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Back to Baselines in Circular Fashion & Textiles Network

UKFT is part of a project led by the University of Leeds that will develop scientifically-backed environmental and design baselines to analyse the current status of sustainability practices and accelerate the move to a fully circular fashion and textile industry.


The Back to Baselines in Circular Fashion and Textiles project will be led by the Leeds Institute of Textiles and Colour in partnership with the UK Fashion and Textiles Association (UKFT), the UK’s Waste Resources and Action Programme (WRAP), and a group of researchers from a consortium of UK universities including University of the Arts London, Nottingham Trent University, University of Huddersfield, Manchester Metropolitan University, Newcastle University, Heriot-Watt University, Royal College of Art. UKFT’s Adam Mansell is chairing the investment committee and is part of the steering group.

By bringing together one of the largest interdisciplinary groupings of expertise in the UK, the B2B F&T initiative will drive cross-sector and academic-industry engagement to address major challenges facing the sustainable growth of the UK fashion and textiles industries. The B2B F&T initiative has been designed to inform decision-making and to develop strategies for sustainable transformation that meet NetZero targets. It will support innovation with minimal environmental impact and support a more robust and trustworthy system of ecometrics for the future.

The fashion and textile industry is a major contributor to global carbon emissions and the UK alone generates circa 300,000 tonnes of textile landfill/incineration waste each year. While low-carbon fibres, new process technologies, robotics and recycling processes can create significant benefits, reducing the industry’s overall environmental burden also requires the issues of over- production and over-consumption to be addressed. To achieve an accurate and honest picture of the current ‘baseline’ position of the industry, the B2B F&T network will bring together stakeholders from across the industry to address these challenges and propose solutions that consider the full breadth of possible and available interventions for NetZero transition. This project will create robust evidence bases to build upon, identifying initiatives that will support positive behaviour change, develop approaches for creating effective eco-credential standards, and will identify major skills gaps in the UK fashion and textile supply chain.

Adam Mansell, CEO of UKFT, said: “The UK fashion and textile industry urgently needs a clear picture of the sector and scientifically-validated data to inform decision making. Establishing baselines will allow the industry to measure and monitor progress for the future.”

The project has received £1.6m funding and is part of a wider wider £6m funding project, which has been awarded funding via by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Innovate UK, all part of UKRI. This investment is a key part of UKRI’s £15m Circular Fashion Programme.