QSA Partners and University of Exeter Drive Circular Economy Transformation in UK Fashion Sector

QSA Partners and University of Exeter Drive Circular Economy Transformation in UK Fashion Sector

(IN BRIEF) UK fashion and textiles industry is launching a pioneering project called the “data sandbox” to promote circular economy principles. Led by QSA Partners and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, the initiative aims to establish an extended producer responsibility (EPR) system that encourages reuse, refurbishment, and resale of clothing and textile products. The project is funded by Innovate UK’s “Circular Economy for SMEs” program and has the support of key industry players such as the British Fashion Council and the UK Fashion and Textile Association, with assistance from the British Retail Consortium. By collecting detailed garment-level data, the project seeks to understand the potential impacts of different EPR mechanisms across the supply chain. Brands and producers interested in participating can contact QSA Partners. The project is expected to bring about transformative change in the industry and foster the adoption of circular approaches.

(PRESS RELEASE) EXETER, 19-May-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — University of Exeter, a public research university in Exeter, Devon, South West England, United Kingdom, announces a groundbreaking initiative is set to transform the UK fashion and textiles industry by establishing a cutting-edge ‘data sandbox.’ Led by esteemed consultancy QSA Partners (QSA) in collaboration with prominent partners including the University of Exeter, this project will revolutionize supply chains and lay the groundwork for an extended producer responsibility (EPR) system. By incentivizing all stakeholders in the supply chain to embrace reusability, refurbishment, and resale of clothes and textile products, this visionary project aims to embed circular economy principles across the industry.

This innovative endeavor, funded by Innovate UK’s esteemed ‘Circular Economy for SMEs’ initiative as part of the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research program (NICER), brings together key players in the UK fashion and textiles sector. By uniting forces, these industry leaders aim to address the potential costly implications of future producer responsibility.

Among the esteemed partners involved in this transformative project are the British Fashion Council (BFC) and the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), with invaluable support from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The ultimate objective of this pioneering venture is to develop a market-based EPR system that is not only dynamic and flexible but also capable of adapting to emerging technologies, retail systems, and shifting consumer behaviors. This forward-thinking approach will facilitate a significant shift towards circular practices within the industry.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of the potential levers for different EPR mechanisms and their respective impacts across the supply chain, the project will involve various producers. By analyzing granular data at the garment level, including fiber composition and type, the initiative seeks to enhance insight into effective EPR strategies.

Gerrard Fisher, a Partner at QSA, set out the ambition for the project saying: “This project is looking at a radical and innovative approach to market data collation.

“Any future EPR system needs to drive incentivisation to switch to circular options and disincentivise linear systems.”

Professor Peter Hopkinson, Director of the University of Exeter’s CE-Hub, the coordinating Hub for the NICER Programme, said: “We are excited to develop systems based on the modern data capabilities brands and retailers have, and to be able to harness this complex and disperse industry data in ways that will provide accurate and relevant information on market share as well as ‘product circularity scores’”.

Adam Mansell, CEO of the UK Fashion and Textile Association, added that “a future EPR system must accommodate all supply chain players that we have in abundance in the UK. To have a system that can bring all these players together and make positive and proactive improvements to the UK economy is paramount”.

Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive of British Fashion Council said: “The British fashion industry represents significant creative depth and reach in the UK and globally. We have an opportunity to develop an EPR system for fashion and textiles which focuses on maintaining value and longevity of garments to achieve a circular fashion ecosystem through reuse, refurbishment, and resale of products. An industry-led initiative like this has a chance to become an exemplar for others to follow.”

Brands, retailers, platforms, and any other garment producers interested in participating in this groundbreaking project are encouraged to contact QSA at hello@qsapartners.co.uk.

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SOURCE: University of Exeter


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