Who is running the race for sustainability? And who benefits?

First trigger to make fashion supply chain more sustainable are consumers: they are more conscious about their purchase experience, want to buy less, make better choices and support brands who take care of people and planet. As a result, brands are embracing new models where take back programs, rental, resale and recycle are options available to the market. The value proposition must fit with a growing attention to sustainability.

So, this “race for sustainability” is played first, among brands, consumers and environment, each of them with a direct benefit.

Consumers move to a new cultural model where repair, reuse and sharing are a standard, they are encouraged to take care of their clothing, to resell what they do not need and buy second-hand items.

Environment benefits from a reduction in manufacturing impact: less production, less consumption of virgin raw materials, more second-hand raw materials available, less waste to be disposed.

Brands increase profit because they recover and take back into the loop huge amount of items, they should otherwise stock and destroy so, they save storage and disposal costs and, additionally, they generate revenue from rental, resale or recycle.

Anyway, circular models need contribution from a variety of operators and each of them may benefit: small and medium companies, big groups and anyone who aims to better manage the lifecycle of products placed on the market.

Big groups, for example, might consolidate take-back flows (Europe or South Europe) in a regional hub, scale operations, reduce goods transfer from point to point and contain GHG emissions.

Small companies, on the other hand, could better respond to European legal constraints related to products lifecycle and Extended Producer Responsibility.

Effective circular models must really involve the whole supply chain, develop cooperation, empower industrial synergies and encourage good practices sharing.

Brands are protagonist, of course, but the model could possibly include also trade associations, institutions, universities, foundations, research and development operators, any stakeholder interested in repair and recycle and even citizens, as final consumers.

Logistics can positively cooperate with anyone in the model, taking care of operations (selection, reconditioning, rental and resale order fulfilment), but even promoting dialogue and sharing among the others.


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