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Major support for UK clothing action plan

United Kingdom – Companies representing ‘more than a third of UK clothing sales’ have signed up to a commitment to not only measure and report the environmental footprint of clothing throughout its life, but also to work towards reducing its impact, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has announced.

Recyclers, high street retailers, charities and other major players have put their names to the Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP 2020) Commitment, with many others expected to follow over the coming weeks.

WRAP has drawn up a spreadsheet-based ‘footprint’ calculator, commenting: ‘This tool, for the first time, will enable companies to quantify and report the total global impacts of the clothes they make, sell and recover, in a consistent way.’ Baseline data for 2012 will enable commitment signatories to identify and agree targets for carbon, water and waste savings to be delivered by 2020, as well as to determine the optimal ‘next steps’, it adds.

Under the SCAP 2020 initiative, the organisations will focus on topics such as the use of lower-impact textile fibres, extending the active life of clothing, recovering material which currently goes in the bin, and providing more information for consumers. ‘Overall, clothing contributes around 5% of the carbon footprint and between 6-8% of the water footprint of all the UK’s goods and services,’ says WRAP’s chief executive Liz Goodwin. ‘It also accounts for more than 1 million tonnes of wasted materials, making it the most significant category for consumption impacts after food and drink, housing and transport.’

The fact that 22 companies have already signed the commitment is ‘very encouraging’, she adds. The list includes big names like the Arcadia Group, ASOS, the British Retail Consortium, Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

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