The Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP) brings together the UK clothing industry to work towards sector wide commitments to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprint of UK clothing, across its lifecycle, by 2020.
Since 2013, Resource Futures has worked as part of a consortium, led by MADE-BY, to encourage retailers and clothing recyclers to take an active role in promoting the SCAP 2020 commitment. Resource Futures provides a technical package of support to SCAP signatories which covers waste, water and carbon footprinting, training and business support for clothing collectors, charities, retailers, brands and recyclers. MADE-BY, Resource Futures and other consortium partners, have recently been awarded the contract to provide this support until 2017.
The SCAP brings together industry, government and the third sector to drive sustainability improvements through the UK clothing sector. It is managed by WRAP, a government funded charity which helps businesses, local authorities, trade associations and charities use resources more sustainably .
Resource Futures is working with MADE-BY to support SCAP signatories for WRAP. In particular, we are working with recycling organisations to increase the proportion of clothing which is collected, reused and recycled and enabling them to reduce the life cycle impacts of their products and operations.
The support package covers:
It is estimated that the average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes with at least 30% not been worn in the last year. A central element of Resource Futures’ support work concerns advice to increase the capture rate of clothing from the waste stream and doing this in a manner in which its resale value can be maximised.
A support package is devised with each organisation which is bespoke based on the specific needs of each business. Several businesses require a package of assistance obtaining data from within their organisation. Others seek support with the development of their action plan to achieve the SCAP footprint/resource efficiency reductions targets.
Some organisations require help to drive specific initiatives/innovation internally. For instance, we are presently helping a number of Signatories to bring to market new innovative types of collections by providing consultancy advice on marketing and educational materials, contract advice and environmental audit.
To date, 74 organisations including retailers Marks and Spencer, Next, New Look, John Lewis and Tesco and recyclers Oxfam, Salvation Army and British Heart Foundation have signed to the SCAP. These now represent the majority of the market.
In February 2014, SCAP unveiled its 2020 commitment targets with Signatories pledging 15% reductions in their carbon and water footprints and waste to landfill by 2020. If the targets are achieved, WRAP predict that the annual carbon saving could be equivalent to removing 250,000 cars from the road; the water saving would be equivalent to 170,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools; and 16,000 tonne reduction on waste being created in the first place. Recognising that there is also a clear role for consumers, WRAP has launched a consumer facing campaign called ’Love Your Clothes‘.
Initially, Resource Futures reached out to a number of organisations which then subsequently signed the agreement. And since 2013 we have worked with a diverse caseload of organisations including Oxfam, SATCol, British Heart Foundation, Cath Kidston, Biffa, Viridor and BTR.
The impacts of manufacturing, caring for and disposing of clothing are environmentally significant. SCAP Signatories are using the SCAP footprinting tool to analyse and report their annual impacts to WRAP and their clients. The Signatories have committed to reducing the footprint of clothing in the UK through changing fibre and fabrics to more sustainable designs, address supply chains efficiencies, extend the useful life of clothes (re-use and durable designs) and providing consumer campaigns aimed at reducing the impacts associated with cleaning clothing. By providing its support package, Resource Futures is helping the SCAP organisations footprint their activities and implement changes within their businesses which result in more sustainable business outcomes.