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Global Circular Fashion Initiatives Receive $1.5 Million in Funding

circular fashion C&A Foundation
(Photo Credit: Erick Astudillo for C&A Foundation)

C&A Foundation announced $1.5 million in funding for five circular fashion initiatives worldwide to bridge the gap in implementing circular business models throughout the global apparel value chain.

This investment in these pilots follows the foundation’s 2017 request for proposals. Last December the corporate foundation of international retail chain C&A earmarked nearly $1.8 million for grants, noting that circular business models can change the direction of business relationships so that customers become suppliers of material and suppliers become customers of material.

The new partners will complement other industry efforts around a circular fashion industry that include Fashion for Good, Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Make Fashion Circular, and Global Fashion Agenda’s 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment, says C&A Foundation.

The five pilot initiatives are:

  • Creative Circular Economy Business Models: London Waste and Recycling Board and QSA Partners
    A London-based initiative that will provide one-to-one support to four retailers and lead each company through an established process for developing circular business models. Three retailers will then pilot a circular business model by the end of 2020 and commit to permanently bringing these offers to market by May 2021.
  • The Circular Activation Project: Circle Economy
    A Europe-based initiative that aims to uncover operational barriers to circularity and build a circular innovation process to be piloted by six brands or retailers by October 2020. A multidisciplinary team will guide brands through the process, increasing their capacity to overcome barriers towards implementation of re-commerce and renting/leasing circular business models. Lessons learned will be used to develop a suite of offline activation tools for use by brands and retailers.
  • Circular Leap Asia Program: Forum for the Future
    This initiative will support the uptake of circular business models in Asia by developing six new types of partnerships between upstream and downstream companies in apparel. Apparel manufacturing typically operates on thin margins and faces significant barriers to introducing circular approaches. The proposed new partnerships will enable sharing lessons learned through a summit for practitioners of circular fashion as well as produce a series of recommendations for industry-led advocacy in Asia.
  • Market Makers: World Resources Institute and WRAP
    This initiative will challenge the status quo by demonstrating the market demand for clothing reuse models in over 20 major apparel brands in the US, UK, and India. It will assess consumer demand, pilot innovative business models, provide a common approach to impact assessment, and identify policies, regulations, and incentives to increase clothing reutilization in each geographic location.
  • Love Every Fiber of Your Being: MADE-BY and Global Action Plan
    Young women and brand executives from British-based retailers and will come together through workshops and panels to co-create prototype business offerings and brand messaging for circular business models that aim to improve the mental well being of young women. The best ideas will be packaged into installations and shared with the public around a popular fashion event such as London Fashion Week.

These five initiatives will form a learning network facilitated by the foundation, where project teams can connect as well as share lessons and methodologies, C&A Foundation says.

“We believe the circular fashion revolution will only happen when we implement circular business models,” said Douwe Jan Joustra, head of circular transformation for C&A Foundation.

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