The circular economy is a concept few can wrap their minds around. For one thing, not everyone agrees on how to best incorporate “circularity” into their business models. For another, switching gears of any kind requires change, which, in turn, necessitates some kind of financial investment, at least at the outset.
And just what is circularity anyway?
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, one of the circular economy’s biggest proponents, defines it as an economic framework that looks beyond the “current take-make-waste extractive industrial model” by keeping resources in circulation, regenerating natural systems, and designing out waste and pollution.
“The whole intention of the circular economy is to keep materials and products in flow and then feed them back into the system,” said Annie Gullingsrud, a circular-design strategist.
Transitioning to such a system is clearly a moral imperative. With global garment production poised to increase by 63 percent by 2030, according to the Global Fashion Agenda, a sustainability think tank, the fashion industry remains a “net contributor” to climate change.