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European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) Promoting Environmentally Sustainable Clothing Registers First Participants

On 10 November 2016, the European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP), a Europe-wide initiative promoting environmentally sustainable clothing which was launched in May 2016, announced that five clothing brands and retailers have signed up as the first participants of the scheme. The clothing brands and retailers that have signed up so far are Bobo Choses, OVS, Peak Performance, Primark and Star Sock.

ECAP is funded through the EU financial instrument “LIFE”, and aims at developing a European framework for strategies and practical actions to protect the environment by reducing the carbon, water and waste footprints across the lifecycle and supply chain of clothing.

It is noteworthy that ECAP’s objectives show some similarity with the environmental goals of certain fair trade schemes concerning textiles in Europe. These include, for example, Germany’s ‘Partnership for Sustainable Textiles’ (which was most recently covered in Regulatory Alert-EU: German Partnership for Sustainable Textiles and Minimum Standards Gain Importance and Increased Global Reach), which aims to create and implement minimum environmental standards, in addition to social and economic standards, throughout the textiles and clothing supply chain. The success of this Partnership, demonstrated by the fact that a large proportion of the textiles and clothing sector in Germany has adhered to it, shows the rising popularity of voluntary initiatives like these.

ECAP’s project partners are five organisations from the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Denmark promoting environmental sustainability. These five organisations, which are listed below, are responsible for developing the strategies to further ECAP’s goals:

  • WRAP, a UK based resource efficiency specialist,
  • MADE-BY, a European non-profit organisation with a mission to make sustainable fashion common practice,
  • Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), a part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment working towards a sustainable environment,
  • The Danish Fashion Institute (DAFI), an organisation established for and by the Danish fashion industry which promotes clothing sustainability, and
  • The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), a statutory organisation providing a strategic approach to waste management in London.

Hong Kong’s textile traders should bear in mind that ECAP would like to see a large number of clothing manufacturers, fashion brands and retailers, as well as clothing reuse and recycling organisations, charities and consumers across Europe become ECAP participants. In this way, they can help to implement the practical actions developed by ECAP so as to achieve greater environmental sustainability within the clothing supply chain.

Through the actions of its participants, ECAP aims, in particular, to:

  • Divert 90,000 tonnes of clothing waste from landfill and incineration;
  • Save 1.6 million tonnes of CO2;
  • Achieve 588 million m³ of water savings.

The participating brands and retailers will benefit from ECAP’s support in order to understand the current environmental impact of their fibre footprint. They will aim to develop a strategy to reduce this impact, through the selection of more sustainable alternatives, such as, for example, by choosing a more sustainable cotton over traditional cotton. ECAP is hoping to engage many more European fashion brands and retailers in its sustainable clothing strategies.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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