Textiles and clothing play an important role in our everyday life. But the global fashion industry model is unsustainable. It uses large amounts of resources and has negative impacts on the environment and people. The global fashion industry, therefore, has to make a transition towards a circular model. In a ‘circular’ fashion economy, clothes, textiles, and ibres are kept at their highest value during use and re-enter the economy to avoid becoming waste. The EU is already steering towards circular. The resulting changes will have a great impact on textile-producing countries. The question is: will this impact be positive, negative, or both?
This research note is a irst inventory of the potential impacts of future EU circular fashion on non-European textile producing countries. It uses existing literature and input from four circular economy experts to analyse the economic, social and environmental impacts. It aims to provide our preliminary results as input for further, more rigorous research on this important topic.
Results suggest that the overall impact of EU circular fashion policies on producing countries will be positive. Their economic, social and environmental situation could be improved by: new job opportunities; a lower adverse impact on the environment; better education; better (true) prices*; and improved quality, durability and industry resilience.
In the short-term, there could be a temporary downturn in the textile economy of producing countries as they adjust to a new model, relecting the costs of the transition. Some measures might be hard to implement too. This is because of, for instance, a lack of infrastructure or technical knowledge and a low level of understanding of the new economic model and policies.
Social conlict, poverty and civil unrest in producing countries resulting from revolutionary changes in more circular value chains for the fashion and textile industry should be avoided. Ecopreneur.eu is calling on the EU to develop a speciic agenda around this, with accompanying measures. In addition, international cooperation between policy makers is needed to clarify and align circular economy policies.
But most of all, this research note calls for more investigation to substantiate these preliminary outcomes.