Material Monday: Product Tracking for Circular Economy

Material Monday: Product Tracking for Circular Economy

Posted Last Monday by Katie Kubrak

Addressing the challenges facing the fashion industry today requires going way beyond the influence and reach of one organisation. As a result, true transformation at scale can happen as multinational brands combine forces by forming critical partnerships. These include Global Fashion Agenda and Connect Fashion Global Initiative.

Since 2009, a non-profit organisation – Global Fashion Agenda – has organised and hosted the Copenhagen Fashion Summit. It is now recognised as the world’s leading business event on sustainability in fashion. Its 2017 edition called on the fashion industry to take action on circularity by signing the 2020 Circular Fashion System Commitment as a concrete way to turn words into action and to accelerate the industry’s transition to a circular fashion system. Signatories included brands like Adidas, Nike, M&S, H&M, Kering and more.

To set a direction for this transition, Global Fashion Agenda outlined four immediate action points.

1) Implementing design strategies for cyclability

2) Increasing the volume of used garments and footwear collected

3) Increasing the volume of used garments and footwear resold

4) Increasing the share of garments and footwear made from recycled post-consumer textile fibres

All of the above sound very inspiring and will appeal to a large group of consumers as a marketing campaign, nonetheless, the question that remains is – How can the big dogs of the fashion industry implement circularity?

Connect Fashion Global Initiative holds a key to the actionability of the above. With the mission to incentivise the adoption of circular business practices essential to the long-term health of our ecosystem, environment, and economy, this partnership introduces CircularID™.

CircularID™ is a global standard and digital system that systematically identifies products designed for the circular economy models. It equips a product with a Digital Identity, also known as a “digital twin”. Such product passport will enable the item to consistently communicate and share information about itself, which becomes crucial for identification and management of its material value in the circular economy.

What is more, CircularID™ has the power to unlock the communication of the product’s sustainable story by providing lifecycle transparency. Aforementioned identification system has the power to improve customer experience and ​​ fundamentally change our current model of production and consumption, introducing new economic incentives for circular business essential to securing our regenerative future.

Key advantages CircularID™ can offer to your business include:

  • Reduce resource consumption by making it possible to reuse and recover products and materials already in circulation.
  • Transparency through a unique digital profile, enabling item-level transparency not just from production to point-of-sale, but also through use, reuse, and regeneration.
  • Resale simplified through immediate access to all information essential for identification (e.g. brand, authenticity, description, sizing, materials).
  • Repair opportunities so that, for example, a repair organisation can scan the product and identify the exact zipper type, so it can be ordered and replaced, restoring the product to its original quality.
  • Streamlined recycling through access to information about the product’s chemical and mechanical recycling processes (e.g. blended material content, dye colour and process, chemical content), which enables efficient sorting for a diverse range of unique recycling specifications.
  • Rental, sharing and subscription business models, which are made possible with item-level tracking and reverse logistics essential for these undertakings.
  • Measuring movement and accountability, which are essential to analysing the product journey throughout all segments of the circular economy.

We fully support the above presented approach as it impresses us with its well thought through systemic solution. However, we know that for it to have a meaningful resonance through products, not only brands but also designers need to restructure their approach towards sustainable design.

If anything mentioned in this article is gets you scratching your head or you find interesting and would like to find out more, please don’t be a stranger and get in touch with us. We educate ourselves to be there for you and offer any support when needed.