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In today’s global economy, industries commonly operate a ‘take-make-waste’ linear model, whereby new resources are extracted for the production of goods and services for consumers’ use, before they are generally disposed of at end of life.
However, this system is no longer working for businesses, people or the environment. As the population continues to grow, increasing demand for consumer goods is placing pressure on the consumption of global resources.
Textiles and clothing are an important part of our everyday, but under the current manufacturing model, less than 1% of materials used to make clothing are recycled into new garments.
In response to the challenges associated with continually increasing resource consumption, the concept of a ‘circular economy’ has emerged as an alternative systemic approach to the way we make and use products. ‘A circular economy is based on the principles of designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems.’ It considers how we manage resources, how we make and use products, and what we do with the materials afterwards.
‘The Ellen MacArthur Foundation was launched in 2010 with the aim of accelerating the transition to the circular economy. Since its creation, the charity has emerged as a global thought leader, establishing the circular economy on the agenda of decision makers across business, government, and academia.’
Transitioning to a circular economy presents challenges for industries that require a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, across different sectors and supply chains, in order to create systemic change. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Network, the world’s leading circular economy network, brings together organisations to address these challenges and lead the global transition to a circular economy.
Coats is excited to have joined the Network as a member, and a representative of the textile industry in the journey towards this systematic change. By joining the Foundation’s Network, Coats aspires to help lead the way in the transition for the textile industry. It will enable us to engage in the conversation and collaborate with like-minded organisations in order to further harness our innovative thinking to deliver our circular economy ambitions, and to strengthen our own Sustainability Commitments.
In 2018 we launched our sustainability strategy with a series of targets for 2022 in order to accelerate our progress towards a more sustainable future. Five priority areas were identified: water, energy, effluent and emissions, social and living sustainably. Coats continually works hard towards achieving these targets, and in addition, has already engaged in work that demonstrates applications of our efforts towards circularity within textiles. Coats developed Epic EcoVerde, the world’s first 100% recycled premium sewing thread and continues to develop a range of products which are made from recycled materials as a stage towards full circularity. We are also designing products to help facilitate circular processing within the textile garment industry.
In order to fully achieve our own Sustainability Targets, Coats recognise the importance of achieving circularity. Therefore, building on our current work we are looking to develop our own set of tangible Circular themed objectives moving forward.
As a Network member, Coats will be joining events, workshops and other collaborative spaces. It will be looking to how it can work with the textile industry, and also other industries with which it operates, to make products to be used more, made to be made again and made from safe and recycled or renewable inputs.
For more information on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the Circular Economy, view the video below, or click here to go to the Ellen MacArthur Website.