UKRI Supports Sustainable Fashion & Textiles Research
The fashion and textile industry, valued at £21 billion in the UK, receives a £6 million boost from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to drive sustainable practices.
While contributing over half a million jobs to the UK economy, the sector also contributes 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 20% of wastewater, surpassing even aviation and shipping in energy consumption.
Comprehensive Impact Reduction
The industry's intricate web of activities obscures its complete environmental impact. In response, UKRI is backing three collaborative research teams, partnering with industry specialists and stakeholders.
These teams will compile a comprehensive knowledge bank and aid the industry in adopting circular business models that prioritise sustainability.
The three research networks include:
Back to Baselines in Circular Fashion and Textiles Network: Under the direction of the University of Leeds, this network seeks to establish a baseline for evaluating the state of sustainability practices in the sector.
Future Fibres Network: Headed by the University of Exeter, this network seeks to integrate environmental sciences into the core of fashion, apparel, and textiles, fostering systematic, circular, and sustainable principles.
IMPACT+ Network: Under the leadership of Northumbria University, this cross-disciplinary team will enhance data collation, analysis, and assessment to ensure accurate and credible measurements of environmental impact.
Circular Fashion Vision
Professor Peter Liss, Interim Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council, highlighted the need to comprehend the industry's true ecological footprint. He emphasised that this investment will unite environmental science experts and fashion researchers, driving sustainability into the fabric of the fashion and textile industry.
Global Creative Leadership
Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, acknowledged the industry's innovative prowess but underscored the importance of coordinated efforts to ensure responsible growth amid significant transformations.
Rush expressed anticipation for collaboration between the industry, government, and creative leaders to establish the UK as a global creative force and pioneer a Circular Fashion Eco-System.
Securing a Sustainable Future
Adam Mansell, CEO of the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), highlighted the role of sustainable manufacturing and recycling infrastructure in shaping a circular fashion ecosystem in the UK.
Mansell, excited to partner with the British Fashion Council (BFC), envisions an industry that connects, collaborates, and shares experiences to establish resilience and competitiveness for generations to come.
Investment in Sustainability
The £6 million funding is provided by NERC, the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and Innovate UK, components of UKRI.
This investment constitutes a pivotal aspect of UKRI's £15 million circular fashion initiative, reflecting a commitment to sustainable practices.