plan.

In February, sportswear company Puma launched InCycle, the brand’s first “closed-loop” collection of footwear, apparel and accessories, all of which have earned the Cradle to Cradle Certified Basic certification.

Puma’s InCycle products are entirely biodegradable or recyclable, the company says. Products in the collection, which will be available next month, include the Puma Track Jacket and Puma Backpack, which use homogenous materials to ensure they are fully recyclable at the end of their lifespans. The backpack is made of polypropylene, and the jacket can be turned back into polyester granulate.

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