2019 was a pivotal year for the apparel and textile industry as well as The Renewal Workshop® team. When The Renewal Workshop started in 2016, nobody expected that the world would change so fast. Over the past years, incremental changes have been made in sustainable apparel, but in the last few years the industry has shifted substantially. Just a few years ago, only a few people could answer the question, “What is Circular?” Today, there are people throughout the industry who are experts on Circular, have Circular in their job titles, and are managing Circular Businesses. This is a good sign of progress.
Looking back over the past year, The Renewal Workshop has identified a few key milestones that tell us that the economy is going circular.
Business as usual cannot be maintained
The linear model of business has led to the carbon crisis we are experiencing. The impact of climate change on communities and economies has gained more attention than ever before. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released their sobering report outlining the impact of an increase of 1.5˚C on our planet. The demand for action was taken to the streets with climate marches, strikes, and commitments. Apparel companies started committing to science-based targets to meet the standards of the Paris Agreement. Companies have begun to see that Circular is a tool that can be used to address their carbon impact. By utilizing existing products, rather than creating new ones, to generate revenue they will have a strong strategy for addressing the use of new resources to create products.
Circular appeared for the first time in other areas of the industry
Two entities well known for education and innovation across the USA adopted Circular to their agendas. GreenBiz (California, US), well known as a hub for sustainable news and events, launched Circularity 19. The event was a three day conference in Minneapolis, US which focused on what Circular looks like across various sectors, as well as the opportunities and the challenges we all face as we shift our economy.
MIT Solve (Massachusetts, US) started to provide resources to the world’s leading innovators. In 2019, Circular Economy was added as a track because Circular Business models positively contribute to the livelihoods of people and our health of the planet. The Renewal Workshop was awarded one of the solutions.
Resolve to become Renewed
If you are an apparel brand and you haven’t started the conversation about Circular or haven’t begun testing Circular Business ideas, then add it to your resolutions for 2020. The Renewal Workshop is here to help make the transition; the team has the experience, tools, and resources to lead you through your Circular Journey. Our experts can map your supply chain and conduct product assessments for Circular.
We are optimistic for the years to come. The momentum to change has been aligned with the need to shift the economy towards one that can sustain us all.