A £6 million UK investment to support sustainable practices in the fashion and textile industry
A £6 million UK investment announced today (Monday, 14th August) aims to support the fashion and textile industry in adopting more sustainable and responsible practices. This investment is part of UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) £15 million Circular Fashion Programme.
The environmental impact of the fashion and textile industry
The fashion and textile industry is estimated to be worth £21 billion to the UK economy and provides more than half a million jobs. However, on a global scale, the sector is responsible for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of wastewater. Surprisingly, fashion uses more energy than both aviation and shipping combined. The complexity and reach of the industry contribute to the lack of full understanding of its true impact on the environment.
The three funded projects
UKRI has funded three complementary networks of researchers, in partnership with industry experts and other stakeholders, to gather data and knowledge and support the industry in adopting sustainable circular business models. The three projects are:
The Back to Baselines in Circular Fashion and Textiles Network
This project, led by the University of Leeds, aims to establish a baseline to analyze the current status of sustainability practices in the fashion and textile industry.
The Future Fibres Network
Led by the University of Exeter, this project seeks to embed environmental sciences at the heart of the fashion, wider apparel, and textile sectors. The goal is to establish systematic, circular, and sustainable principles as the industry norm.
The IMPACT+ Network
Led by Northumbria University, this project aims to improve the collation, analysis, and assessment of data to enhance the reliability and authenticity of environmental impact measures in the fashion and textile industry. The network will assemble a cross-disciplinary team to achieve this objective.
Comments from industry leaders
Professor Peter Liss, Interim Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UKRI, stated, “The fashion industry makes a significant contribution to the UK, but it also impacts the environment. This investment will bring together industry experts and researchers in environmental science and fashion to embed sustainability in the fashion and textile industry.”
Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, commented, “We look forward to working with industry and government to support the UK in retaining its reputation as creative leaders in a global industry and to develop its ability to responsibly and collectively address how we accelerate to a leading Circular Fashion Eco-System in the UK.”
Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, the UK Fashion and Textile Association, expressed excitement about working with the British Fashion Council to support the industry in building a resilient, sustainable, and competitive sector for future generations.
About UK Research and Innovation
UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is the largest public funder of research and innovation in the UK, investing £8 billion annually across all disciplines and sectors. With nine councils, UKRI works with government and other stakeholders to enrich lives by increasing understanding, supporting innovative businesses and public services, and creating high-quality jobs throughout the UK.